Sunday, August 26, 2007
Dolphins Reveal Flashes of the Future
John Beck and Lorenzo Booker
The Dolphins third preseason game may have ended in a 31-28 loss to Tampa Bay. But if you watched Saturday night's game against the Bucs, you got the opportunity to finally see some flashes of the team's future. No longer do we have to imagine what John Beck, Lorenzo Booker or Ted Ginn can do on offense. We've now seen it.
Like any rookie quarterback Beck had his ups and downs. He's seen plenty of action during the preseason, engineering game winning drives in the first two exhibition games against Jacksonville and Kansas City. But his best and most extensive performance came in last night's loss to Tampa Bay. He completed 11 of 22 passes for 162 yards and 2 TDS--one each to P.K. Sam and Derek Hagan. Both of his touchdown passes traveled at least 30 yards. Not all of his passes were pretty. But forget about style points. A quarterback's job is to march his offense into the end zone. Beck has demonstrated he can move the team.
My only disappointment with Beck is that he has yet to see action with the first team offense. Once again, Trent Green and Cleo Lemon got reps with the first team in the first half. So much for that open quarterback competition Cam Cameron had preached before the beginning of training camp.
And who was that guy wearing #20 in the Dolphins backfield? Finally a Lorenzo Booker sighting! Prior to last night's game, Booker had yet to touch the ball in a game. I swore I saw his face on a milk carton while shopping at Publix. Even undrafted rookie Patrick Cobbs was getting more playing time. Booker, a rookie from FSU, finally showed some of the quickness and balance that made the Dolphins choose him in the 3rd round of the draft. Earlier this week, Miami Herald writer Armando Salguero had said the Dolphins were saving Booker as a "secret weapon". Yeah right. Call me a skeptic, but me thinks Booker's lack of playing time had more to do with his grasp of the playbook than his ability as a secret weapon.
Before last night's game, Ted Ginn's only real action was as a punt and kick returner. Quite frankly, the only thing Ginn did in the first two games was demonstrate his dancing ability. Instead of taking the ball up the field, Ginn thought he could simply just dance around tacklers like he did at Ohio State and outrun them. Welcome to the NFL son. That fancy footwork may work in college, but when you play on Sundays everybody can run fast. The Dolphins didn't draft Ginn and his family to boogie at nightclubs in South Beach.
But all that dancing aside, I liked the fact the Dolphins finally showcased Ginn's ability as a receiver. He only caught 3 short passes. But he did a nice job technique-wise, running good routes and catching the ball with his hands instead of resorting to bad habits some rookies make by using their body.
On a side note. What's up with Cam Cameron experimenting with Ronnie Brown on kickoff returns? Didn't the Dolphins draft Ted Ginn and Lorenzo Booker for this? It's obvious Cameron wants to light a fire under Brown. But using Brown as a kick returner serves no purpose unless Ronnie has a hidden talent to return kicks--something he's never really demonstrated.
Kudos to Cameron for opening up the playbook Saturday night. The first team offense actually looked functional with Trent Green--despite the interception he threw to Cato June. The first team offense scored two TDs in the first half. Believe me, that's huge progress when you consider it how bad the Dolphins first team offense looked against Jacksonville and Kansas City. By the way, you gotta love that Statue of Liberty play to Jesse Chatman--straight out of the Boise State playbook.