Man, you guys complain about your QB situation (or at least some do)...this team has been a mess since Marino retired...
DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback John Beck says he'll spend a good part of his four-day weekend with a laptop and a stack of videos.
He won't be watching Evan Almighty or Knocked Up or even We Are Marshall, but rather game footage of the Buffalo Bills' defense.
Beck knows he might start against the Bills next week.
"I'm definitely going to try to study and prepare myself," he said.
With a bye this week, coach Cam Cameron gave his winless team Thursday through Sunday off. Cameron said he and his staff will evaluate the quarterbacks situation during the break before deciding whether it's time for Beck's first career start.
But on Wednesday, Cameron signaled the job is up for grabs by increasing Beck's share of the practice time to divide snaps about 50-50 with Cleo Lemon, who started the past three games.
"You're always looking for ways to get better," Cameron said. "The quarterback position is no different."
The Dolphins definitely need to get better. They're 0-8 for the first time in franchise history, and their 11-game losing streak is a team record.
Beck, a second-round draft pick from Brigham Young, would become the 12th quarterback to start for the Dolphins since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season. He would be Miami's third starting quarterback this season.
Does he think he's ready?
"It's tough to say, because I am a rookie," the 26-year-old Beck said. "That's why I put it into the hands of people who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. Coach has been around this a lot."
Cameron was quarterbacks coach for the Washington Redskins in 1994, when first-round pick Heath Shuler started eight games as a rookie and struggled. By 1998, Shuler was out of the NFL.
Cameron was offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers in 2002, when Drew Brees became a starter after spending his rookie 2001 season on the bench. Brees blossomed into a Pro Bowl quarterback.
Cameron also coached the Chargers' Philip Rivers, who waited until his third season to become a starter last year -- and made the Pro Bowl.
It's unclear whether Cameron thinks Beck is ready to play.
"When you put a quarterback out there, he has to earn the right to start and lead the team," Cameron said. "We still have half a season to go. We're going to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win each week."
If Beck is going to play this season, next week would seem an ideal time for his debut. He would be at home with two weeks of preparation against a defense ranked third worst in the NFL.
The past three games suggest Lemon won't be a long-term solution. He has fumbled three times and has thrown four interceptions, and he realizes his job is in jeopardy.
"It's the nature of the business," he said. "You come to work and try to get it done. If you don't get it done, there might be other options out there available."
Beck began the season as Miami's third quarterback. Trent Green started the first five games, but went on injured reserve Oct. 20 following his second severe concussion in 13 months.
"The situation is definitely different than when I first got here," Beck said.
Beck is the first quarterback drafted in the first or second round by Miami since Marino in 1983. The Dolphins will likely have a high draft pick next April, and giving Beck a tryout now would help determine whether they need to acquire a quarterback in 2008.
Whenever his chance comes, Beck plans to be as prepared. For that reason he'll spend a lot of time on his laptop this weekend, and he'll continue to rely on playbook tutoring from his wife, Barbara.
"She has been great to help me out," he said. "I'll be standing in my house and she'll call out a play, and I'll go through all the things I know about that play. It's great to have somebody like her who is so supportive of me. She never complains. I can say, `Hey, babe, we've got to spend the next hour getting me ready.' She says, `OK, what do you need me to do?"'
Next week, Beck may get a chance to put his home-schooling to use.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press