Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Beck to start for Dolphins; Williams reinstated

Rookie John Beck to start at quarterback for Dolphins; Williams reinstated by NFL

Miami coach Cam Cameron quotes:

(Opening Statement) – “We will start John Beck at quarterback in this game. I thought today’s practice went extremely well. You’ve also heard the news about Ricky Williams. He has been reinstated by the league and the minute he was reinstated he and I had a phone conversation of probably five or six minutes, and he’ll be here tomorrow and he and I will visit tomorrow. There’s nothing to visit on today further until he and I sit down and talk one-on-one. I will, as you know I always do, I will update you on that discussion and the direction that we’ll be headed with him. Injury-wise, I think there are three updates. Paul Soliai was out today with an illness. J.T. (Jason Taylor) did not practice, and Matt Roth did not practice. Everything else is the same. [Zach Taylor and Keith Traylor] are the same. Those are the same as they’ve been.

Our focus, as you can imagine, even with the announcement, is on Philadelphia. That’s not going to change. That’s not going to change any time today. That’s not going to change tomorrow. That’s not going to change through this game. That’s the challenge for our team, to continue to improve. Obviously we’ve been close the last couple of weeks. We need to build on that and go to Philadelphia and play better than we’ve been playing. Again we’re close so we’ve got to make some improvement and make some adjustments and win a football game. That’s our focus.”

(On meeting with Ricky Williams tomorrow) – “We’re going to meet tomorrow, and that was the plan all along. As you know, if in fact he was reinstated, in my mind, ‘OK he’s reinstated, OK, let’s sit down and talk.’ There was no guarantee that he was going to be reinstated, so I can tell you I spent time looking at Brian Westbrook to be honest with you. There’s a heck of a football player. There’s been the focus. But now he’s reinstated. We make the phone call and he’ll be here and he and I will sit down and visit.”

(On if Ricky Williams expressed his desire to return to the team when the two spoke on the phone) – “We didn’t go through any of that. I think it’s important you sit down with a guy one-on-one and look each other in the eye. I think phone conversations can be very misleading and why go down that road when you don’t need to? I just said ‘hey, we’ll make arrangements to get you down here and we’ll talk tomorrow.’”

(On if the conversation with Ricky Williams was more logistical in nature) – “You can imagine how conversations can be interpreted. It was positive. He’ll be here tomorrow, we’ll talk, and I’ll update you.”

(On what he wants to take away from tomorrow’s meeting with Ricky Williams) – “I think it’s pretty obvious that I want to see where he is and also let him know where we’re headed and we’ll go from there because as I told him, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow, our focus is on Philadelphia.’ And that’s my job, to make sure that I’m focused on Philadelphia. He will not play in the game in Philadelphia. Obviously we’ll have a little meeting, but my focus is on Philadelphia just like the rest of our football team.”

(On if he plans to take the entirety of the two week roster exemption to decide whether or not to activate Ricky Williams) – “The only thing I would say, and I can update you on that we haven’t made that decision yet. I’ll visit with him. Then we can have a two-week window. We can start it immediately if we’d like. We can start it no later than Monday. I think that’s my understanding. We’ll make that decision and then we’ll go from there.”

(On what was the determining factor in his decision to start John Beck at quarterback) – “I think John has made tremendous progress the last month. I think he would be the first to agree. I thought he was well-prepared, the most prepared to play, even against Buffalo. I saw that early in the game in the warm-ups. I just sensed that had he gotten an opportunity to play in the Buffalo game he would have played well. I just think the timing is right. Obviously, Cleo (Lemon) and I talked and when we haven’t won a football game you make a change. John gives us a chance to win a football game. I believe that. This is about this year. I think he’s earned the right to play. I think you know how I believe that. It’s not about next year. It’s about us doing everything we can to win this year. There will be some other guys that will be out there potentially in this game, the guys that can help us win this year. We’ve got a lot of football left in this season and I think that’s critical.”

(On if John Beck made so much progress, then why did he not start last week at home) – “I guess I didn’t really mean to define it that – he wasn’t quite ready in my view. I think I shared last week that sometimes you think there’s this perfect scenario. I’ve just been through it enough to know that that perfect scenario against this team at home doesn’t necessarily correlate because there were situations when we went on the road with a rookie in a tough environment and won the game. To me, there’s no perfect way. I felt Cleo (Lemon) gave us a great opportunity to win that game and he did. We didn’t win the game, however. I think now is the time to make that change and that’s what we’re doing.”

(On if John Beck will start the rest of the season, barring injury) – “That’s the plan at this point.”

(On if John Beck took all the reps with the first-team offense in practice today) – “Over 80 percent. We’ve gone away from the 50-50. Again, I communicated with the quarterbacks on Monday and they came in Tuesday. As I told you that I would, I visited with them and told them what the plan would be and then gave them the final decision this morning and how we’re going to go about it. Obviously Cleo (Lemon) will handle it professionally and he’ll be ready to play because now he’s one play away. That doesn’t change for the backup.”

(On what he’s looking to see from John Beck) – “Obviously, number one is taking care of the football. That’s probably number one with our quarterbacks or any quarterback for that matter. Take care of the football, execute our offense, play within the offense, realize that you’re not out there by yourself, and don’t try to do too much. I think you know I believe it’s a leadership position, and young guys can lead. Go out and just play the best football that you can play. This is a young man. This is a guy in his mid 20s. This isn’t a 21- or 20-old guy. This is a mature guy and I think he’s going to maximize his opportunity.”

(On John Beck’s reaction to the decision that he will start) – “He would be like any other guy that I’ve dealt with. They’re excited, but they know it’s about preparation. That’s why you put them in a starter’s mind all of the time, so their preparation schedule doesn’t change time-wise. However, it takes on a little different meaning.”

(On when he made the decision to switch quarterbacks) – “You just sense a guy growing. You’ve been there, you’ve seen it before and you know what it feels like. You know when a guy is starting to get that command, and you know he’s ready for an opportunity. At the same time, we had opportunities to win the Buffalo game, and there was an opportunity, I think Cleo (Lemon) would agree, to play extremely well. Those things played into it. It all played into it. The bottom line is we didn’t win the game, and now we’ve made a move.”

(On if he made the decision to switch quarterbacks this morning) – “I was leaning in this direction, obviously, as soon as the game was over.”

(On if he needs to scale back the offense at all for John Beck) – “I would say this because that’s a good question: There is nothing mentally that you have to scale back for John Beck. But at the same time, there is a growth process there. We’ll go into the game with the things we know he’s most familiar with that fit the defense that we’re going against.”

(On if John Beck has full autonomy to make audible calls) – “Absolutely. Guys have been making audibles now in most cases since they were about 10 years-old, that’s the reality of it. Guys today know this game, they can play this game, they can do those kinds of things and those are the kind of guys you are looking for. We’ll get the plays in quickly and do a lot of things, but this guy can handle that.”

(On if the offense has certain capabilities with John Beck at quarterback that it did not have with Cleo Lemon) – “I think we’ll find out. The bottom line is we would like to think that we’re a high completion percentage team and we’re a team that doesn’t turn the football over. Those are things that we want to head toward. That’s been his history. His history has been high percentage, and that doesn’t mean high percentage underneath throwing. He’s been very accurate throughout his career prior to the National Football League. He hasn’t been a guy that’s turned the ball over, so we’ll see if he can continue those because those are two things that we need.”

(On how John Beck has developed since the final preseason game against New Orleans) – “I think that the majority of the guys that were in there with him aren’t with us now – that would be my guess. Guys grow a lot from then to now, and that’s what he’s done.”

(On if he will devote more time to mentoring his quarterback this week) – “I’ve been doing that, and I think you’re always interacting, especially when you’ll be interacting during the game. You’re continually doing that. That’s obviously something I enjoy, something that I feel good about and I’m looking forward to it.”

(On if he has already decided whether Ricky Williams will join the team) – “One thing, let’s just get [Ricky Williams] here. We’re focused on Philadelphia, and he’s been reinstated. Let’s get here and let’s you and I sit down. We don’t know each other, so let’s have that conversation and then we’ll just go from there. He doesn’t know anything about how we go about our business here. I think, you guys know, he doesn’t know my philosophy as it relates to the team. Let’s see where he’s at and let him know where we’re coming from, and we’ll just kind of go from there.”

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