Winless Dolphins to start Beck over Lemon vs. Eagles

Updated: November 14, 2007, 6:59 PM ET
Associated Press

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins have decided to find out whether rookie John Beck is their quarterback of the future.

John Beck


Beck will make his NFL debut when he starts Sunday for Miami (0-9) at Philadelphia, replacing Cleo Lemon. The plan is to start Beck in the final seven games, coach Cam Cameron said Wednesday.

"When we haven't won a game, you make a change," Cameron said. "John has made tremendous progress in the last month. The timing is right."

Beck, a second-round draft pick from BYU, will become the 12th quarterback to start for the Dolphins since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season. He'll be the third starter at QB this season for Miami, following Trent Green and Lemon.

Beck, 26, said he was excited by the opportunity.

"I just want to make the most of it," he said. "I've been working real hard in practice and on the sidelines in games to try to prepare myself."

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The grooming has intensified. For the first time Wednesday, Beck took more than 80 percent of the snaps in practice, Cameron said.

Green started the first five games but went on injured reserve Oct. 20 following his second severe concussion in 13 months. Cameron decided to promote Beck after the Dolphins lost the past four games with Lemon as the starter.

"The most important factor was that we didn't win in any games," Lemon said, "so from that standpoint, for me it's kind of disappointing."

The Dolphins are only the seventh team to start 0-9 since 1990. Fans chanted "We want Beck!" during Sunday's loss to Buffalo.

Beck was the first quarterback drafted in the first or second round by the Dolphins since Marino. Giving him a tryout now will help them decide whether they need to acquire a quarterback in 2008, but Cameron said that wasn't a factor in the promotion.

"He has earned the right to play," Cameron said. "It's not about next year. It's about doing everything we can to win this year."

Green, who has served as a mentor to Beck, agreed the rookie is ready.

"He has handled himself extremely well," Green said. "He's smart. He's committed. He has a good grasp of the offense for a young guy. You can tell he has put in his hours and done well in terms of preparation. I expect him to play well."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press