Skip to main content

Jaguars, Dolphins to meet in intrastate battle

MIAMI -- One line on a piece of paper has given Miami Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon hope. Maybe he can start.

Trent Green is a heavy favorite to lead the Dolphins. But when Miami released its first depth chart of the season ahead of the Dolphins exhibition opener Saturday, it would seem as though new coach Cam Cameron was trying to stir up some controversy, or maybe just some competition.

Green and Lemon were listed in the first-team column as co-starters ahead of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The only thing separating them was a slash between their names. Second-round draft pick John Beck is listed as second string, and he will get his first NFL snaps against the Jaguars.

Although Cameron is unwilling to name a starter or discuss his preseason quarterback rotation, most Dolphins players see the job as Green's to lose.

"Trent is the quarterback now," receiver Marty Booker said. "But you never know, things can happen."

Like many reserves fighting for a spot, Lemon will likely see more playing time than the starters. Opportunities like Saturday might only come in the preseason for the fourth-year player from Arkansas State.

"Everyone wants to start," Lemon said. "I think I have as good a chance as anyone. If I play to my ability in the preseason, everything will take care of itself."

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said his starters will only play in the first half, and he warned against reading too much into the depth chart, which has rookies at the bottom. Like the Dolphins, he will be paying particular attention to his quarterbacks.

"The team is important, but if the quarterback is playing well, that certainly puts you in a different category of teams in the NFL," Del Rio said. "That's been proven over time."

Training camp began with some quarterback issues for the Jaguars -- starter Byron Leftwich hasn't played since October, and reserve David Garrard flashed greatness in 10 starts last season.

How quickly things have changed.

Less than two weeks into camp, Leftwich has dazzled coaches and reclaimed the position. He said he's looking forward to playing his first game since a loss against the Houston Texans Oct. 22, when he sprained his left ankle and later had season-ending surgery.

"Personally, it's been a long time since I have been out there," Leftwich said. "It's going to be fun to get back out there, competing in the form and fashion you need to compete in to win football games in the regular season."

Del Rio said Garrard will play slightly more than Leftwich, then the Jags will take a close look at Tim Couch -- a former first-overall draft pick of Cleveland -- as well Quinn Gray and Lester Ricard, all of whom are vying for the third-string job.

Jaguars receivers will also be key to watch during the preseason. Unless Jacksonville keeps six receivers, former 2004 first-round pick Reggie Williams, taken ninth overall by the Jaguars, could be on his way out.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.