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Discussing the Needs: Quarterback

This is the first post of a series that I hope to continue that looks at the needs of the Miami Dolphins for the 2008 offseason.  And God knows there are a ton of them.  

We'll start off first by looking at the quarterback position.

Current Players on Roster
John Beck
Trent Green

Dolphin Free Agents
Cleo Lemon

Current Situation
Without question, this position, like so many previous years, remains a huge question mark as we head into 2008.  And now with a new regime in town, complete with a coaching staff and everything, the future of the Dolphins' quarterback position is as wide open as it has ever been.

The likely in-house favorite to be the 2008 starting quarterback is, of course, John Beck.  Beck had two promising outings in his first 2 career starts (against good defenses in poor conditions) before playing like a true rookie in his home debut against the Jets.  After being pulled in Buffalo, John came in for an injured Cleo Lemon and played relatively well against the Bengals in the final game of the season.  And what we saw in that game certainly gives all Dolphin fans a glimmer of hope for Beck's future.  I, for one, still believe that (With better talent around him), John Beck is going to be a very, very good NFL quarterback.  And it would be a damn shame if it wasn't with the Miami Dolphins.  They spend a 2nd round pick on him, he wants to be here, and he's got the right mentality to grow and become a true leader of a team for years to come.

Cleo Lemon, on the other hand, is a free agent and most of us are hoping we'll never have to see Cleo again in a Dolphins' uniform.  And the chances of him returning are basically zero.  It's a shame, too, because I think Cleo Lemon can be a decent backup quarterback if only he realizes that all he is at this level is, indeed, a backup quarterback.  So grow the f*ck up, act like a teammate, and come to terms that you'll never, ever be a starter in this league.  Good riddance!

Trent Green is the question mark.  Bill Parcells, we know, likes to have a veteran quarterback on the roster.  But Green might not be who Bill has in mind.  And we don't even know if Trent will actually decide to play again.  Sure, he's said he wants to.  But too many things can change.  But I will say this: I think Green would be a good guy to keep around if he wanted to stay as a backup QB/mentor to John.  You'd be hard pressed to find a more experienced veteran as a backup QB.

Potential Targets
Here are some of the names that might be tossed around as potential QBs for the Dolphins in 2008:

Derek Anderson - For some reason, his name doesn't go away.  Fans like to bring this guy up and I just don't get it.  He'll cost too much to get in a trade from Cleveland.  And I don't even think he's all that good.  I think he's a product of having a great OL in front of him and good skill guys around him.  You can read more on my thoughts about Anderson here.

Donovan McNabb - Here's another one fans are talking about.  But, again, I don't see it happening.  And that's for two reasons.  One, I don't think the Eagles are ready to throw Kevin Kolb into the fire yet.  Two, he would be too costly for the Dolphins and, at his age, isn't a good investment considering the needs this team has.  If they were a QB away from contending, then sure, go after McNabb.  But the Dolphins aren't even close.

Rex Grossman - He's an unrestricted free agent, but has said he would like to return to Chicago.  If he doesn't, I could potentially see the Dolphins taking a look at him.  He's quite an interesting player.  And I don't mean that in a good way.  He has the physical tools but, for whatever reason, can't keep his act together for a full 60 minutes.  Some say he's very soft and can be mentally rattled easily.  So the question would be if the Dolphins feel like they could instill some mental toughness in this kid.  If so, he could potentially battle John Beck in camp.  To be honest, I wouldn't be absolutely shocked if the Dolphins did go this route.

Todd Collins - Collins will be a free agent this offseason.  He actually played quite well for the Redskins when he had to replace an injured Jason Campbell.  And Collins is as "veteran" as they come.  Again, I wouldn't be totally shocked to see the Dolphins look into Collins for a 1 year deal and let him come in here and compete in camp.

Mark Brunell - Keeping with the Redskins, Brunell is an interesting candidate.  He is signed through 2010, but could easily be cut by the Redskins, as his restructured deal is made so Washington could cut him with minimal penalty.  The 37 year old didn't see the field at all this past regular season.  Again, he's a solid veteran with a ton of experience.  But he might be a bit small for Parcells and company, at 6'1.  You would think that if they are going to bring somebody in here to compete with Beck, it would be a little bit bigger of a QB.

Chris Simms - Simms is a very intriguing prospect to keep an eye on.  He'd be 28 by next September, but does have starting experience.  He has one year left remaining on his contract with Tampa Bay, but the Bucs could very well cut him.  He spent all of 2007 on Injured Reserve due to complications as he came back from an emergency splenectomy.  He is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 1.  Simms says he's doing well and is ready to play now.  I wonder if his father might put in a good word with the "Godfather" of the Dolphins.

Jake Plummer - Plummer would also fit the bill as the veteran that Parcells likes to have.  I'm not sure what would have to be worked out with Tampa Bay because of how Plummer retired.  But he is a guy with a ton of starts under his belt and is a fiery competitor.  I wouldn't be shocked the Dolphins looked into Jake.

Chad Pennington - We all know Chad wants to start.  Yet, in NY, the Jets just seem like they want to get away from the Chad era and start over with Kellen Clemens.  Pennington is accurate, but he's too injury prone and doesn't have the arm strength I look for in a QB.

J.P. Losman - Losman wants to start.  And he likely won't get that chance in Buffalo, with Trent Edwards being anointed as their "savior."  That will likely make the Bills have to shop Losman around.  He's got a bigtime arm, but is inaccurate at times and makes too many mistakes.  No thanks.

Matt Ryan - Let me start off by saying that drafting Ryan, in my opinion, would be a huge mistake.  However, we can't totally count it out yet because, after all, you never know.  I will say that he'd likely be the only one of the 3 top QBs that would get consideration by Miami.  He's big and strong and has a good arm.  But he has a tendency of making bad decisions, as shown by his 19 interceptions in '07.  I'd consider him a longshot and hope that the Dolphins only use Ryan to drum up interest in the top pick of the draft.

My Best Guess
I honestly have no idea how this will turn out.  I could see it going in many directions.  But in the end, come September, I believe it will be John Beck under center.  As for backups, your guess is as good as mine.  I'd guess that Trent Green will probably be cut.  I think that a guy like Todd Collins will come in here and be the backup.  I'd prefer Trent stay if he's healthy enough and let him be the backup, but I wouldn't bet on it.  Then I think the Dolphins will spend a late round pick on a QB and he'll be the #3 guy.  

Thoughts?  Am I way off?  Am I missing a potential QB?  Let me know below...