As Training Camp comes closer the big question on everyone’s mind is, who will be the starting Quarterback?
The Miami Dolphins have been on a Quarterback hunt since Dan Marino was forced into retirement before the 2000 season. The Dolphins Organization has been in question for not drafting a Quarterback in the first round of the draft since Marino; that all changed this year. Ryan Tannehill, from Texas A&M, was selected 8th overall in this year’s draft setting the stage for the most exciting Training Camp we’ve seen in a long time. This is and was the perfect year for HBO’s Hard Knocks to come knocking at the Dolphins door and it all starts with this year’s three man race at the Quarterback position.
General Manager, Jeff Ireland, has spoke highly about Tannehill and wants him to be the starter some day, but regarding this season stated, “You know, whether he’s ready to be the starter, that’s the coach’s decision.” Mike Sherman, the new Dolphins Offensive Coordinator, said he regretted not making Ryan Tannehill his starting QB from the beginning as Head Coach of Texas A&M, but who knows if that philosophy would transfer over to the NFL. Joe Philbin, the new Head Coach, will have last say and has come from a system that believes in sitting their rookies so they can watch and learn and it looks like he might have brought that system to the Dolphins. As it stands right now, players on the Dolphins and analyst agree Ryan Tannehill is currently in the 3rd string spot. Barring a great Training Camp and Pre-Season this will not change, even though, the other three QB’s that were drafted in the first round all are projected to start for their respective teams. HBO’s hard knocks will give Tannehill a unique opportunity that most rookies don’t get, a chance to reach out to the Dolfans Community directly and show he is the man for the job. Tannehill’s chances really do rest on his own shoulders.
The returning starter, Matt Moore, has the most chemistry out of the three Quarterbacks. He played almost the entire season last year going 6 wins and 6 losses as the starter. His numbers of 16 tds, 9 ints, 2,497 yds, and a QB Rating of 87.1 was impressive for a QB that was sacked 36 times. Every game he lost he was sacked at least 4 times and never beat a team with a winning record. No one knows what we would get with Matt Moore; was it his, the offensive line, the coaching, or the defenses fault the Dolphins lost those games last year. Only Training Camp will tell if he is a cut above the rest, but to put him on top just because he had a good finish against weak teams would not be wise and doesn’t seem to be Coach Philbin’s mentality. He doesn’t have the luxury of being “last year’s starter” with a new coaching staff and will have to prove himself to get that first spot. Matt Moore has been in this position 5 times and only been declared a season starter once, but only to get benched the second game in that season. Maybe Moore’s luck will change, but right now it seems he has a lot to prove.
The projected front runner, David Garrard, only had three seasons as the starting Quarterback and made the Pro Bowl in 2010. Experience is something Garrard brings to the table that the other two cannot surpass. He’s played in the West Coast offense before and was very productive with a team that relied heavily on the run. The biggest key to Garrard is he has the same playing style as Tannehill which gives him a leg up on Matt Moore. Tannehill will one day be the starter and the new face of the franchise. Having someone that has been in the league and a productive player with the same skill set only makes sense for a team to place Garrard in the driver’s seat and teach Tannehill the ropes. Fans have lost hope of finding the next Dan Marino, but are okay finding a productive Quarterback that can bring some wins to the organization the way Chad Pennington did in 2008. Garrard could be the next Pennington or the next Culpepper, only time will tell. The Dolphins have gone through a lot of quarterbacks due to injuries and again the Dolphins biggest concern is Garrard’s health. Garrard was pursued by multiple teams last season, after being let go by Jacksonville, but spent the year coming off back surgery and making sure he would recover. If he is chosen as the Dolphins starting QB, let’s hope he didn’t lose a step.