First a disclaimer: Yes, another quarterback post.
I cannot help it.
Look, basically I'm going to hold my breath, I'm going to yell from the highest mountain, I'm going to pout, I'm going to write blog post after blog post and column upon column until the Miami Dolphins have a quarterback everyone can believe in. So you are free to join me in a growing chorus of folks demanding a good (doesn't even have to be great, but at least not embarrassing) quarterback for Miami.
Or you are free to think I'm just over the top and a foof and need to chill about a quarterback because, it's not that important, and it has only been about 14 years since the Dolphins had a great one, and it's not that big a deal.
Having said that:
Most NFL teams are graded by how successful they are at acquiring, maintaining or developing a starting quarterback. Being as that the Dolphins are an NFL team, they aren't exempt from such scrutiny.
And up to now, while the team had done nothing to prove it is good at acquiring a good quarterback -- neither Chad Henne, Pat White nor Josh McCown turned in good seasons -- it's ability to maintain a good quarterback was not in question because Chad Pennington came to the team with solid experience and credentials and played up to those in 2008 while leading Miami to the AFC East title. So in that regard, the Dolphins kept what was a good thing a good thing.
Developing a quarterback? Well, you'll remember the Dolphins had quarterbacks on the roster when Bill Parcells-Jeff Ireland-Tony Sparano took over. Cleo Lemon was jettisoned and so far that decision was proven correct as he's no longer in the NFL. And no one questioned the release of John Beck because we all remember his struggles as a rookie and watched him struggle during the 2008 training camp QB battle.
Here we are, three years after that battle and the Beck ghost is threatening to haunt this Dolphins front office and coaching staff. Beck, you see, has somehow gone from being a bust that was cut by Miami to a backup in Baltimore, to a guy who might be the starter in Washington in 2011 -- assuming the season ever begins.
Beck's rise in Washington has been bizarre in that he is apparently ahead of Donovan McNabb on the depth chart yet has not taken even one snap in a game during his time there.
Folk in Washington are understandibly asking how it is Beck could make such a rise when he's had four years with little NFL success. Believe it or not, Beck's plausible explanation is that the Dolphins screwed him.
“When [Bill Parcells] first got there, I really liked Bill,” the quarterback told Washington radio station 102.1 several weeks ago. “Bill treated me like I was gonna be the guy. I would be in the weight room working out and he would come and stand by my squat rack, talk to me. He’d catch me in the hall or he’d have someone tell me, 'Hey John, Bill wants to see you.' I’d go sit in his office and he’d tell me, 'hey I believe that you can do this for us, I really like what you do, I think you remind me a lot of Tony Romo, things are gonna be great.'
“And then all of the sudden Brett Favre goes to the Jets, Chad Pennington becomes available, boom, that was it, done. And I went from competing for the starting job with Josh McCown to then the No. 3 on the roster overnight. So it was crazy, and then as the season went on they focused on Chad Pennington’s our guy and Chad Henne’s who we drafted so he's our future."
Despite looking like he was afraid of his own shadow in the locker room, Beck went on to say he was playing hardball with the Dolphins behind closed doors.
“So when the  season ended," he told the radio station, "I went in and asked for a release. I kind of saw the writing on the wall. I don’t want to be the backup. That’s not why I play the game. I’m not the type of person who can be happy getting a paycheck and not playing. I want to be the guy playing, and I went and asked for a release, and me and Bill got into it a little bit there. So at this point, I’m not the biggest Tuna fan.”
Beck was eventually released on April 27, 2009 after two years with the team and more than one full year with the current administration. Obviously the current front office and coaching staff didn't see enough in Beck to warrant keeping him.
But here's the thing: That doesn't bother anyone as long as John Beck is a backup. That doesn't bother anyone as long as he goes to Baltimore and then gets traded to the Redskins without fanfare. Miami's decision to cut ties with Beck is even deemed correct if he becomes the starter in Washington and is mediocre at best.
But if he somehow continues his improbable climb from scrubino in Miami to scrubino in Baltimore to viable or outstanding starter in Washington, that makes Mike Shanahan look like a genius. And it makes the folks in Baltimore and the folks in Miami look, well, like they missed something.
If Beck somehow blossoms in Washingto, fans here will probably wonder what the Redskins were able to do that the Dolphins weren't able to do, what strings they pulled, what techniques they adjusted that the Dolphins didn't.
The Dolphins obviously saw something of value in Beck. They kept him for a year.
But they eventually gave up on him. So now that evaluation (so far proven correct) is on the hook again. If this kid shines in Washington, Dolphins fans will ask why Miami didn't hang on to him.
Is that fair? You betcha!
That's the business.
Personally, I wouldn't sweat John Beck just yet. Yesterday on Sirius he was talking like he's the presumed starter in Washington. "I believe I'm a starter in the NFL," he said.
But until he actually is that, Miami's decision to waive him won't be judged as questionable. And unless he plays well once he starts, that decision certainly cannot be judged as wrong.
You might argue that John Beck might have blossomed after four years and so there is no rightful expectation for the Dolphins to wait that long. Wrong. Teams wait that long for quarterbacks to blossom all the time.
I refer you to Aaron Rodgers, who didn't play until his third NFL season.
I present to you Houston's Matt Shaub, who led the NFL in passing yards in 2009 after sitting for a long time behind Michael Vick in Atlanta.
I refer you to Henne. The Dolphins have continued to wait on him to blossom and he could very well be the starter in 2011 despite not playing exceedingly well in 2009 or 2010.
Teams wait for QBs.
The Dolphins chose not to wait on Beck. They cut him loose. And he might get his opportunity in Washington. So Miami's quaterback evaluation might again be on the line.
Kindly follow me on twitter.