Dolphins' Beck Gets QB Nod in Philly
The Miami Dolphins don't need rookie quarterback John Beck to become the next Dan Marino when he makes his first NFL start, against the Philadelphia Eagles, on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
For at least a week, the Dolphins and their suffering fan base would settle for Beck becoming a winner.
The No. 40 overall pick in the 2007 Draft out of Brigham Young, Beck is being counted on to do what predecessors Trent Green and Cleo Lemon could not, namely get Miami into the left column.
The Dolphins begin play on Sunday as the NFL's only remaining winless team, and will be looking to curb the mounting "0-16" talk with an upset victory in Philadelphia.
Miami nearly received win number one last week against Buffalo, but allowed a 10-2 fourth-quarter lead to slip away in an eventual 13-10 loss. Five of the Dolphins' nine losses this season have come by exactly three points.
Philadelphia also enters Sunday as a last-place team, but the Eagles' fortunes appear to be on the upswing after a 33-25 upset of the Redskins in Washington last week. Andy Reid's club is now just a game back of the third-place Redskins in the NFC East, and two behind Wild Card leaders Detroit and the Giants.
Miami has a 7-4 edge in its all-time series with Philadelphia, but was a 34-27 home loser when the clubs last faced off, in 2003. The Dolphins won the previous meeting, a 16-13 affair in South Florida in 1999. The teams last met in Philly in 1996, a 35-28 Eagles win. The Fins' most recent victory in Philadelphia came in 1993 at Veterans Stadium.
Reid is 1-1 in his career against Miami, with both of those matchups coming on the road. The Dolphins' Cam Cameron will be meeting both Reid and the Eagles for the first time as a head coach.
WHEN THE DOLPHINS HAVE THE BALL
The big story for Miami on Sunday will be the debut of Beck, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound, 26-year-old who threw for over 11,000 yards with 79 touchdowns versus 34 interceptions while a collegian. In the preseason, where he has received his only action as a pro to date, Beck was 27-of-48 for 300 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for a rating of 71.5. The rookie will look to targets such as veteran Marty Booker (28 receptions, 1 TD), rookie Ted Ginn Jr. (8 receptions, 1 TD), and tight end David Martin (19 receptions, 2 TD) to get his career off on the right foot. He will also hand off frequently to running back Jesse Chatman (320 rushing yards, 1 TD, 19 receptions), who posted career-highs with 27 carries for 124 yards in last Sunday's loss to Buffalo. On the year, Miami is 19th in NFL total offense (316.2 yards per game) and 11th in rushing offense (119.4 yards per game).
Getting pressure on the green Beck will be objective number one for the Philadelphia pass rush, which ranks Top-10 in the NFL with its 25 sacks. Ends Trent Cole (48 tackles, 9 sacks) and Juqua Thomas (13 tackles, 4 sacks) have been the team's most productive pass rushers this year, though neither had a sack of the Redskins' Jason Campbell last Sunday. Cornerbacks Sheldon Brown (38 tackles, 2 INT) and Lito Sheppard (22 tackles, 1 INT) will match up with Ted Ginn Jr. and Booker, with safety Brian Dawkins (17 tackles) lending support. The Eagles have been hit-or-miss against the run this year, and were more of the latter in giving up 137 yards on 30 carries to Washington's Clinton Portis last week. Linebacker Takeo Spikes (57 tackles) notched a game-high 12 tackles in the win, and tackle Mike Patterson (46 tackles, 2.5 sacks) added value with six stops and a key sack-and-forced fumble in the late going. As a unit, the Eagles are a middle-of-the-pack 15th in total defense (322.2 yards per game), 23rd against the pass (222.1 yards per game), and 12th against the run (100.1 yards per game).
WHEN THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL
A Philadelphia offense that had trouble in the red-zone for much of the season broke out of that funk last week, as quarterback Donovan McNabb (2295 passing yards, 13 TD, 4 INT) and running back Brian Westbrook (701 rushing yards, 54 receptions, 9 TD) fueled the victory over Washington. McNabb completed 20- of-28 passes for 251 yards and threw four touchdown passes for the second time this season, while Westbrook scored three TDs, including a dazzling 57-yard catch-and-run that put Philadelphia in the lead to stay late in the fourth quarter. The Villanova product piled up 183 yards (100 rushing, 83 receiving) on 25 total touches for the day. McNabb's receivers have been hit-or-miss this year, but wideout Reggie Brown (30 receptions, 1 TD) and tight end L.J. Smith (11 receptions, 1 TD) both scored touchdowns against Washington and Kevin Curtis (40 receptions, 4 TD) added 20 yards to his team-leading total in receiving yards (653). The Eagles are seventh overall in total offense (352.9 yards per game), but the 32 sacks the team has surrendered are second-worst in the league.
The Dolphins have struggled mightily on the defensive side of the football all season, ranking next-to-last in the league in scoring defense (28.6 points per game), 30th against the run (149.7 yards per game), and ranking in a tie for last in turnovers forced (9) along with the Jets and Saints. That said, the tide may have begun to turn in last week's loss to Buffalo, where the Miami "D" pitched a shutout for three quarters and limited the Bills to 214 total yards on the day. That performance came without middle linebacker Zach Thomas (52 tackles, 1 sack), who has been bothered by migraines and is considered questionable for Sunday. Linebackers Channing Crowder (48 tackles) and Joey Porter (32 tackles, 1.5 sacks) combined for 14 tackles in Thomas' stead, and end Jason Taylor (30 tackles, 1 INT) picked up his team-leading fifth sack of the campaign. The Miami secondary has had particular trouble making plays this year, though cornerback Will Allen (33 tackles, 1 INT) did notch the team's fifth interception of the season off of Buffalo's J.P. Losman last Sunday.
The Eagles have several worthy fantasy starts this week, beginning with McNabb and Westbrook, who figure to post strong numbers against a generally poor Miami defense. The Philadelphia defense is also a worthy play, since Beck can be counted on to gift-wrap a couple of mistakes for the Eagles in the first real action of his pro career. Kicker David Akers is always a solid play for Philly as well. On the Miami side, Chatman's performance last week makes him worth a look, and Jay Feely is an above-average kicking option.
Beck's initial assignment is a tough one, as he heads into a hostile environment to play a talented team that still harbors playoff aspirations. The rookie has the tools to make some plays and should give the Dolphins a spark, but it is unrealistic to expect him to be turnover-free. Once he coughs it up, the onus is on the Miami defense to come up with importance stops, something the Fins haven't done on anything resembling a regular basis during their dismal run to 0-9. Thus, the misery continues for this once-proud franchise.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eagles 28. Dolphins 19
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Ted Ginn Sr. will return to the Glenville sidelines this fall Ted Ginn Sr., the longtime head football coach at Glenville, will return to the sidelines this fall, according to the Plain Dealer.Â Ginn had been battling pancreatic cancer.
Ted Ginn Sr. returns more inspired than ever to save kids: Tim Warsinskey's Take Glenville football coach Ted Ginn Sr. said retiring from a life devoted to at-risk, inner-city kids would have been selfish.
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