Tomorrow may just be here for the Miami Dolphins as First Round QB Ryan Tannehill will be starting tonight’s preseason game vs the Carolina Panthers. If Tannehill performs well, it’s possible that the Dolphins could hand the keys to the franchise over much earlier than expected.
MDD Staff Writer: Chad Pullen
Tannehill will face another QB that started his rookie season last year in Cam Newton. Starters for tonight’s game should play at least the first half, and possibly the first drive of the third quarter depending on how things look in the first half.
Most believed, including myself, that Tannehill would not be ready to start in year 1 and could go the route of Aaron Rodgers who sat on the bench for Green Bay for a couple years learning the game before the Packers turned the franchise over to him. With Head Coach Joe Philbin a coordinator in Green Bay at the time, it led to the assumption a similar pattern would be followed here. With David Garrard injured, and Chad Johnson already cut from the team, the stop gaps that the Dolphins had acquired during the offseason to hold the future at bay are now gone and the future may just begin tonight.
Along with Tannehill, expect multiple young wide receivers to get time with him as the search for a unit to develop with him continues as well. With Brian Hartline still out with a leg injury, it gives even more added reps to players like Roberto Wallace and late round draft picks Rishard Mathews and B.J. Cunningham. Undrafted free agent Jeff Fuller might even get a look as he played with Tannehill at Texas A&M. HBO Hard Knocks darling Chris Hogan, dubbed “7-11” by Reggie Bush, could also get some looks to see if it is indeed true that he is “always open”.
It may only be preseason, and only the second preseason game at that, but tonight’s game suddenly has become one of the most important games in the last several years for the Miami Dolphins. The direction of the franchise may well begin tonight.