After he checked out Tuesday’s practice, Bill Polian, the former NFL executive and current ESPN analyst, sat down with Jesse Agler to share his thoughts on what he saw.
Typically, the NFL preseason isn’t the best indicator of future regular-season success. A team’s stars, even the key rotation players, are long gone by the second half, turning exhibitions into
This year, though, the Dolphins will be an exciting watch for all four quarters of all four preseason games, if only because a potential starting quarterback will almost always be under center.
“This competition will be one of the most exciting things that happens in the preseason in all of the National Football League,” Polian said. “And it is an embarrassment of riches, in a sense, that you have three guys, two of whom who have started pretty successfully in the National Football League.”
More often than not, a training camp quarterback competition only has two guys vying for the starting job. But the Dolphins have three legitimate options, each of whom bring something different to the table. David Garrard, a 2010 Pro Bowler, has veteran savvy and accuracy. Ryan Tannehill’s athleticism allows him to improvise, giving him the ability to keep a broken play alive. The two-time NFL Executive of the Year, too, lauded Matt Moore for his “resourcefulness.”
“You have here three quarterbacks—this is why it’s very interesting—whose skill sets are perfect fits for the West Coast offense,” said Polian, who drafted Peyton Manning in 1998.
Whether or not Tannehill, like Manning, has a chance to play extensively during his rookie season will remain to be seen. Polian said that he was impressed with Tannehill when he scouted him, though his relative college inexperience would potentially cause him to avoid rushing him. This has been the consensus with the former Texas A&M quarterback, especially since he entered a quarterback room with two capable NFL starters.
But the fact that he remains very much alive in the competition is a testament to his offseason progression. After seeing just one Dolphins practice, though, the race was too close for Polian to call.
“He delivered the ball well, but so did David and Matt. I certainly couldn’t tell the difference based on one practice, and you shouldn’t be able to, by the way,” Polian said. “You should give it a very good look and a very good sample size.”
If you judged Polian–or any GM, for that matter–on a year-to-year basis, it would be an exercise in futility–Manning threw more interceptions than touchdowns in 1998, but he and other Polian draftees kept progressing, obviously, and the rest was history.
“You’ll know after three years whether or not they’ll be contributors in the National Football League, which after all is what the draft is all about,” Polian said. “To judge it any sooner than three years is, in my opinion, very mistaken.”
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