Being a rookie quarterback in the NFL is a pretty tough gig, especially if you’re an early pick that’s expected to become the future face of the franchise. It’s a heavy burden to place on anyone’s shoulders, something that becomes even tougher when the team they play for has a rich tradition of high quality pigskin hurlers. It’s no wonder we reward these human football cannons with giant burlap sacks full of money, or at least I assume that’s how they’re paid.
The Miami Dolphins haven’t had an elite quarterback since Dan Marino was throwing deep balls to Mark Clayton back in the 80’s and 90’s. After Marino hung it up after the ’99 season, the Fish have had a revolving door at the QB position, with 15 different players taking snaps during that stretch.
Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the last NFL draft, is hoping to change all that, and he figures he has the kind of stuff that could make him the week one starter.
But it doesn’t really matter what Tannehill thinks he can do. Instead, what’s important is whether or not new head coach Joe Philbin thinks he’s ready to take the reins.
Philbin was the offensive co-ordinator for the Green Bay Packers while Aaron Rodgers was waiting patiently behind Brett Favre for three years, so he knows all about slow playing a QB, and making sure he’s fully prepared to make the jump into the spotlight. At the same time, Tannehill isn’t standing in the shadow of a legend like Rodgers was, and in an interview with the Dan Patrick show, Philbin said that whoever plays the best during training camp will win the job.
I’ve seen it a couple different ways. I think sometimes if you orchestrate things too much, you take too much control of it as a coach, things can backfire. … I was in Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers was drafted and Brett Favre played three seasons and Aaron never started a game until his fourth year in the National Football League and obviously he’s played fantastic. I don’t know that’s the exact right blueprint for every quarterback in the NFL. … We want him to compete for the job. If he’s the best guy and gives us the best chance to win, it doesn’t really bother me. We can play him right away.
So everyone is saying exactly what they’re expected to say. Tannehill is showing the kind of confidence that it takes to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, and Philbin is saying that they’ll go with Tannehill if he proves himself to be the best option during training camp. In the end, Sean Tomlinson is probably right, and the best option is to ease the young man along as he adapts to the pro game.
I know one thing we can all agree on: the Dolphins are probably happy they aren’t hanging their their future on Blaine Gabbert.