Ever since Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins have been wading in mediocrity at the most important position in the game. They went from the game manager Jay Fiedler, to Gus Frerotte, and then to has-beens like Dante Culpepper and Trent Green. Now, in a muddled quarterback controversy, there are two young gunslingers, and one who hasn’t been given a fair shake since he entered the league in Josh McCown.
We already saw what John Beck brings to the table through five games and a measly 559 yards. True, he was on the worst team in the league last year, and with very little weapons, but he simply did not perform like a guy should that is being called “the quarterback of the future”.
That’s why Bill Parcells signed McCown and drafted Henne, a Michigan product, like all other Michigan quarterback prospects-looks better than he probably is. Henne might have a shot at proving he’s the guy down the stretch, but realistically, it’d be nothing short of a large step back than to keep drafting quarterbacks and then switching them. Parcells doesn’t want to leave it to the gods for two straight seasons like his competitor, the New York Jets, clearly plan on doing with Kellen Clemens and Chad Pennington.
If the Dolphins want to appease their fans and actually start winning games, they need to take the chance that Dennis Green didn’t have the guts to do, and that’s let Josh McCown play, make mistakes, and grow in an offense for more then half a season at a time. There can’t be a quarterback carousal. Because despite what we’ve seen of these current Miami Dolphins, this is not the circus. There can’t be switches, random substitutions, ala the Arizona Cardinals, and there can’t be a benching in favor of the younger Henne, or the draft pick invested, Beck.
Josh McCown deserves a fresh start, and not the kind he received in Oakland. The scenery isn’t exactly different. He still doesn’t have anyone to throw to, the offensive line is almost just as bad, and until Parcells took over, the management and personal was suspect, to say it politely. Tony Sparano, Miami’s new head coach, is warranted a pass on whether or not he’s a notch ahead of Lane Kiffin, for now, anyways.
So, why does McCown, who has never thrown for more than 11 touchdowns in a season, and has been spotty at best as a starter, deserve anything more than a crack at the competition in pre-season? Because he’s got moxy. That’s right, I said it. Moxy.
Josh McCown, god help me, has that flair that every coach wants in his quarterback. He’s a pure energy guy with excellent athleticism, a cannon arm, and leadership you simply cannot teach. But he’s missing something. He’s missing confidence.
He had to go through being “the guy” at the end of his second season, and then being benched in favor of a number of below average passers (Shaun King, John Navarre), despite putting up quality numbers. He then had to go through it again, despite airing it out impressively, as he succumbed to the greatest backseat quarterback we’ve ever known, Kurt Warner.
Once he finally got smart and ditched town for Detroit, where he supposedly would be fighting for a job with the overrated and turnover-prone Jon Kitna, he wasn’t even given a chance. It was Kitna’s job from day one, and after a while he was actually demoted to third string, and accepted a two week job as a receiver, that is, until star receiver Roy Williams vouched for Mike Williams and had him pulled from the position.
Finally, McCown got his chance at glory with the lovely sinking ship that was and is the Oakland Raiders, where he fell into the lap of an organization that just spent their number one pick on another quarterback, and just signed another free agent quarterback in Dante Culpepper.
All that mixed together consecutively during a six year career, added with national criticism from writers across the United States, and you have yourself one steaming pot of no confidence.
So, how about it, Bill? Let’s give the kid a chance. At 29, and pushing 30, this is no doubt McCown’s last real shot at being a starter in this league, and if he can’t get past Henne and Beck, I fear he may never start again.
In the name of all the Miami passers that have failed the people of Florida since Marino hung up his cleats, give this city a shot at seeing something special. Let Beck and Henne sit and see if McCown can’t get two wins.
After all, there’s really nothing to lose. Only another 15 games.