Despite having two quarterbacks on the roster who have NFL experience, Joe Philbin has made the decision to start rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill for week one in Houston. And I think it’s a horrible decision.
I know a lot of the experts are saying that they’re behind the choice and that Miami is clearly not going anywhere this year, so let the kid play. But for a franchise that has struggled for almost two decades to find a starting quarterback that is anything above mediocre, you’d think they would ease Ryan Tannehill into this role, not just give it to him.
I’m not going to say that David Garrard, who suffered yet another injury, costing him a month of recovery time, or Matt Moore have been anything special in preseason, but has Tannehill really been great on anything other than his appearances on HBO’s Hard Knocks? Sadly, he has been better than Moore or fellow rookie Pat Devlin so far.
But does it still constitute naming him the starter? I really don’t think so and I think the way it was handled was rather unprofessional.
I understand that you need to let your team know who their starting quarterback is going to be, so I have no problem with the announcement coming before the “dress rehearsal” third preseason game. But for all of Tannehill’s teammates to find out through the media? Well, that was the kind of mistake only a rookie head coach might make.
When asked why the news was revealed in that amnner, Philbin had this to say about his decision.
“I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I had talked to the quarterbacks when we had told David Garrard that he was going to be the starting quarterback. We certainly didn’t make any announcement to the team in that regard. There’s a lot of jobs that are open for competition right now. I really didn’t think about telling the entire team about Tannehill. I didn’t do it before, so I wasn’t going to do it now.”
Makes some sense, but I still feel like letting your team know who their leader is going to be is a good idea, but it’s in the past. Back to why this is an awful decision.
Living in Texas, I saw plenty of Tannehill games and his play at Texas A&M. Honestly, about 3 months before the draft, I thought he’d be a good third round pick to bring along and develop. His accuracy was still a big work in progress and it’s hard to believe that anything has changed by simply attending some NFL practices and playing in a few preseason games. Running up the score against the likes of Southern Methodist University isn’t quite like facing perhaps the leagues toughest defense on the road in Houston the first week of the season.
I’ve long been a proponent of the belief that a young, raw quarterback should sit his first year and learn behind a veteran. Matt Moore is hardly what I’d call a veteran, really, but he could hold down the ship until Garrard got back and Tannehill could hold a clipboard for a season or at least the first 8 games or so. Now, the inevitable “setting him up to fail” headlines are going to be attached to the youngster.
Is he doomed? Most likely not, as I do think the kid has immense talent. But to play him this early really heightens the probability of damaging his psyche and causing him to become “shell shocked” should the team be really poor. He has no receivers and a young running game behind an offensive line that has its share of questions. This is the kind of move that reminds me of why the Dolphins have been the Dolphins of the post-Dan Marino era.
This, just like the Hard Knocks decision, was done simply to sell tickets and generate interest from a shrinking fan base in Miami. Could it work out in the long run? Sure. But the odds are certainly stacked against it.