Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fins' starting QB job Tannehill's to lose all along?


Monday, Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin named rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill the team's starter entering the 2012 regular season.

The fix should've been in from the start, and maybe it was.

Tannehill, who was drafted No. 8 overall in April, was perceived to be the team's No. 3 QB early in offseason activities, behind veteran David Garrard and incumbent Matt Moore.

But by training camp, Tannehill appeared to be locked into the backup gig, with Garrard and Moore more or less fighting for an all-or-nothing roster spot.

Once Garrard got hurt and would miss the remainder of the preseason, Tannehill was back in the mix for the starting job, as he'd only have to beat out Moore. Garrard's injury likely knocked him out of the race.

Tannehill put up decent numbers against backups in his first preseason game, but he wasn't terribly impressive in his first start last week. It's not like he did something absolutely extraordinary for Philbin to come to an epiphany that the future is now.

So it's possible the organization wanted to put the least amount of pressure possible on the rookie signal-caller throughout most of the summer while having his insurance in Garrard or Moore. That way, they're covered if Tannehill appeared overwhelmed in OTAs and training camp.

It's kind of what the Jets did with Mark Sanchez, though that situation was a little more transparent.

Garrard's salary isn't guaranteed until Week 1 and has a lot of incentive-based money tied in, giving him an even greater look of an insurance policy. Update: Garrard did receive a $1 million roster bonus, though, as a commenter notes.

This is just one theory, but it's very possible the Dolphins quietly had Tannehill in the driver's seat all along. If so, job well done. They had most of us fooled.

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