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Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Commentary: Why get Green? Just play Culpepper

May 11, 2007

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— We are here today to speak up on behalf of the downtrodden and the forgotten. We raise a plaintive, imploring voice for those who have overcome great pain but yet are made to suffer still. For those who have wronged and paid their debt and yet watch as society turns its back.

Well, OK, maybe not society. But Cam Cameron, anyway.

Give Daunte Culpepper and Ricky Williams a chance, Dolphins!

Not since we gave peace a chance back in the late '60s has a chance made as much sense or been as worthy of a supporting picket sign.

Miami's new NFL bossdom seems ready to part ways with Culpepper and Williams before giving either talented star an opportunity to prove himself all over again and help an offense that needs it - and if this were even an inch more outrageous, we could expect Al Sharpton stampeding the team's Davie headquarters with a bullhorn.

This stretches the accepted logic that new head coaches tend to cleanse the organization of guys associated with prior regimes, let alone one like Nick Saban's. It is understandable. It is why you dump the ilk of Manny Wright and Marcus Vick, who had offered no hint they might be special and therefore earned no benefit of doubt.

You don't lump Culpepper and Williams in with that crowd, though. These are two proven, productive weapons when healthy and unsuspended, which both seem close to finally being. These also are two men in their chronological football prime, the quarterback having just turned 30 and the running back doing so in 11 days.

Culpepper's last fully healthy season, in 2004, he passed for 4,717 yards with 39 touchdowns against only 11 interceptions, with almost 70 percent accuracy. Those are MVP-type numbers. Yeah, he had Randy Moss then. And now he would have Ted Ginn and Chris Chambers.

Are you that sure Culpepper can't be that quarterback again to not even take a long, fair look in training camp?

When you figure that John Beck is a year away and comes with no guarantee? And when your presumptive alternative, in Kansas City's Trent Green, is a turning-37-year-old guy coming off a concussion-interrupted year?

Green, if you get him, could be a serviceable stopgap, a Gus Frerotte.

Culpepper, if you let him, could again be the Pro Bowl guy who Dolfans were so rightly enthused to have before Saban rushed him back last year and made things worse.

Let the better man win in training camp. That's what training camps are for.

Despite the apparent logic in giving Culpepper and Williams a chance, it has been reported Miami will trade or release Culpepper when the seemingly forever-

imminent Green deal happens.

Culpepper can't be blamed for saying recently he would like a decision by the Dolphins "sooner than later." You can only imagine the frustration of a star-caliber quarterback toughing back from major knee surgery to learn the payback for his perseverance is to see his job handed to aging Green.

As summer draws nearer, it seems the imperative grows for the new Dolphins leadership to do one of two things:

Either welcome Culpepper and Williams back for an honest opportunity to be the offensive producers we have seen them be.

Or kindly let us know why neither deserved the chance.

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