Right now in the Miami Dolphins camp the quarterback battle could be called intriguing as much as it is terrifying. For Miami Dolphins fans, there is no surefire top starter out of the trio of QB’s Matt Moore, David Garrard, and top pick Ryan Tannehill. For QB guru and Head Coach Joe Philbin, there are several points that he can stress. Philbin has an aging yet former pro-bowl quarterback in Garrard with enough mobility to take stress off of some of the young players. Matt Moore led the team to a 6-3 record following an 0-7 start and was in many ways a savior for a team that was going to “Suck for Luck.” Then there is the heir apparent in Ryan Tannehill. With the eighth overall pick, the ‘Fins chose a project at quarterback.
Tannehill has several angles working for him. He was a skilled receiver before making the transition to quarterback. In an extremely limited time adjusting to top flight play at the collegiate level, Tannehill played well before finishing his senior season vastly improved.
So where does Philbin go from here?
In trading WR Brandon Marshall to the Chicago Bears, the Dolphins relinquished the only dominant receiver on the roster. Marshall, TE Anthony Fasano, and Matt Moore were developing a solid relationship as RB Reggie Bush continued to elevate his play to a new level. On the roster, there is the somewhat proven asset, the season savior, and the rook. All three quarterbacks will have difficulty succeeding, especially with the absence of Marshall.
Intelligently, the Dolphins had a tremendous draft behind the uncertainty of Tannehill. With their second, one third, and fourth round picks, the ‘Fins scooped up OT Jonathan Martin, TE Michael Egnew, and RB Lamar Miller. All three players could have been drafted higher. Martin and Miller projected to have first round value before falling. The ‘Fins now have brilliantly addressed the right side of their offensive line which was a turnstile, picked up another strong pass catcher to play along with the dynamic second year TE Charles Clay, and got one of the biggest playmakers in the draft in Miller, who has the speed and receiving ability of Reggie Bush.
With a solid defense, a great running game, and a major high round investment in the offensive line between LT Jake Long, C Mike Pouncey, and OT Jonathan Martin, the protection is not an issue as it has been. The only option is to sit Tannehill. Despite his career trajectory, a trial by fire has rarely worked. For every Matthew Stafford, who did indeed spend many of his early years injured, there is an Akili Smith, Ryan Leaf, or a Jim Drunkenmiller. While there is no proverbial Brett Favre to give Tannehill the role of Aaron Rodgers waiting for his turn, throwing an inexperienced yet high-ceiling quarterback to the fire is not a way to begin his career.
This should be a two horse race. If Miami management has any questions, take a ride up I-95 and see Exhibit A: Blaine Gabbert.