DAVIE, Fla. David Garrard, the 34-year-old veteran who missed last season after having neck surgery, is the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback.
Think about that. Let it wash over you for a second. It leaves you feeling very neutral. Youre not excited, youre not disappointed.
You just accept the news that the Dolphins' first depth chart lists Garrard as the starter, and you move on.
Welcome to the new season future, Dolphins fans. Once again, the outlook is gray and murky.
Garrard is a good guy. Hes savvy and seems to be very conscientious. But having him as your starter evokes no emotion, it doesnt move you, it doesnt create a spark, and that captures a major part of the problem for the Dolphins over the past few years.
Garrard is good. But Miami needs more than good at quarterback. Miami needs outstanding, and if not that, Miami needs exciting. More than anything, Miami needs winning.
Garrard, a class act by all accounts, hasnt tried to win anyone over with his words.
If you come out and work as a quarterback, you will see who should be on the field, he said of the battle for the starting job, and if I do what Im supposed to do, then it will show.
Garrards actions havent been much stronger. So, once again the Dolphins quarterback position shapes up to be fairly blah. Thats not a good thing for Miami coach Joe Philbin, the first-year man whos implementing a West Coast-style system.
Miami needs its starting quarterback, whomever it turns out to be, to be dynamic, something just short of a star. This team needs big-time help on offense, and we havent seen anything in training camp to indicate big-time help is on this roster.
Philbin, the former Green Bay offensive coordinator, said nothing is guaranteed regarding the starting quarterback, meaning Garrard isnt assured of starting in Fridays exhibition against Tampa Bay or in the regular-season opener Sept. 9 at Houston.
Its a fluid situation, and things could change, Philbin said, but this is where we are today.
Its no surprise that Garrard is listed as the starter. Garrard has been the best quarterback in training camp. Hes out-played and out-classed veteran Matt Moore, who led Miami to six wins in its final 12 games a year ago, and rookie Ryan Tannehill.
Of course, you figured that would be the case based on the assembled talent Garrard, Moore, Tannehill and, lets not forget Pat Devlin, last years third-teamer.
Garrard isnt a gunslinger, hes not a high-riskhigh-reward kind of guy. We all know that. Its not what he does. Hes more of a caretaker, a game manager, which might or might not be a label he hates.
Garrard was decent in Saturdays scrimmage, going 9 of 17 for 57 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers, which dont carry a mountain of meaning considering it was a scrimmage, are the epitome of a caretaker.
Just three years ago, in 2009, Garrard was named to the Pro Bowl. But his Jacksonville Jaguars went 7-9, and Garrard threw 15 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while posting an 83.5 quarterback rating.
As a basis for comparison, that rating would have ranked Garrard 15th last season. Moore, if youre wondering, ranked 12th in the league last year with an 87.1 rating. Those are caretaker numbers.
Tannehill, the eighth pick of the draft, has been pretty good in his four days in full pads. He was 10 of 13 for 114 yards and a touchdown in Saturdays scrimmage. Tannehill is strong-armed and might have big-play potential, but its hard to see him overtaking either Garrard or Moore for the starting job. Hes just too raw.
Whoever turns out to be Miamis starting quarterback wont have much in the way of receivers. Mondays depth chart had veteran Chad Johnson and upstart Legedu Naanee as the starting wide receivers, with Davone Bess in the slot. Brian Hartline, who figures to be a starter, has missed much of training camp with a calf injury.
After hearing those names you can perhaps better understand why Miami needs its quarterback to be a playmaker. In other words, the big plays most likely arent coming from the wide receiver position.
And right now it doesnt seem as though the big plays are coming from quarterback, either. Consider the lukewarm endorsement from offensive coordinator Mike Sherman when he was asked about the eventual starting quarterback.
I feel very confident about our quarterback position and where hes headed, Sherman said, and I think well have a good starter when we get done.
Unfortunately for the Dolphins, good might not be good enough at quarterback.