Both Jimmy Johnson and Brian Billick started first-round quarterbacks as rookies.
Johnson’s guy, Troy Aikman, went onto the Hall of Fame.
Billick’s guy, Kyle Boller, was looking for work alongside his old coach not long thereafter.
Despite those results, it was Johnson sounding a note of caution to the Dolphins regarding their handling of quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Johnson told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald he’d suggest they start Tannehill only if he’s better-able to win now than Matt Moore or the injured David Garrard.
“You don’t want to kill anybody’s confidence if he’s not ready to play,” Johnson added. “We could survive it in Dallas because we were a bad team and we were going to lose anyway. I could have a loss with a guy who couldn’t play, or a guy who could play.”
Billick took the opposite approach, one held by many, that the Dolphins have little to lose by proceeding with the long-term plan.
“If you’re going to draft a guy in the first round, you’re going to play him,” Billick said. “It’s the only [way] to learn. That’s what the league demands right now.
“That organization will be better, Day 1 at the start of 2013 season, for every snap that Ryan Tannehill plays this year.”
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin hasn’t made an announcement going into tonight’s game at Carolina, but has said he wants to see Tannehill with the starters at some point this preseason.
As tempting as it is to apply the transitive property from Aikman or Boller, or Cam Newton and Andy Dalton to Tannehill is tempting.
But the reality is the situation that player is being dropped into matters more to his long-term success than any individual quality he may possess.
Tannehill might be the best of the quarterbacks in Dolphins camp, but when his best receiver at the moment might be a guy the coaches call “Ankle Weights,” it’s going to be hard for him to shine as a rookie.