Jay Fielder. Daunte Culpepper. Gus Frerotte. AJ Feeley. John Beck. Chad Pennington. And many, many other less-than-salivating options. With a turnstile of quarterbacks filtering through the team since Dan Marino left the franchise, scooping up Ryan Tannehill was both a must-do and a god-send for Dolphins fans.
We’ll take a look at how the rookie did, what his value for the future, and what the rest of the Dolphins quarterback class has shown for the future.
MDD Lead Editor: Eric Galko
GM Jeff Ireland hasn’t done everything right in his time controlling the Dolphins roster, but snatching up a quarterback in the best QB class ever was a wise decision, and the development of Ryan Tannehill is something fans will be eagerly waiting for and banking on. Even moreso than just the excitement and potential he brought, he gave the Dolphins playoff aspirations all the way up until Week 16. He didn’t play phenomenal, and his stats back up that he has a lot of work to do (12 TD vs. 13 INTs, Sub 60% completion percentage), but the talent around him needs to improve as well.
Despite being just a rookie, he’s the favorite for offensive and maybe team MVP (according to CBS’s David Carey). His receivers only occasionally stepped up, and his running game fluctuated in it’s success. All this with a first time head coach in Joe Philbin. Tannehill drew comparisons to Aaron Rodgers out of college thanks to his size, big arm, mobility, and subtle pocket awareness and footwork. He learned on the job this year, but Joe Philbin may be the perfect coach for Tannehill. If this team can continue to build around him, and give him more than just an up and down running game and Brian Hartline/Davone Bess to utilize, Tannehill could be the quarterback that can lead the Dolphins to the playoffs every year.
Only appearing in two games this year after losing the quarterback battle in training camp, Moore still seems like one of the NFL’s best backups. He was safe and consistent when he filled in early in the Jets game in Week 8 and led the team to a 30-9 win. While keeping the NFL’s best backup quarterback would be a fantastic luxury and something the Dolphins should strongly consider, Moore may want to move elsewhere and try his hand again at battle for a starting job, considering his contract expires after this season. With upwards of 6-7 teams looking for new quarterbacks and the 2013 draft class not looking too promising, plays like Kansas City, Oakland, and even division rival Buffalo could be of interest. Regardless of where he ends up, his role as team MVP in 2011 and consumate pro this season earns him a lot of respect inside and outside of the Miami locker room.
Pat Devlin on the roster provides an intriguing question for the Dolphins future. Devlin likely has been waiting all season for this year to end, because his work this off-season and development could mean the difference for him to be playing in the NFL or on his way out of the league. The 2nd year man has never seen regular season action, and has only been mediocre in pre-season games. But outside of Tannehill, he’s the only quarterback under contract after this season, and he reportedly has occasionally impressed the coaching staff. However, with most teams not carrying more than 2 quarterbacks, the question Devlin will have to answer is what will define his football career: Can Miami rely on him to help this team if/when Tannehill goes down? As of now, most (including myself) would say no. But he flashed NFL backup upside while at Delaware two years ago, and he’ll likely get the first crack at the #2 job this year.