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One more encouraging word about Ray


Bon vivant
Aug 16, 2002
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this one from SI's Don Banks:

How much of a drop-off is Miami in store for with QB Ray Lucas taking over for injured starter Jay Fiedler?

Darn little, if any. True, Fiedler was playing the best ball of his unconventional seven-year NFL career when he suffered a broken right thumb late in Miami's dramatic Sunday-night upset at Denver. His veteran presence will be missed. But the one-month switch from Jay to Ray won't cost the 5-1 Dolphins their grip on first place in the AFC East. Far from it.

Miami has absolutely no reservations about Lucas' ability to do the job. Remember this preseason, when Fiedler was struggling from the effects of arthroscopic hip surgery in mid-July? Lucas received the majority of the first-team snaps in camp and saw loads of playing time in Miami's four exhibition games.

He responded by completing 68 percent of his passes (34-of-50) for 376 yards, with three touchdowns and nary an interception. His 110.1 quarterback rating dwarfed Fiedler's (40.0), and at one point there was a groundswell of fan/media support for starting Lucas over the still-recovering Fiedler.

Secondly, Lucas, 30, has been here before, facing the pressure of a season that has been turned over to him. In 1999 with the Jets, Lucas wound up starting nine games in place of the injured Vinny Testaverde. He led New York to a 6-3 record in those starts, throwing for 14 touchdowns and just six interceptions, with an 85.1 QB rating.

And lastly, the Dolphins' play-calling or offensive style doesn't change one iota from Fiedler to Lucas. Both are mobile quarterbacks who throw well on the run and can make things happen outside the pocket. Nothing has to be eliminated from the playbook, or even pared down. If anything, Lucas gives Miami even more of a running threat at quarterback, without sacrificing much in terms of passing accuracy and decision making.

Thanks to Lucas, the Dolphins this week against Buffalo are liable to miss No. 1 receiver Chris Chambers -- if he can't return from a concussion suffered at Denver -- more so than Fiedler. Otherwise, look for Miami to feature the same Ricky Williams-led power running game, interspersed with offensive coordinator Norv Turner's West Coast-style passing attack. And look for Lucas' transition to the No. 1 job to be close to seamless.

"We feel very fortunate we do have Ray," Dolphins senior V.P. of football operations Rick Spielman said Tuesday. "He has lined up and played well in this league, both with the Jets and with us. He's proven to not only us as a staff but to his teammates that he can get the job done. You'll see the exact same system doing the exact same things with Ray as we did with Jay."
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