November 14, 2007

QB Change for Phins

Coach Cam Cameron has decided to make a quarterback change for Sunday's visit to Philadelphia and give rookie John Beck his first career start in place of Cleo Lemon, said a source close to the team.

Cameron notified the quarterbacks of his decision this morning. The determination to start Beck seemed to signify a change of heart since he met with his quarterbacks on Tuesday.

A source said Lemon left the meeting thinking he would be making his fifth consecutive start, while Cameron made it clear that Beck should be ready for his first game action if Lemon and 0-9 Dolphins were to struggle.

Lemon also left the meeting aware that Beck will become the starter at some point because the team needs to evaluate him this season.

Later Tuesday, Cameron telephoned Lemon and told him he wanted to give his decision some more thought. Cameron told Lemon Wednesday Beck would handle all of the snaps with the first-team offense this week. Beck has shared snaps equally with Lemon in practice recently.

Beck primarily ran the scout team even after veteran Trent Green suffered a season-ending concussion Oct. 7 at Houston. Cameron accelerated the learning process for Beck, the 40th selection in April's draft, during the recent bye week, after Miami's Oct. 28 loss to the New York Giants in London.

Lemon is 0-4 as a starter for the Dolphins. But the past two defeats have been by three points, including Sunday's 13-10 loss to Buffalo on a last-minute field goal.

In the third period, fans wanted to see the rookie quarterback — many chanted, "We want Beck!" — but Lemon responded by leading the Dolphins on a franchise-record, 18-play touchdown drive that covered 80 yards and ate up almost 10 minutes.

Lemon, however, finished with his lowest passer rating this season, 66.9, as he completed 16 of 29 passes for only 131 yards. He was 3- of-8 for 25 yards in the final period and couldn't move the Dolphins 20 yards into field-goal range in the final minute.

Lemon also was tackled for a safety in the third quarter that cut Miami's lead to 3-2.

The Dolphins drafted Beck hoping he could become the club's long-term starter.

Cameron, who worked with NFL quarterbacks for eight seasons before becoming a head coach, might want to play Beck simply to see if he can handle the job. Armed with that knowledge, the Dolphins could decide how to use their first-round draft pick, which now projects to be the first overall.


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