|Can QB Green regain his old form with a new team?|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 05 September 2007 10:09|
The old Green would be the one who started every game for the Kansas City Chiefs from 2001 to 2005, twice made the Pro Bowl and threw for more than 4,000 yards three years in a row.
An old Green would be past his prime - he's 37 - and unable to make a complete comeback from the severe concussion that sidelined him in the Chiefs' opener last year.
He was traded to the Dolphins in June and will start Sunday at Washington.
``Trent understands in this business you're only as good as your next performance,'' coach Cam Cameron said. ``When he shows people that he can do what he has always done, all the conversation is going to stop.''
Miami fans don't expect Green to remind them of Dan Marino. They just want him to help them forget A.J. Feeley, Joey Harrington and the other quarterbacks who have started - and struggled - for the Dolphins since Marino retired following the 1999 season.
Green will be the 11th post-Marino starter, and he might be the best. Or he might be another bust.
Green wasn't the same when he returned from his injury last year, throwing for only seven touchdowns with nine interceptions in eight games. The Chiefs decided to go with a younger quarterback this year and traded Green for a pick on the second day of the 2008 draft.
He embraced the fresh start.
``I'm very optimistic,'' he said. ``I have high expectations for us. I look forward to having a big season.''
He has past ties with Cameron - both were with the Redskins in the mid-1990s - and is familiar with his new coach's offense. But Green lacks the supporting cast he had in Kansas City.
Miami running back Ronnie Brown has yet to live up to his status as a former No. 2 pick in the draft, and top receiver Chris Chambers is coming off a disappointing season. The offensive line has been the team's biggest weakness the past two years and leaves Green vulnerable to a hit that would send him back to the sideline.
The exhibition season offered little opportunity to assess Green in his new surroundings. He threw only 33 passes, and most of the playbook was kept under wraps.
But Green bristles at the notion he's damaged goods.
``I don't necessarily feel that's a fair label, but considering the spotlight that was put on concussions recently - and mine was a severe one - it draws a lot of attention,'' he said. ``I feel like I'm a durable player, and one that has proven to play through some bumps and bruises and nicks and stuff like that.''
Green became an expert on concussions while sidelined a year ago, when he and his wife weighed whether he should return or retire.
``I wasn't going to come back unless I was cleared on all fronts,'' he said. ``I discussed it with several neurosurgeons and neurophysiologists around the country, and looked at a lot of different studies on my own. I would not have come back and played if they had told me: 'Your percentage of risk for dementia and Alzheimer's are increased because of what you've gone through.'''
New Dolphins coach Cameron decided to gamble on Green rather than Daunte Culpepper, who was acquired before the 2006 season, struggled in his return from major knee surgery, played in only four games and was released in July.
Preparing to face Green in Sunday's opener, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said the Dolphins have found a keeper at quarterback.
``He's right at home there with Cam in what they're asking him to do,'' Gibbs said. ``He's probably one of the brightest people who has ever played quarterback; he knows exactly where to go with the ball. He is one of the absolute best who has played that position, and I would say he has a lot left.''
With rookie John Beck being groomed as the quarterback of the future, Green assumes a caretaker role, but he can provide the offense with desperately needed stability. Green is the fourth quarterback in as many years to start Miami's opener.
``He's a proven leader,'' Chambers said. ``He had to lead Kansas City for many years, and he's coming in here, and he's filling his role. I can see there's not a lot of pressure on him. He's just going out there and doing his job.''
The 222nd player taken in the 1993 draft, Green was once cut by the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League. He spent time with the Chargers, Redskins and Rams before joining the Chiefs, and as the gray in his hair suggests, he has experienced most of the ups and downs that come with his profession.
Now he'll try to succeed where Feeley, Harrington, Culpepper and others failed. To do so, he'll need to play like the old Trent Green.
``He can do that,'' Cameron said. ``There's no doubt in my mind.''