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Dolphins place win pressure on Fiedler

By DARRELL FRY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 16, 2002

Stop us if you've heard this before, but the folks in Miami are talking Super Bowl.

Despite the addition of Ricky Williams and the development of second-year receiver Chris Chambers, quarterback Jay Fiedler is thought to hold the key to Miami's season.

In two seasons as starter, Fiedler is 21-10. But his propensity for ill-timed mistakes seems to linger prominently in fans' minds.

But the Dolphins have confidence in him.

"He's a competitor; he's good under pressure, especially in the fourth quarters of games; he's very calm and seldom gets rattled; he has a quick release; he's athletic; he's smart and he's very, very accurate," new offensive coordinator Norv Turner said. "People will say he's not great at any one thing. Well, maybe that's true, but he's good at almost everything."

NOT IN CARDS FOR STEELTOWN: Steeler fans probably still are smarting about that groin injury that caused running back Jerome Bettis to miss the final five regular-season games. He returned in the postseason, but was ineffective in the team's AFC championship loss to New England, perhaps because of rust.

Before last season, Bettis had missed three games in eight seasons.

CROSS YOUR FINGERS: There is reason for concern in Denver, where first-round pick Ashley Lelie tweaked his hamstring while working out last week. The receiver from Hawaii had hamstring problems in the spring while training for the NFL draft and was slowed for months.

The Broncos, who are coming off a season in which they lost receiver Ed McCaffrey early, are hoping Lelie isn't injury-prone.

CARR'S DEBUT BEFORE HIS DEBUT: Mark Aug. 2 on your calendars. That will be the first time No. 1 draft pick David Carr sees action against an opponent.

The Texans, who took the Fresno State quarterback with the overall top pick, will scrimmage the Cowboys.

Carr, who some thought was not the best quarterback in the draft, said he is eager to show his stuff.

"I want to get to the scrimmages. I want to play Dallas," he said. "I want to go against somebody else, go all out and then afterward look at what happened."

Trust me, there will be a lot of interested observers besides Carr.

READY AND WAITING: Former Lions quarterback Charlie Batch remains unsigned.

Detroit released him earlier this month. Several teams reportedly are showing interest, including Green Bay, Denver, Jacksonville, Houston and Pittsburgh.

His best bet may be Houston, where he could get a chance to start initially before the team turns the controls over to Carr. That's not likely to happen with the others, which have established quarterbacks.

SPENDING THE SMART WAY: The Steelers have re-signed almost all their free agents this offseason and appear loaded to make another run at the Super Bowl.

But the millions they have spent to reload have some wondering if they will end up like the Ravens, who spent generously en route to winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago, but now are a salary-cap wreck.

"We don't think we will have the cap problems of some teams because the deals were structured so that the players should be with us through their contract," operations director Kevin Colbert said. "For the cap, we're in good shape this year and next year."

-- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.

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