Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
By STEVEN WINE AP Sports Writer
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- For Miami Dolphins rookie John Beck, there's little time these days for dinner at a restaurant or a movie with his wife.
Aside from Sundays, Beck rarely ventures out in public. That's probably just as well, because he's the quarterback of a team that's 0-12 and hasn't scored an offensive touchdown in three games.
"If I'm not here preparing, I'm at home doing the preparation that needs to be done," said Beck, standing at his locker after practice. "Really the only time I'm out is when I'm driving to and from the facility. I don't listen to any media or read the paper or any stuff like that, so I really keep myself away from all that so I'm clueless to what anybody else is saying."
For a rookie, that's pretty savvy. Beck knows the Dolphins are a laughingstock, and he has yet to transform the offense into something worth taking seriously.
Beck was the highest-drafted quarterback by Miami since Dan Marino, but so far comparisons end there. After three starts Beck ranks 66th in the NFL with a passer rating of 53.6, and his longest completion in 84 attempts has been 22 yards.
The most recent game was Beck's worst. He threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles as Miami endured a 40-13 drubbing by the woeful New York Jets.
"I don't think I've had a game like that," Beck said. "I had some mistakes, and it just kind of snowballed. It was a rough one, but I've learned from it. I know that I'm a better player than that."
As Miami's third starting quarterback this season, Beck is trying to lead a unit that has lost its best receiver in a trade and three running backs to injury. At times Sunday he was one of five rookies on offense, and for the third game in a row, the Dolphins totaled less than 200 yards.
Dismal defense completed the ugly picture.
"You can try to crucify John Beck for this, but it ain't his fault," defensive end Jason Taylor said. "We missed tackles, we gave up 100-some yards rushing, we didn't get off the field on third down, we missed blocks, people dropped passes. It ain't a John Beck problem."
Beck has done nothing to show he's Miami's quarterback of the future, as the Dolphins hoped when they drafted him in the second round in April. But he's the skipper of a ship that was already sinking when he took over.
"The situation that I'm in here, it's a tough one," he said. "It's one that's not fun to go through. But it's one that will, I believe, make us tougher, and tough people can fight through it. This is really when character shows."
Character is fine, but to avoid the NFL's first 0-16 season, what the Dolphins really need is a touchdown. Their 13-quarter drought without an offensive TD is a franchise record, with the most recent coming Nov. 11 against Buffalo, when Cleo Lemon was still the quarterback.
Miami plays the Bills again Sunday in Buffalo, and the weather is unlikely to be conducive to offensive fireworks. Injuries will likely force the Dolphins to give running back Patrick Cobbs his first career start, allowing the Bills to focus on harassing Beck.
Coach Cam Cameron didn't want to play Beck this season, but little has gone as planned. Trent Green was sidelined for the season by a severe concussion, and Lemon played poorly.
The beleaguered Cameron, who struggles mightily to remain positive, said he foresees better days for his rookie quarterback.
"You're playing, in my view, the most demanding position in all of pro sports," Cameron said. "You just have to continue to believe in yourself. You just continue to grow and continue to just work and work and grind."
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-12-06-07 1541MST