With his NFL debut still more than 2 weeks away, Ryan Tannehill can already boast of an accomplishment unprecedented among Miami Dolphins quarterbacks: He won a starting job in his 1st training camp.
New coach Joe Philbin gave Tannehill the job, meaning the Dolphins will have a rookie QB start a season opener for the 1st time when they play at Houston on Sept. 9.
Not even Pro Football Hall of Famers Dan Marino or Bob Griese started the 1st game of their rookie season.
Tannehill beat out Matt Moore, who started the last 12 games last year.
”It was a close contest,” Philbin said of his biggest call so far as a head coach. ”You’re trusting your instincts in terms of what is in the best interests of the team. … We like a lot of things about Ryan. He has an opportunity to be a very good player.”
Training camp commenced with a 3-way competition at quarterback, but veteran David Garrard fell out of contention when he went through minor knee surgery August 11.
Tannehill, who played at Texas A&M, was drafted with the 8th overall pick, which made him the 1st QB taken in the opening round by the Dolphins since Marino in 1983.
Marino retired following the 1999 season, and the Dolphins (No. 27 in the AP Pro32) have since had more starting quarterbacks than any other team. Tannehill will be the 17th – easy to remember because he wears No. 17.
He started the Dolphins’ 2nd exhibition game Friday at Carolina and went 11 for 23 for 100 yards. Through 2 preseason games he’s 25 for 47 for 267 yards and one score, while Moore is 12 for 27 for 136 yards and one interception.
”We took into account the entire body of work of everybody since April,” Philbin said. The offense sputtered in the 2 games, both losses. Baseball odds
Tannehill started just 19 games at A&M after jumping from receiver to QB, and last year he threw 15 interceptions while going only 1-4 against Top 25 teams. But at 6-foot-4 and 222 pounds he wins raves for his size, arm strength, accuracy, toughness, poise, intelligence and overall athletic ability.
Even Moore has become a fan.
”The guy has got the talent to be in the league,” Moore said just before Philbin announced Tannehill will be the starter. ”He clearly comprehends the game very well. He’s able of being a starting QB in the NFL. There’s no question about that. And he works his butt off. So he’s got everything you want.”
Tannehill’s progress in camp was accelerated as the Dolphins’ new offensive coordinator is Mike Sherman. He was Tannehill’s college coach and brought the A&M playbook with him.
The Miami Dolphins drafted Tannehill after unsuccessfully courting Peyton Manning in the offseason. Now they’ll see whether the rookie was worth the investment.
”We didn’t hand him anything,” Philbin expounded. ”Nothing is forever in this league if a guy doesn’t play well, at any position.”