Aug. 4, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback

Dolphins Pre-Season: Positional Controversy Has Silver-Lining

 

The Miami Dolphins have heated battles at the quarterback and cornerback positions and as I see it, this is fantastic.  It is expected that Ryan Tannehill will begin the season as an understudy and the starting quarterback will either be David Garrard or Matt Moore.  While Joe Philbin placed Garrard on his first team, in his first depth chart, he also claimed he has not settled on a starter yet.  In a surprising move, Philbin placed cornerback Vontae Davis on the second team, behind Sean Smith and Richard Marshall.  Is Davis overrated?  Of course not and this is the good news.

As I have said before, Moore is the quarterback standard for Miami.  I believe he is better than roughly half the signal-callers in the league.  Here is a past post about this subject.  If Garrard or Tannehill supplant him, this is a good thing because Miami will have improved from an already respectable position.

If you read my post, you can argue for Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Sam Bradford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Joe Flacco.  I think Moore can stand toe-to-toe with any of these guys.  Smith was in the NFC Championship and Dalton was a pro-bowler but Moore had better numbers than both, in almost every pasing category from Week 6 (When he took Chad Henne‘s spot) forward.  Many scouts still doubt Dalton’s arm strength and pro potential.  Bradford has shown us nothing so far but everyone still harps about his potential.  Moore also outplayed Fitzpatrick and Flacco last year.  There’s a reason why the Baltimore Ravens are hesitating to give Flacco an extension.  Despite having Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin, among other weapons, he posted an 80.9 rating in 2011.  That is pathetic.  You know what he can do with that Top 5 talk.

I will not budge when it comes to Josh Freeman.  The Freeman of 2011 is closer to the real thing than the 2010 aberration or perfect storm, if you want a nicer connotation.  Sorry, Tampa Bay fans.

Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel is reporting that sources claim that teams are salivating for Matt Moore’s potential release.  The truth is that the loser of the QB contest, either Garrard or Moore, will be trade bait.  For who?  Try Cleveland, Jacksonville, Minnesota, Oakland, NY Jets, Arizona, Seattle, Tennessee, Kansas City, and Tampa Bay.  I know a trade with the Jets is unlikely but they are certainly salivating.

It would make sense to wait until a team is desperate due to a change in circumstances, such as an injury or horrendous play (see Mark Sanchez).  Regardless, the possibility of a trade is real because of the solid play of Tannehill.  More good news.

Turning to the cornerback battle.  I’m in the camp that believes Philbin is trying to motivate the super-talented Davis.  Philbin denied the motivation tool.  If this is the case, then Sean Smith and Richard Marshall are playing at a very high level.  More good news.  If someone told me that Phins would have two cornerbacks in 2012, that were better than Davis, I would have been overcome with joy.  Vontae Davis, as a third cornerback?  Outstanding.  All and all, I believe Davis will eventually be the starter.

These positional battles and the buzz around them simply mean that David Garrard, Ryan Tannehill, and Richard Marshall have been better than anticipated.

Don’t forget to watch the Miami Dolphins on Hard Knocks tonight, HBO, 10PM ET.

Follow me on Twitter @RiSantamaria

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Tags: David Garrard Joe Philbin Matt Moore Miami Dolphins Richard Marshall Ryan Tannehill Sean Smith Vontae Davis

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