Jay Fiedler's preparation proved more important than his performance.
Fiedler will start the Miami Dolphins' season opener next Sunday against Seattle, beating out Damon Huard for the position vacated during the offseason by Dan Marino.
Fiedler was selected the starter Saturday, a day after he completed 10 of 14 passes for 109 yards and threw three interceptions in nearly two quarters of play against New Orleans.
"He's got a better feel for what we're trying to do with the offense than Damon at this point," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "Jay gives us the best chance to be successful."
Fiedler, who had arthroscopic surgery Aug. 3 to repair torn cartilage in his right hip, practiced just one day before starting Friday night's 22-17 win over the Saints. Even though he was a bit rusty in the preseason finale, Fiedler's accuracy and decision-making ability were evident, Wannstedt said.
"We've talked about this position every day for four months," Wannstedt said. "We've evaluated, we've been as thorough as you can be. We believe and are very confident that this is the best decision for our football team."
Fiedler led the first-team offense to its only touchdown in four preseason games. He took the Dolphins 83 yards in the second quarter, with J.J. Johnson scoring on a 1-yard run. Fiedler passed for 41 yards on the drive.
In three preseason starts, Huard didn't find the end zone. He completed 34 of 54 passes for 303 yards and threw one interception.
"Damon was disappointed," Wannstedt said. "He's a competitor. He's a winner. But we know how it works in this league. I told Damon, 'It may be Week 16, but you're going to get an opportunity. You've just got to be ready when that call comes.'"
Huard broke into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and has been with the Dolphins since 1997 but never started until last year when Marino was hurt. He went 4-1 starting in place of Marino.
Fiedler, meanwhile, backed up Mark Brunell last year for Jacksonville, then signed a three-year, $3.8 million contract with the Dolphins in February.
He started the Jags' season finale against Cincinnati last year - his only career start and completed 28 of 39 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown in a 24-7 victory.
"With 10 days of practice and zeroing in on a gameplan, there's no reservations with Jay," Wannstedt said. "He'll be ready to go."
©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed
© 2000 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.