On Friday morning, David Garrard was the leader in the Dolphins’ quarterback competition. But the news breaking on Friday afternoon that Garrard needed knee surgery, followed by rookie Ryan Tannehill outplaying incumbent starter Matt Moore in Friday night’s preseason opener, has the quarterback race looking very close.
The man who will make the final decision, head coach Joe Philbin, said the gap between first string and third string on the Dolphins’ quarterback depth chart wasn’t particularly big even when he named Garrard the starter for the first preseason game, and it’s obviously smaller now that the No. 1 quarterback is hurt and the No. 3 quarterback has outplayed the No. 2 quarterback in the preseason opener.
“I don’t think it’s huge,” Philbin said, via the Miami Herald. “I think it’s relatively close, probably.”
Tannehill went 14-for-21 for 167 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions against Tampa Bay on Friday night, while Moore went 7-for-12 for 79 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. So if the race is close now, and if the preseason keeps going the way the opener went, Tannehill would appear to have a good chance of taking the starting job by the start of the regular season.
But after having surgery this morning, Garrard indicated that he thinks he’s still in the race. Garrard wrote on Twitter that he’ll be back soon:
Everything went great this morning. Be back before u know it!! Phins Up!!!—
David Garrard (@davidgarrard9) August 11, 2012
If Garrard can heal quickly enough to get some time with the first-string offense in the preseason, he may be able to keep the starting job. But after the events of Friday, Tannehill is surging. And in four weeks he may be starting.