DAVIE, Fla. -- The window was a small one, like a porthole on a cruise ship. Fitting a football into it was going to be tough, forcing the passer to make a precise throw that the great ones usually make.
|Like the Dolphins, John Beck had a rough 2007. (Getty Images)|
Is Beck the Miami Dolphins' long-term answer at quarterback?
That question hung over Beck this winter and spring as the Dolphins re-tooled their front office, bringing in Bill Parcells to overhaul the team. Any time Parcells is involved, turnover and Tuna go together.
Parcells likes his guys. Beck wasn't one of those. That meant working to become one.
Beck came to the Dolphins last year as a second-round pick, the handpicked quarterback of the future for the previous regime. The plan was straightforward: Beck would watch veteran Trent Green for a year or two and then take over as the franchise passer, helping Dolphins fans forget the days of Jay Fiedler, Ray Lucas, A.J. Feeley and the many others who have tried to fill Dan Marino's shoes since he left after the 1999 season.
When Cam Cameron was blown out after a year as coach, with general manager Randy Mueller along for the ride, Parcells was given big money -- the reason he came back, despite what he might say about loving the game -- to turn the 1-15 Dolphins into a winner. That left Beck starting from scratch again.
"I haven't heard that I wasn't a Parcells guy," Beck said earlier this month during a break from the team's minicamp. "I never thought I was the guy he didn't like. He didn't know me. So it was up to me to show him. A lot of people will say he's tough, that he's difficult, that he's a mean SOB. And he can be rough. But he wins football games. If I'm doing something he doesn't like he's going to tell me and I will change it. He's Bill Parcells. He knows better than me."
Parcells isn't the coach. He isn't the general manager, either. But make no mistake about it, he has great influence over the Dolphins. During a morning workout at the minicamp, Parcells stood high up on a balcony outside his office overlooking practice, sort of like the Pope looking down at the masses.
With apologies to coach Tony Sparano, there was little doubt as to who the boss was on this day.
Parcells will offer advice to players. Beck said Parcells would sometimes stop him in the hallway and tell him a thing or two to help him get better.
That could be a sign that Beck is fast becoming a Parcells guy.
"I hope so," Beck said.