It did not take long for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill to state his case for opening the season as the starting quarterback for the Miami Dophins. If anyone had any doubts, his performance in the first live action of his NFL career should answer those questioning his ability.
Tannehill was the most effective Miami quarterback on the field in their preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tannehill completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards and one touchdown. He led Miami on their only touchdown drive of the game in a 20-7 loss.
There are two schools of thought to developing a franchise quarterback. There are those that think they should sit on the sideline and learn the playbook for a year or two while acting as a backup. Then there is the Peyton Manning school of thought where you throw your quarterback out there as a rookie and try to get as many snaps under his belt as possible.
Aaron Rodgers is an example of how the former can work. The brothers Manning are prime examples of how the latter school of thought can be effective.
In Miami’s case, they would benefit from going with the Manning school of though and starting Tannehill for the entire season. The Dolphins are most likely not going to make the playoffs in 2012. They may as well get their quarterback of the future as much experience as possible.
The fear in starting a top 10 draft pick as a rookie is that he will get killed behind a weak offensive line and lose his confidence. Most teams who play poorly enough to warrant a top 10 draft pick have very bad offensive lines. That is not the case in Miami where Tannehill’s blind side will be protected by Jake Long who is one of the best left tackles in the game.
Tannehill has spent the last four years in Mike Sherman’s offense so he knows the plays. He has the arm to make every throw in the playbook. The only area he is lacking is in learning to read NFL defenses.The only way to get that experience is to take snaps in games.
Matt Moore is a workmanlike quarterback. You can not ask him to win games for you but with a strong running game and good defense he can manage a team to victory. With Moore at quarterback in 2012 the Dolphins would simply be treading water for a year and enter 2013 with the same questions about Tannehill that hey had in 2012.
Tannehill is a confident football player. He can survive the roller coaster of emotions that a quarterback will go through during his rookie season without it killing his self confidence.
If Dolphins’ fans are going to show up to watch a losing football team, they are going to want to see a glimpse of hope for the future. They are going to want to see what Tannehill has to offer. He was the best Miami quarterback on the field against Tampa Bay and should be the starter on opening day.
In the NFL you are either getting better or getting worse. There is no point in standing still because while you are running in place, others teams are making moves to get better. The Dolphins need to start Tannehill so they can begin the process of moving towards a playoff football team again.