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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