|Dolphins open camp with new coach, old questions at quarterback|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 13 April 2007 12:57|
Of course, that's all Daunte Culpepper can do right now.
``It's tough for me as a competitor to not be out there, doing what I love,'' Culpepper said. ``But at the same time, I've got to be smart, and that's what I'm going to do. And I'm going to do that just to ensure that in the time when it really counts, in September or in August, I'll be ready.''
While his teammates ran drills, Culpepper - the quarterback who played just four games last season because of continued recover from major knee surgery - either watched from a stationary bike or from the sideline. He wore a red practice jersey, but a white visor replaced his helmet.
Cameron said he was excited to finally be on the field, but knows the quarterback question looms. With Culpepper sidelined and with Joey Harrington - who started 11 games last season - no longer with the club, Cleo Lemon took most snaps with the first team on Friday.
``In any football team, you want to know who your quarterback is,'' Cameron said. ``But from the start, we said it's going to be a process.''
The Dolphins hired Cameron in January to replace Nick Saban, who left to coach at Alabama. Cameron was offensive coordinator of the San Diego Chargers before becoming the Dolphins' fifth coach since 1995.
Cameron said after spending months speed- and strength-training, the team is ready to begin implementing new systems.
``It's an old-school approach But it's an approach that's withstood the test of time,'' Cameron said. ``We just need to get better.''
He's got time. The season is still nearly five months away.
After failing to make the playoffs for the fifth straight season, the team made some roster changes. The Dolphins acquired linebacker Joey Porter after eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and signed New York Giants kicker Jay Feely as a free agent. Feely replaced longtime Dolphins' kicker Olindo Mare.
Porter said he hasn't adjusted to South Florida's temperature yet, but he is adapting to the Dolphins' defense.
``Football is football,'' Porter said. ``I'm just trying to pick up the terminology.''
Porter, who didn't address his offseason altercation with Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Levi Jones, said he was looking forward to working with defensive player of the year Jason Taylor, who was recently honored for his community service efforts.
``He's going to make me raise the level of my game,'' Porter said.
Wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, a 10-year NFL veteran, also signed a one-year contract with Miami as an unrestricted free agent. Hakim followed Cameron to Miami from San Diego and said he was impressed with the coach's ``straight business'' approach to the game.
``It's a standard that he's set,'' Hakim said. ``And he set the bar really high on the first day.''
Like Hakim, Feely said he was excited to work for Cameron.
``Every team has visions of grandeur,'' Feely said. ``Everybody believes in April that they can make it to the Super Bowl and every fan has hope that this year is the year for their team. I think it's the same for players. It's a fun time.''
For most players, anyway. Watching from the side isn't exactly Culpepper's idea of fun.
``It's a work in progress,'' Cameron said.