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QB Frerotte to start Dolphins opener

DAVIE, Fla. (Sept. 3, 2005) -- Gus Frerotte has won the Miami Dolphins' quarterback job -- at least for the first week of the season.

After none of the three quarterbacks emerged as an obvious choice during the preseason, new Dolphins coach Nick Saban said Frerotte will start the opener against Denver on Sept. 11.

"Gus has the best understanding of the offense right now," Saban said. "We feel like he hasn't played his best football yet, but with his knowledge and understanding and leadership, we're hopeful that he can show continued improvement, and that we can make some improvement as an offensive team. We've had spots of doing those types of things, and hopefully we'll continue to be more consistent."

A.J. Feeley dropped to third on the Dolphins' depth chart behind Sage Rosenfels, who went 17-for-25 for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the second half Sept. 1 in a 20-17 loss to Atlanta.

Frerotte, a 12th-year pro who has played for Washington, Detroit, Denver, Cincinnati and Minnesota, was signed as a free agent to compete with Feeley for the starting job.

Neither was impressive in the team's five preseason games, throwing only one touchdown pass apiece. Though Frerotte's 60.2 rating was only marginally better than Feeley's 59.4, the 34-year-old veteran got the nod by making fewer mistakes.

"The No. 1 thing is we want somebody who is going to manage the game and give us the best opportunity to be successful," Saban said. "We were going to make the decision based on this position based on who we felt would give us the best opportunity to win, and managing the game is a really important part of that."

Feeley played himself out of contention for No. 1 by going 4-for-17 against Atlanta with an interception returned for a touchdown.

"I wouldn't say that he has been demoted," Saban said. "The way I'd rather say it is that Sage Rosenfels has earned, through his efforts and consistency and performance through this preseason, the opportunity to compete for the number two position, and he's been put in a position to do that. I don't think anybody has been demoted."

Rosenfels has been Miami's No. 3 quarterback for most of the past three seasons. He made his only career start in the final game last year, going 16-for-38 for 264 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a loss at Baltimore.

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