Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 8/20/12
DAVIE, Fla. Ryan Tannehill isnt appreciably better than Matt Moore. Tannehill isnt appreciably better than David Garrard. That was never a requirement. Tannehill, the eighth pick of the draft, was named the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback on Monday because hes just as good as Moore and Garrard. That was the only standard he had to meet, and truth be told he slightly exceeded the standard during training camp and two preseason games. We didnt hand him anything, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. This is exciting news for Dolphins fans. It means Miami is slightly ahead of schedule with Tannehill. It also means Philbin, the first-year coach, has made the second major decision of his time in charge. The first was releasing wide receiver Chad Johnson. Tannehill is the future. We all know that. But most of us thought the plan was to allow Tannehill to sit and learn this season. We thought you had to be patient with the kid. Apparently, Philbin didnt think that way. I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions as to who it was going to be, he said of the starting quarterback. I did. I figured Moore and Garrard, the veterans, would outclass the rookie, at least for the first part of the season. Yes, you knew if the competition was close the Dolphins had to go with Tannehill. To do otherwise would make no sense. Youd only be depriving your franchise of progress. You just figured Tannehill, a former wide receiver who started at quarterback for two years at Texas A&M, would be lacking a bit. He wasnt lacking at all. Hes making good decisions, offensive coordinator Mike Sherman said Sunday, and thats the most important thing a quarterback has to have. Tannehill is 25-of-44 passing (56.8 percent) for 267 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He has an 82.3 rating, which would have ranked 17th in the NFL last year (Moore ranked 12th last season at 87.1). Moore has been worse this preseason. Hes 12-of-27 (44.4 percent) passing for 136 yards, no TDs and one interception. Garrard, of course, is out of the competition. He surprisingly required knee surgery prior to the preseason opener. Hes expected to miss another couple of weeks, and his roster spot might be in jeopardy. And forget all that garbage about Tannehill not having much help at wide receiver and a suspect offensive line. Thatd be the case for any Dolphins quarterback. Throw the kid in there. If his confidence is so fragile it gets shattered by dropped passes and sacks, he isnt your man. As for what you can expect from Tannehill, well, lets just say theres going to be a learning curve. The wide receivers, led by Davone Bess, Legedu Naanee and Brian Hartline, are subpar. The right side of the offensive line, which includes guard Artis Hicks and rookie tackle Jonathan Martin, is suspect. The tight ends starter Anthony Fasano and reserves Charles Clay and Michael Egnew havent shown much. And the running backs, led by Reggie Bush, are adequate. Thats about as complimentary as you can be about Tannehills crew. So far the Dolphins offense has been terrible. They have three touchdowns and one field goal in two games. Thats not winning football. But thats not totally Tannehills fault. Tannehill, through performance and circumstance, has earned the right to be the Dolphins starting quarterback on Sept. 9 when Miami visits Houston for the season opener. Tannehill will be the 17th man to hold that job in the last dozen years. Well see how he keeps it. All we know for now is Philbin made the right call by naming Tannehill the starter.
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