The revolving door that is the Miami Dolphins quarterback situation has spun back to Cleo Lemon again, and the fourth-year veteran will reclaim the starting job when the winless Dolphins host Baltimore on Sunday in their latest attempt to avoid NFL infamy.
Lemon will replace rookie John Beck, who started the past four games but failed to lead the Miami offense to a single touchdown.
"It gives us the best chance to win this game," coach Cam
Cameron said Wednesday.
In 32 possessions, excluding series that began with less than two minutes remaining in a half, the Dolphins managed only two field goals under Beck's guidance. In the last 12 series he worked, Beck turned the ball over six times, three times each on interceptions and lost fumbles.
The second-round draft choice was replaced by Lemon after only eight snaps in Sunday's 38-17 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Beck had three possessions, and they ended in two punts and a lost fumble.
"John knows his job is to get us in the end zone," Cameron
said. "We had struggled in that area."
When he turned the job over to Beck for the Nov. 18 game at Philadelphia, Cameron noted that the moribund Dolphins offense "needed a spark" and suggested the rookie quarterback would remain the starter through the final seven games of the season. But Beck has suffered the inconsistencies most young quarterbacks do in the NFL, and Lemon might be better suited to face a Ravens defense known for its creative pass-rush looks.
In his four starts, Beck completed 47-of-86 passes for 424 yards, with three interceptions, and registered a passer rating of just 53.6. Generally regarded as the team's quarterback of the future, it remains to be seen where Beck fits in for 2008.
"Every guy is different," Cameron said. "I've seen guys who
can't let it go. I've seen other guys where it builds a resolve in
them to get better. He experienced a lot of things he hadn't
The Dolphins figure to have the top pick in the 2008 draft, and it's conceivable they could use the selection on a quarterback.
This was the season in which Miami was supposed to solidify the quarterback position, with the acquisition of veteran Trent Green designed to provide the franchise its steadiest leader since the retirement of Dan Marino following the 1999 campaign. But Green played in only five games before suffering a severe concussion that prematurely ended his season.
Lemon, 28, has arguably been the most effective of the three starting quarterbacks Cameron has employed this season. He has appeared in six games, starting in four, and the former Arkansas State star has completed 118-of-208 passes for 1,164 yards, with three touchdown passes and six interceptions, for a rating of 65.5. He has also run for four touchdowns.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.