Dolphins coach Joe Philbin thinks he has about three months to pick a quarterback, and he plans to get a close look at all of the quarterbacks on his roster before he does.
“We’re really pleased with the room that we have,” Philbin said on ESPN’s NFL 32. “David Garrard is a proven player. Matt Moore did an exceptional job last year in Miami. We think Ryan Tannehill has a lot of promise for the future. And we’ve got a young man named Pat Devlin who’s worked extremely hard as well.”
Philbin said Week 3 of the preseason is the point at which he thinks he’ll know who his starter is.
“Hopefully, as we move through the OTAs and a portion of training camp and the preseason we can get a good feel as to who has the best leadership quality and who’s the best fit for the team moving forward,” he said. “You’d love to have it done by after the second preseason game. Your third preseason game is when your first unit is going to get the vast majority of the snaps in terms of their preseason allocation. If it’s clear earlier we’ll make a decision at that point in time, but I’d say by the third preseason game we’d like to have a unit established.”
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has said that Moore will probably be the starter, and Moore is atop the depth chart now. But Philbin said there will be a competition and he’ll let the best man win, and Garrard said proving Ross wrong will be motivation.
“That’s just more fuel for me,” Garrard said, in comments distributed by the team. “It’s somebody else I have to try and prove wrong. The owner is the owner. He can make all of the comments that he wants. I am never going to dispute him, but I’ll just let my play on the field go out and show for it.”
Tannehill’s coach at Texas A&M, Mike Sherman, is now the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator, and Garrard said that means Tannehill has a leg up in knowing the offense. But Garrard said a rookie like Tannehill can know an offense without knowing how to run it in the NFL.
“A lot of times, he is giving us tips on things,” Garrard said of Tannehill, “but the quarterback position is more than learning your own plays. You have to know what the defense is out there doing each week and there’s 16 weeks and you are going to get 16 looks at defenses with variations and some [that are] just completely different. That’s a lot to put on a rookie quarterback. Some guys can do it and some guys have a tough time with it. Like I said, it is a lot more than knowing your own plays.”
Garrard had back surgery last year and didn’t play at all, but he has appeared to be healthy and ready to go at the Dolphins’ Organized Team Activities, and he’ll have a chance to take the starting job from Moore. Tannehill probably won’t be ready to be the starter by the third week of the preseason, but when you’re a Top 10 pick you’re eventually going to get your chance. Moore enters the competition as the short-term favorite, but in the long run the job is Tannehill’s to lose.