Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After the Miami Dolphins signed quarterback David Garrard and drafted quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Fins fans have been trying to figure out who will be the starting quarterback.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said Wednesday that fans hoping for a quick decision on a starter will have to be patient.
“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,” Philbin told ESPN, via profootballtalk.com.
So when will Philbin have a good idea of the starter?
“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,” Philbin said.
The competition will be between Garrard, Tannehill, and last year’s starter Matt Moore. Garrard has the most starts and is a veteran presence the team could use, but he was completely out of football last year and has been injury prone.
Tannehill is the quarterback of the future and has a gun for an arm and great mobility, which is key in a West Coast offense. He knows nearly the entire playbook, but he’s having to adjust to the speed of the NFL, which can take even the best quarterbacks several months to learn.
Moore finished last season strong, leading the Dolphins to six wins along the way. He’s a journeyman quarterback who rallied a Dolphins team last year that was on the verge of completely collapsing when he became the starter.
Tannehill’s biggest adjustment will not only be to the speed of the NFL, but also the complexity of the NFL defenses. Tannehill played in the wide open Big XII throughout his college career, but now he will have to read complex coverages and go completely through his progressions.
Most believe Tannehill will not start, at least at the beginning of the season. If the Fins struggle, Tannehill will likely get the call at some point during the season to get his feet wet in preparation for being the full-time starter next season.