Miami Dolphins quarterbacks Matt Moore (8) and Ryan Tannehill (17) are battling for the starters role this season.
The Miami Dolphins quarterback competition took an unexpected turn this week, with David Garrard effectively bowing out to have surgery on his knee. Garrard's surgery will make him miss 2-4 weeks, turning the three way battle for the starter's role into a two man competition between Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore.
Moore clearly has the advantage over Tannehill at the start of this two-man battle, given he is already ahead of the rookie on the depth chart. But, as coach Joe Philbin told the quarterbacks on last week's debut episode of HBO's Hard Knocks, the depth chart right now does not mean anything in terms of the ultimate winner of the quarterback battle.
During last Friday's game, Moore went 7-for-12 for 79 yards and an interception. Tannehill, who played almost twice as long as Moore, went 14-for-21, 167 yards, and a touchdown.
Today at practice, Moore took the initial snaps with the first team, but, by the end of practice, Moore and Tannehill had split the snaps, both working with the first team. If things hold between Moore and Tannehill like they did between Garrard and Moore in this battle, Tannehill should be getting the first team reps tomorrow.
Of course, both players want to start, and neither one wants to given an inch in this competition. The Dolphins should be releasing a new depth chart tomorrow, so it will be interesting to see who is listed as the top guy. Is it Moore moving up into the number one spot after being number two last week? Or, does coach Philbin look at this week as a chance for Tannehill to work against a number one defense. especially since Moore started last week's game?
Tannehill was asked early this month what work with the number one guys means in practice. He answered:
"Well, I want to be the guy. You don't want to be a backup. It's not a goal to be a backup. I want to play and I want to get in there. The more reps I can get with the ones, I feel like that's more like a game situation as much as you're going to get in practice."
His feelings toward starting a game, even if it's just one preseason game, have to be right in line with those comments. But, will he get a chance? We will probably find out tomorrow.