The Miami Dolphins have arguably have had one of the most talked about training camps since the days of Dan Marino. First, the team signed on to the popular HBO show, Hard Knocks, which gives viewers unprecedented access to a NFL training camp. With this added obstacle, Joe Philbin already knew that his first year as an NFL head coach would not go under the radar. Secondly, the Dolphins brought in aging loudmouth wide receiver, Chad Johnson, who had just come off an atrocious season in New England and was looking for a rebirth in South Beach. However, Johnson was cut only a week into camp due to a August 12th arrest. So, to add to to the chaos of Hard Knocks and Johnson. the team had a 3 tier quarterback battle between David Garrard, Matt Moore, and first round draft pick Ryan Tannehill.
All three quarterbacks had something to prove entering camp. Garrard entered camp with something to prove after not starting in the league in 2011. Moore arrived in camp as the team favorite and presumptive starter for week 1. Then there was Mr. Ryan Tannehill, who was drafted eighth in the 2012 NFL Draft after only starting 16 games in college at Texas A&M.
Coach Philbin knew that there was a lot on his shoulders once camp got underway. As camp began, Tannehill was not present due to contract negations with the team. So, the first couple of days became a duel between two fledgling veterans. Just a few days into camp, it was announced that David Garrard would begin working with the first team in practice after a mediocre first few days by Moore. Then, four days into the Dolphins' camp, Tannehill arrived ready to prove his recently signed $13 million contract.
Now with all three quarterbacks in camp, Coach Philbin and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman could begin to decide who would start week 1 versus the Houston Texans. In just one week it was determined that former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback, David Garrard, would emerge as the top QB in camp. However, just before the Dolphins would start preseason play against the Tampa Bay Bucs, team doctors found that Garrard required arthroscopic knee surgery and would be out for at least a month. After the news was delivered, Coach Philbin quickly appointed Moore as the starter of the first preseason game for Miami. Miami lost to the Buccaneers 20-7.
Though discouraged by team's loss to Tampa, Coach Philbin was able to observe Tannehill in action. Tannehill , in the game, completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards including an eleven yard touchdown to tight end Charles Clay. Afterwards Ryan emerged as the perfect replacement for Garrard, because of the mobility and accuracy that Tannehill showed in his first ever NFL game. Throughout the next week in training camp, Tannehill was quickly climbing up the rungs to become the starting quarterback for the Dolphins.
In the next preseason game against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, Tannehill was not impressive, only throwing for 100 yards and completing less than 50% of his passes. Despite the weak performance in the game against the Panthers, Head Coach Joe Philbin determined that Tannehill is the future and on Monday announced that the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft will become the seventeenth starting quarterback of the Dolphins since Marino.
Due to the poor play by Moore and the potential promise shown by the former Aggie, the decision comes as no surprise to many, including myself. But what must be asked is this, Will Tannehill be able to maintain his position over an injury ridden thirty four year old? In my opinion, Garrard will not start a game for the Miami Dolphins ever again, and it looks like a new era in Miami has begun, the Tannehill era. If the first year quarterback proves to be successful then the sun will be shining on South Beach for years to come.