Dolphins close offseason workouts, no nearer QB decision

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami running back Ronnie Brown darted through the middle of the field and, after catching a pass from quarterback John Beck, sprinted toward the end zone.

It's a good sign for Brown.

It's still anyone's guess who he will catch passes from this fall, however.

The Dolphins wrapped up their offseason work Thursday, insisting once again that they're no closer to deciding on a starting quarterback. Beck, free agent acquisition Josh McCown and rookie second-round choice Chad Henne all are competing for the job -- and the battle will resume in training camp next month. Miami's final organized team activity day of the offseason was Thursday.

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Vic Carucci's take: If the Miami Dolphins have a prayer of improving one of the NFL's worst offenses -- not to mention the team with its worst record last season -- they need their running game to at least resemble what it was in 2005.

That was the year Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams combined for 1,650 yards, with each averaging 4.4 yards per carry. More ...

New Dolphins coach Tony Sparano reiterated that there's no rush to choose, and may not announce the Week 1 starter until deep into the preseason.

"I don't think any of that is going to take place until we really get out there and the whistle doesn't have to blow fast and you can see people around them," Sparano said. "I think that's when you'll start to see these guys separate a little bit more, where you can get into a little bit more of a competitive deal because you have pads on and it's a little bit more physical."

Whomever wins the job will surely benefit from having Brown in the backfield.

Brown, whose 2007 season ended when he sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in an October game against New England, began taking part in team drills this week.

"It's a bigger step, a step closer to getting ready for the season and getting ready for training camp," Brown said.

Before this week, Brown's work had been limited to individual drills. In addition to catching that pass from Beck Thursday, Brown also carried the ball a couple times.

On one of those rushing plays, Brown fell to the ground after being bumped by a defensive player. Brown said he wasn't looking for his defensive teammates to take a hands-off approach with him.

"At this stage, the main thing is trying to get it out of your mind and not being too conscious of it and just going out there and trying to play without thinking about the injury," Brown said. I feel comfortable with that situation."

Brown was leading the NFL in total yards from scrimmage when he got hurt last year.

He could have gotten more work Friday, which was scheduled as the last OTA day for veterans, but Sparano canceled the practice -- meaning Brown's next time on the field will be in training camp.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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