Four score and four seasons ago, the Miami Dolphins were being rebuilt. Bill Parcells canned GM Randy Mueller and HC Cam Cameron who simply couldn’t. He and his new GM Jeff Ireland began the process of gutting the roster of it’s overpaid players and looking to the draft to build the team. The plan was simple, start on the interior and work their way out.
It’s hard to say if that thought process worked it’s way into that Division Championship season. Most debate whether or not it was the play and leadership of Chad Pennington or the play and Wild Cat formation for Ronnie Brown.
Now in the present, there is no Wild Cat. There is a semi-rebuild, and there may be a Chad Pennington.
The Dolphins will enter their training camp with a QB competition. Last years winner of six of the last nine games, Matt Moore will try to impress the new coaches with his style of play while former Jacksonville Jaguar starting QB David Garrard will try and show them he has no ill effects of the injury that sidelined him last year and that he is very well capable of leading this “West Coast Offense”.
There is doubt among fans as to who will give the Dolphins the best chance to win. Some believe that Matt Moore has all the tools to become a very solid leading QB while others view him as less than a bridge. A guy who found success last season because he never played with any stress to win. Garrard on the other hand has led his team to the playoffs. He led his teams to be competitive. More than anything, like Chad Pennington, he led.
For the Dolphins, leadership on the field is what they lack the most. Regardless of the fence side you were on in the Chad Henne debate, the one common agreement was he lacked the vocal and outward leadership skills required of the position. Matt Moore took a team on his back when they started 0-8 but again, he never played with the teams season on the line. It was already over when he took it over.
Behind these two is rookie Ryan Tannehill. He will not likely win the starting job out of the gate but he will be watching and learning from the one who does. What he likely will learn from Garrard will be different than what he will learn from Moore. Piecing those together and sorting out what he needs will be key to his success.
I believe that when the dust settles this training camp, David Garrard will be the guy starting. Asked if I felt this way back in free agency, I would have said it was Matt Moore and that Garrard’s future in Miami was in doubt.
Over last weeks mini-camp, the Dolphins got to see quite a bit of both men who each spent a day running the first team offense. Garrard got day one, while Moore took day two. I was not present and did not read where either QB stood out head and shoulders above the other but I did read that Garrard looked better than he did a couple of years ago.
For me, this decision is going to come down to who can lead on the field. Both phyiscally and vocally. The Dolphins need an offensive leader who can generate on-field enthusiasm and excite the crowd. I’m not sure that Matt Moore is ready for that role. At least not with someone on the roster who has a proven track record of being that person.
The thing is this. Garrard is not the future of this team. That is Ryan Tannehill. Chad Pennington was never the future, that was supposed to be Chad Henne. Matt Moore on the other hand, is too young to be a bridge QB and obviously not the teams future. So where does that leave the Dolphins come the 53 man roster? It’s hard to say and aside from dropping the thought into your own head to kick around, the real question for me is simple. Which of these two QB’s give the Dolphins the best chance to win?
I believe that it very well may be David Garrard.
Again, as I have stated several times, leadership is the motivating factor behind my opinion and who knows, Matt Moore may surprise us and take that role on himself and the players may rally behind him. At the very least, he is familiar with most of the Dolphins returning offense and should have little time blending with the newcomers.
The real fun of course is that this will be a QB competition with a head coach who knows something about the importance of a good QB. An offensive coordinator who realizes the importance of leadership and execution. And a new philosophy that changes the slow ball control mentality to an open air spread out offense designed to score points.
Regardless of what I think, you think, or anyone else thinks, the QB who gets his head around that concept first and gives it the best chance for success will open the regular season as the starter. It should be fun to watch. For Dolphins fans, there will be something more to look forward to with training camp than simply an opportunity to say the off-season is officially over.