Reporting Tim Kephart
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DAVIE (CBSMiami) – The Miami Dolphins returned to the practice field Tuesday morning for the beginning of organized team activities.
The Fins have plenty to work on and plenty of questions to answer as the team looks to put last year’s disastrous season behind them and begin anew with head coach Joe Philbin.
At the top of the list, the Dolphins will begin to look at who will be the team’s starting quarterback come Week 1 of the regular season. The Fins have three candidates for the starting quarterback job: Matt Moore, David Garrard, and rookie Ryan Tannehill.
Moore played well down the stretch last season as he led the Fins out of a winless record to finish the season with 6 victories. Fins owner Stephen Ross has said he believes Moore will be the starter in week 1, but no one has guaranteed the job to Moore.
Garrard is a cagey veteran who spent last season out of football. He’s a former starter with the Jacksonville Jaguars who was the last Jags quarterback to lead the team to the playoffs. But he has also been out of football for more than a year while recovering from injuries.
Fans are focused on rookie Ryan Tannehill. He played for offensive coordinator Mike Sherman at Texas A&M and rocketed up draft boards leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft. He’s got a great arm, but needs to improve his accuracy.
Most draftniks said Tannehill would need a full season before he’s ready to play in the NFL. But, Tannehill has one leg up on his fellow rookies; he already knows roughly 75-80 percent of the playbook. Even Moore said Tannehill is far ahead of him in his knowledge of the playbook.
Still, knowing the playbook and being able to execute the plays while facing exotic NFL defenses is a completely different monster. But, Fins fans know that Tannehill will eventually take over a franchise devoid of a franchise quarterback since the days of Dan Marino.
Another question mark on the Dolphins roster is at the safety position. The Fins have several players including: Chris Clemons, Reshad Jones, and Jimmy Wilson; who can play either position. Coaches haven’t given any indication about who will play either of the two safety positions.
Speaking of defense, the team will finally start to put into place the new hybrid 4-3 defense of new defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. The defense had been a 3-4 defense under former coach Tony Sparano, but Coyle will instead typically employ a four man front.
The defensive line could have a starting lineup as follows: left defensive end Jared Odrick, nose tackle Paul Soliai, defensive tackle Randy Starks, and right defensive end Cameron Wake. Odrick will be expected to put together a semblance of a pass rush to keep the double-teams away from Wake.
If Odrick, Soliai, and Starks can get a good push; Wake should be able to go one-on-one towards the quarterback, at least that’s the plan.
The Fins also have questions at wide receiver and on the right side of the offensive line to figure out as OTA’s go forward.
Today is only day 1, but for the Fins and Fins fans, it’s the beginning of a new journey they hope will end in playoff glory.