The Miami Dolphins officially enter their offseason programs tomorrow with the first of the organized team activities. Essentially, these are the first practices the team can have to physically install head coach Joe Philbin's new systems. The Dolphins are expected to run a fast-break, west coast offense under offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and a 4-3 based-hybrid defense under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle.
The Dolphins have already conducted one minicamp for the veterans, prior to the draft, as well as the rookie minicamp. Now, the full team will be together for the first time - minus rookies Jonathan Martin and Josh Kaddu who still have to finish classes this semester - meaning the rookies will be able to meet the veterans, as well some position battles can begin. We will take a look at some of the more intriguing ones tomorrow morning, but the obvious one everyone will be watching is the three way battle for the starting quarterback position.
As rookie Ryan Tannehill looks to adjust to the speed of the NFL game, veterans Matt Moore and David Garrard come into the OTA trying to catch Tannehill in understanding of the new Miami playbook. Tannehill played in the same system under new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman when the two were together at Texas A&M.
With the quarterback situation in the spotlight, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross spoke about how he sees the battle yesterday. Speaking with NFL.com, and former Miami beat writer, Jeff Darlington, Ross said, "I don't think they're going to rush [Tannehill] into anything. He's going to have to win the starting job. I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best."
While some people, like ESPN AFC East blogger James Walker, seem to think this quote signals that Ross needs to "tone it down," Ross' statement is nothing out of the ordinary in the Dolphins community. Tannehill does need to win the starting job if he is going to have it. Moore probably will be the starter. Walker's point is, if Garrard wins the starting job, how will that look if he's not the QB the owner wanted.
I think it will look like the team made a decision based on performance, rather than some arbitrary statement in May by the owner. But, maybe that's just me.
Meanwhile, ESPN's John Clayton seems to think the Dolphins' owner was exactly right in his comments:
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said the right thing Monday. The Dolphins aren't going to rush Ryan Tannehill and might start Matt Moore.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) May 21, 2012
The Dolphins need to develop Tannehill slowly and try to get him ready to play by mid-season.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) May 21, 2012
"Whenever (Tannehill) is ready," Ross added about when the rookie should be starting. "And if Matt Moore develops, so be it. We want a franchise quarterback."
Look for the Dolphins to start the decision making process this week - a process that will probably last until preseason games are underway.