Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Jay Kerry, or is it John Fiedler?

In a move further underscoring the mental retardation of Dave Wannstedt, Jay Fielder was named starting QB for Week 1's venture against the Tennessee Titans. Newly acquired A.J. Feeley possesses the #2 slot, with veteran reserve Sage Rosenfels acting as emergency QB.

The decision cannot sit well with fans of the Dolphins. Although I've conducted no scientific poll, I'd wager that Fiedler is the most unpopular active sports figure in South Florida. I'm precluding athletes that play for rival teams. This is a bitter pill to swallow, considering Fiedler was as good as gone last winter. A.J. Feeley was clearly brought in to start for this Miami Dolphins team. His $18 million salary over five years is a good indicator that ownership had high expectations for the former Eagle backup. After the season ender last December, all indications pointed to Fiedler's departure from Miami. But like the snake he is, Fiedler managed to slither his way back into contention.

Wannstedt must have felt that he needs a mediocre season to save his job. There's no arguing that Feeley has a brighter potential upside than Fiedler. While Fiedler may be the safe pick, this team needed to explore the Feeley option. Owner H. Wayne Huizenga (R) asserted last spring that he hoped Feeley would be "another Dan Marino". Well, it looks like Feeley is competiting with the likes of Ray Lucas and Damon Huard, rather than the great Marino. Fiedler is perhaps competent enough to lead this team to 8 wins in 2004. However, 8 wins is not enough for this team. Feeley may have struggled at times, but at least we would finally know if he's the next Dan Marino. It's a disgrace to trade a 2nd Round pick for a QB spending the majority of his time holding the clipboard.

The big question pertains to the solidity of this decision. The announcement was made not for the entire season, but only for Week 1. It is feasible to imagine Feeley starting at some point this season. Wannstedt said that the move was made because Fiedler gave Miami the best hope to beat Tennessee on September 12. He admits that there was no discernable difference between the competitors. If the season looks headed to disaster by mid-season, there may be no choice but to give Feeley the reigns.

You might ask me why I appear to be so negative about the career of Jay Fiedler. Personally, I am not as opposed to him as many in South Florida. In fact, I am the proud owner of a #9 aqua jersey. Fiedler has amassed a very good record during his four seasons in Miami. However, he does not deserve the majority of credit. During that period, he's had among the very best defenses in football. For the last two seasons, Ricky Williams ran the ball more than any other running back in the NFL. With Sammy Morris and Travis Minor as the two marquee backs, it will be interesting to see how successful Fiedler can be. He has some very good players to throw to. Chris Chambers is turning into a very solid NFL receiver. Marty Booker showed signs of greatness, catching 100 balls two seasons ago. When he's not busy beating his wife (allegedly), Randy McMichael has grown into a Top 5 tight end. Once Rob Konrad is healthy, he can be a very effective pass catcher. Whether the O-Line can protect him is another story. Jay will need to use every ounce of his mobility to avoid getting knocked unconscious by eager Tennesee defensive lineman.

Jay Fiedler might be the John Kerry of this 2004 football season. Like the Masachusetts Senator, Fiedler has had a fairly solid career in this league. It's nothing spectacular, but Dolphins fans hope that Fiedler is competent enough not to fuck up completely. See the parallels to Sen. Kerry? Democrats hoped that Kerry would prove adequate enough to capitalize on Bush's enormous failures. Has that worked? See the latest polls. Dolphins staff appeared scared to take too big a chance. A Feeley candidacy might have blown up entirely, but there was the chance for greater successes. One might compare this decision to that of the Democrats, who chose a steady hand over a fresh, inspiring newcomer. I'll let the reader decide the other politician I am alluding to. (Hint: yeeeeeaaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!!!!!) How do I think it will end? Fiedler, like Kerry, will not screw up completely. Fiedler may very well win 8 games, and Sen. Kerry will likely garner 48 % of the vote. Both will fall short of the expectations. Hopefully, both will be gone by the close of 2004.

Even amidst this latest disappointing decision, I eagerly await opening day on Sunday. Hope springs eternal that Fiedler will display magic, if only for a day. There is something special about Week 1 of the season. I'm sure fans of Cincinnati and Detroit feel the excitement, albeit only for a few moments. As uneasy as I am about Fiedler, I'll still cheer for him when he completes a pass. My heart will sink after the first of many INT's this 2004 season. I'm a loyalist to my team and my party. When this ride ends, on either November 2 or January 2, I will feel a sense of regret. My two men will have gone down in agonizing defeat. I won't sit at my keyboard and say "I told you so". My heart will be broken along with the digital brownshirts who want to shove these men down our collective throats.

For my theist friends in the audience, say some prayers tonight for Jay Fiedler. He'll need all the help he can get.


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