STATUS REPORT: JAY FIEDLER

QB Jay Fiedler

As the Dolphins prepare for the 2004 NFL draft, we continue to take a look back at the past season and examine every player's performance. Today we look at quarterback Jay Fiedler.

Coming into the 2003 season:

Fiedler had won his share of games during his first three seasons as the Dolphins' starter, but there always seemed to be that little something missing. Veteran Brian Griese was brought in last offseason to upgrade the backup spot, and there were some who figured Griese very well could unseat Fiedler as the starter in training camp. That never happened because Griese struggled early before sustaining a foot injury in the preseason.

His performance in 2003:

Fiedler was playing some great football at the start of 2002 before he injured his thumb in a Sunday night game at Denver, and he was never the same after that. In 2003, Fiedler actually took a step back. His decision-making wasn't necessarily that sharp, and he really struggled in some key games, most notably the December game at New England. Fiedler again missed time because of injuries, this time a knee sprain that cost him five starts in the middle of the season. Fiedler was brilliant when he came in for a struggling Griese late in the Sunday night Washington game and was equally impressive four days later at Dallas. But his performance was very uneven down the stretch.

His future with the team:

It's a big surprise to many that Fiedler is still on the team after the Dolphins made it clear they wanted to upgrade the quarterback position and then went out and traded a 2005 second-round pick to Philadelphia for third-stringer A.J. Feeley. Coach Dave Wannstedt has stated that the quarterback position will be up for grabs in training camp, but it's very difficult to imagine Feeley not starting after what the Dolphins gave up for him. Fiedler has always been the ultimate team player, so you wouldn't expect him to make waves even if he feels he's not given a fair shot to retain his starting job and his experience provides the Dolphins with a more-than-capable backup. In fact, you could argue that Fiedler will make one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Of course, it's also not impossible he could still start next season, but we see him backing up Feeley.

Grade for 2003: C.

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