When it came to addressing their quarterback need this off-season, the Miami Dolphins had plans to eat at a 5-star motherf**king steakhouse: at one point, they were the presumptive front-runners in the closely-watched Peyton Manning Sweepstakes. But, as we all know, Manning decided to take his aging-but-still-relatively-premium talents elsewhere (apparently because of his strong aversion to bath salt-induced cannibal face attacks).
As a backup, the Dolphins went down the block and considered trying that “new place everyone’s been talking about”. AND they totally air-balled on nabbing highly-touted free agent Matt Flynn.
The Dolphins are now stuck at a desolate, depressing I-95 exit choosing between McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Arby’s, as they currently have an intriguing-because-its-so-dismal 3-way position battle between David Garrard, Matt Moore, and rookie Ryan Tannehill.
However, chin up DOLFANS: if you analyze the situation carefully enough, you will see that an answer floats to the surface of these murky backfield waters:
START RYAN TANNEHILL. AND STICK WITH HIM.
It makes sense. Follow me here.
Yes, the early reports are grim: Tannehill’s not picking up the offense, he’s not reading coverages, he’s not adjusting to the speed of professional football, etc., etc. But if he sucks balls and completely harfs the 2012 campaign (well, hopefully to the tune of worse than 6-10 so they can avoid the sort of talent drop-off that landed them Tannehill in the first place), the Dolphins will be well-positioned in next year’s draft. And if you’re an NFL team, don’t you want to win big or lose and lose badly so that you can rebuild your team through the draft (Ahem, the Indianapolis Colts)?
You can also rebuild through free agency, but need I remind you again how that went for the Dolphins this year? And in general, free agency is expensive, and the marketplace isn’t without its risks, given that you’re competing with other teams (who may or may not have bigger wallets than you do) and usually dealing with players who are getting older in a physically rigorous sport (which of course negatively impacts the probability of a player repeating a certain level of performance year in and year out).
And there’s the high-end possibility that Tannehill actually turns out to be a good NFL quarterback. But then again he has NEVER PLAYED IN AN ACTUAL NFL GAME. So as of right now, we just can’t, with any degree of certainty, say what his floor/ceiling is.
However, we DO know what David Garrard and Matt Moore are capable of. And it ain’t much. But it is slightly more than absolutely reprehensible. What Garrard and Moore give you is that tantalizing and painful brand of wheel-spinning serviceable mediocrity that gets a franchise nowhere fast. Yes, Tannehill could turn in the same product at the end of the day, but the unknowns and variables when it comes to where he could take (or severely not take) the team make him the far more appealing strategic option.
I’m sure this situation will remain a story and headline over the next few months, and the Dolphins will ultimately make the wrong decision. And the reasoning will be that since the strength of Miami’s offense is going to be their rushing attack, all they need is an experienced quarterback behind center who’s not going to make too many mistakes, right? Mind you that rushing attack is lead by the questionably durable Reggie Bush, who just last season (his 6th season) finally (and barely) cleared 1,000 yards on the ground and two unproven youngsters in Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller. I’d use “strength” loosely.
Ay dios mio, Miami. At least you have the Heat.