Kansas City, Mo. The Miami Dolphins quarterback competition will end in a week or so when, barring a huge and unlikely surprise, Trent Green draws the short straw and becomes the starting tackling dummy behind Miami's alleged offensive line.
That predictable announcement by coach Cam Cameron will shock absolutely no one and seemingly end whatever intrigue hovers around the most important position on the field.
But the truth is as distant from that mistaken perspective as Miami's starting offense has been from the end zone the past two weeks.
While it seems Green played well enough against Kansas City on Thursday night to stiff-arm Cleo Lemon's attempt to take the job, this competition has never been about an aging veteran versus a rising youngster. This competition has never really been about whether Green is good enough to beat out Lemon.
This competition has always been about whether Green is still good enough.
At 37 years of age and coming off a season that he spent eight games trying to clear the cobwebs from a concussion, Green came to the Dolphins with a long history and a short future.
John Beck, who played in the third and fourth quarters Thursday and led the Dolphins to their only touchdown, already is anointed Miami's quarterback of tomorrow. But today Green is asked to give Miami some of the stability and excellence he artfully brought to the Chiefs for six seasons.
Cameron has said, with no hesitation, Green is able to deliver that excellence.
But South Florida has yet to see it. We didn't see it in the first preseason game or in the uninspiring 11-10 victory over Kansas City. And until we do, we will watch.
Green is given a pass for his first preseason outing because he had no chance to succeed behind poor blocking. Miami coaches gave him a greater chance to succeed Thursday by letting him run a no-huddle attack and using primarily three-step drops that allowed him to get rid of the ball before he had to worry about getting rid of a tackler.
"That was part of it," Green said of the quick passes. "There were a couple of plays we ran quite a bit ... It's all to find out who is best suited for what. To find out what we have."
The Dolphins don't really know that yet. And Green is part of that until he shows different.
Before and after the game, Green talked of "making strides."
Well, he took a baby-step or two.
He completed four of seven passes for 41 yards in his only two series of work. And while the statistics are modest by any standard, they are buoyed by the fact David Martin and Cory Schlesinger dropped two of Green's passes.
"You want to see things start to come together," Green said. "You're going to see growing pains because eight of the 11 guys are either new or in new positions. But tonight was a nice little step forward."
But even in his improvement, the moment has not yet come, either at home or on the road, that would make Dolphins fans believe the team has a star or even stability at quarterback. Green still hasn't delivered a moment worthy of a lusty cheer.
Green hasn't even gotten the first-team offense in the end zone yet.
And that needs to happen. The Dolphins are banking it will happen and happen with consistency. But the truth is there is always room for suspicion when the scrutiny is on a 37-year-old football player.