Friday, August 3, 2012

Tannehill the backup? Fins' QB bout maybe do-or-die


At some point during the preseason, Joe Philbin and the Dolphins' coaching staff will choose the starting quarterback who will play Week 1 in Houston.

Right now, incumbent starter Matt Moore and seasoned veteran David Garrard are facing off in training camp to win the job. But they may also be fighting for their NFL lives.

According to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post, the Dolphins are considering all possibilities for the position, including cutting or trading one of the veterans if quarterback-of-the-future Ryan Tannehill proves he is capable of being the backup.

Both veterans are only under contract for this season, and it is common for a team to carry just two starting-capable signal-callers into the regular season. Tannehill, who reportedly looked very much like a rookie during June practices, has shown signs early in training camp that he is adjusting to the speed of the game.

The South Florida media has consistently reported that Garrard, who sat out last season after nine years in Jacksonville, has looked the best so far in camp. Moore is known to be a poor practice player who gets the job done come gametime, and he'll have an opportunity to do just that in Miami's first preseason game against the Buccaneers on Aug. 10th.

This could spell bad news for Moore. After guiding the reeling Dolphins to six wins out of their final nine games last season, he may not make it out of training camp with the new coaching staff.

There is plenty of time for Moore to show his wares, but Garrard is the more experienced player who is more accurate, mobile, and makes the quick decisions that the West Coast offense requires.

Another factor is money. As Volin noted, both players are guaranteed their salaries in full if they are on the Week 1 roster. If cut or traded, Garrard would save Miami $2.25 million and Moore would save $2.75 million. The Dolphins may decide that paying both QBs and sacrificing the roster spot doesn't make sense.

The wildcard here is Tannehill's development. If he shows through camp and the preseason that he is a viable backup quarterback, it would give Miami the flexibility to search for return value on Moore or Garrard or simply release them.

All three quarterbacks making the final roster remains to be the likliest scenario, according to Volin. If the coaches aren't comfortable throwing Tannehill in the game at a moment's notice, it is prudent to keep the other player ahead of him on the depth chart.

Like most things about Miami's future, it all depends on how Tannehill develops.

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