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Offseason Quarterback Breakdown
By on May 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

There is no doubt that the position of quarterback will be the topic of discussion when the Miami Dolphins take to the practice field in mid-May. Every movement will be scrutinized going into summer organized team activities and mini-camp workouts until someone claims the starting position. Veteran quarterbacks Matt Moore and David Garrard will try and separate from each other, while rookie first round draft choice Ryan Tannehill tries to prove why he’s worthy of a serious look immediately. Second year quarterback Pat Devlin is looking to show what he can do in this new offensive system, but may not get the snaps necessary to draw a competitive comparison. Here’s some of the things I’ll be looking for in the competition and some of the positives and negatives for each quarterback.

Matt Moore – He’s the quarterback that’s coming off of the best season (12 games played in 2011) of his career and should have plenty of confidence heading into the upcoming competition. Moore has the buy-in of the guys in the locker room, but will need to establish command of the west coast offense to get the starting nod from the new coaching staff! He must display all the traits from last season during the nine game stretch at the end last season, where he located the football in the short passing game and was able to stretch the field vertically as well. No longer can Moore just practice average and play at a higher level. He must prove his ability consistently every day to start against the Houston Texans on September 9th!

David Garrard- One year removed from the playing field due to season-ending surgery in 2011, Garrard has the experience and more importantly the talent to lead the Miami Dolphins in 2012. It only took a couple of throws to see Garrard still has plenty of velocity on the football and a few words spoken to hear the sound of confidence in his abilities to lead a team. I believe that the time off will energize Garrard’s ability to compete, and only help his chances to bring out his very best. It should be an interesting battle between the two veteran quarterbacks, but the competition will make both better, and as a result, hopefully put the Dolphins offense in capable hands!

Ryan Tannehill -  You don’t draft a quarterback high in the first round of the draft (8th overall) to make him watch from the sidelines for very long! Tannehill has the size and the ability to play in the NFL and the advantage of basically running 75 percent of the same offense in Miami that he did in College Station! That alone will give Ryan a huge advantage because he can just react and play instead of over thinking on the job. That alone will allow Ryan to compete on an equal playing field on day one, something rookie quarterbacks rarely get and he’s talented enough to use it to his advantage.

Pat Devlin- It’s not impossible but definitely unlikely that Devlin gets enough repetitions of meaningful snaps to compete for a job this summer. He will need to mentally retain this new offense without the luxury of actually going through a high percentage of practice snaps. Devlin’s a long shot to win a roster spot but must stay ready because strange things like injuries could always play a role.


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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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PsychFugue says:

I happen to agree with your breakdown of QBs John, but as one who roots for the “underdog” I think Devlin won’t get the fair shot he needs this year as well.

Devlin has “all the tools” to be a good QB in the WCO, and could potentially be a good back-up to Tannehill later on, if Tannehill wins the job outright in a head-to-head competition… which I’m not so sure he would in a truly competitive environment. But like you said, you don’t draft a QB 8th overall and NOT give him every possible chance to become the starter over an undrafted FA.

Matt Moore, another undrafted FA QB isn’t as well-suited for the WCO, but played well enough last year to deserve a good shot. Garrard is unfortunately “not ideal” for a WCO, he is old and went through a serious surgery that will likely mean he isn’t even serious competition for the job, as a starter or as a back-up… this is the NFL and he’s one hit away from reirement. As far as an “insurance policy” goes, starting Garrard would mean we are in serious trouble and giving up on the rebuilding process in order to “win now” and save face to the fans.

Our team wasted almost 4 years of poorly under-utilizing Chad Henne, which may come back to haunt us. I blame Ireland and the old coaching staff for taking a talented QB and for having Dan Henning trying to turn him into “Pennington Version 2.0″

We can only hope that Philbin and his staff are not so myopic as to be concerned with the short-term wins over doing what’s best to rebuild this team into the best it can be for the future.