Aug 212012

Though it looked like a long shot at the beginning of the preseason, the Dolphins have named Ryan Tannehill, the 8th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, their starting quarterback. Tannehill entered the preseason as the 3rd string quarterback behind Matt Moore and David Garrard and looked like a long shot for the starting job. Best case scenario for Tannehill looked like that he would win the primary backup job and the loser of the Moore/Garrard battle would be cut, leaving Tannehill first in line should the starter struggle, which would have meant Tannehill could possibly start at some point this season.

However, Garrard hurt his knee and required surgery, which forced him out of the preseason and essentially eliminated him from the running. Meanwhile, new favorite Matt Moore really stunk up the joint this preseason, completing 12 of 27 for 136 yards and an interception. Tannehill, meanwhile, wasn’t much better, completing 25 for 44 for 267 yards and a touchdown, though you could argue that Moore (7 for 12 for 79 yards and an interception) outplayed Tannehill (11 for 23 for 100 yards) in their respective starts. Still, the Dolphins appear to want the future to be now and have named Tannehill the starter. Tannehill will be one of four rookie starting quarterbacks week 1, a record for any week.

It’s definitely not an encouraging thing for Dolphins fans. Tannehill essentially won the job by default and did nothing in his only action against a 1st team defense to dispel the notion that he was a project who would not be ready to contribute in a positive manner year 1, after just 19 collegiate starts. And Tannehill didn’t just struggle, he struggled against Carolina, who had the worst passing defense in the league last year (8.4 YPA).

The Dolphins figure to really struggle offensively this year with a raw project quarterback throwing to one of the thinnest receiving corps in the league. They’ve upgraded the offensive line and run the ball well, though Reggie Bush is always an injury waiting to happen, but they should be one of the worst offensive teams in the league this year. Their defense will win them in some games (6th in the league last year, allowing 19.6 per game), but the 2012 Dolphins could look eerily like the 2011 Jaguars, who finished 5-11.

Tannehill probably won’t be quite as bad as Blaine Gabbert as a rookie, but you can do a lot better than him for a QB2 in fantasy leagues. As for Moore and Garrard, it’s highly unlikely that both make the roster now and Garrard seems like the obvious odd man out after missing all of the preseason and most of Training Camp. After missing all of last season with a back injury, the 34 year old Garrard’s future seems very murky.

Moore, meanwhile, will likely remain as the veteran backup. It’ll be interesting to see if the Dolphins will bench Tannehill for Moore if he struggles or if they’ll let Tannehill take his lumps and try to learn through adversity. You can argue that Moore would have been the better option, even after a rough preseason, because of how surprisingly well he played last season. Moore completed 60.5% of his passes for an average of 7.2 YPA and 19 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, while leading a mediocre offensive supporting cast to 1.74 points per drive in 12 starts, which would have ranked tied for 17th in the league last season had it been over a whole season.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote).

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