ARLINGTON, TX - AUGUST 29: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins throws against the Dallas Cowboys during a preseason game at Cowboys Stadium on August 29, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With the first week of the 2012 NFL season set to kickoff tomorrow night, the NFL has taken a look at the quarterback situation for all 32 teams. While the focus around the media is on New York, looking at the Giants matchup with the Dallas Cowboys as well as the love affair with the Jets and the Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow dynamic, the situation with the Miami Dolphins should excite Miami fans.
For the first time in team history, the Dolphins will start a rookie at quarterback in Week 1 of the season. Ryan Tannehill will be thrown into the fire this week, facing last year's second ranked defense. However, the simple fact that the Dolphins are starting a rookie quarterback, and seem to have finally moved away from the quick fix, band-aid solution to the most important position on the field.
For the first time since Dan Marino, the Dolphins have invested a first round draft pick in a quarterback. They are committed to making him succeed. And, they are going to give him the lest learning environment they can - putting him in the game.
Full disclosure, I was all for Tannehill sitting as David Garrard took the field this season. Leaving Tannehill on the bench to watch and adjust to the speed of the game, while giving the team the best chance to win this year seemed like the right way to go. But, then Garrard injured his knee and Matt Moore failed to claim the spot for himself. With Moore's failure to run away and hide with his starting job from last year, there really is no reason to not put Tannehill on the field.
Is he going to make mistakes? Sure. Is he going to look like a rookie? Of course.
But, it's those times when he doesn't look like a rookie that will be key this year. Tannehill has more potential than any rookie quarterback Miami has had in 30 years. Is he ready to go to the Super Bowl this year? No. Could he be in the future? We will just have to wait and see.
As a fan base, we are tired of losing. We are tired of looking forward and seeing another losing season in front of us. But, we also have to realize there is hope on the horizon. As long as Tannehill is learning, and correcting his mistakes, the team will be moving in the right direction, even if this season seems dire.
I truly believe this season is not going to be as bleak as many seem to think. The Miami schedule is not that tough a schedule to start the year. They could rack up come early season wins before even hitting the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers in back to back weeks two thirds of the way thorugh the year. The Dolphins season could be better than people want to believe it could be.
But, it could also be that bad. The team has holes. Who is going to catch Tannehill's passes? Will the defense be able to handle opposing passing games - epsecially in spread formations with Miami only having four cornerbacks? To offset the weakness in the secondary, will the team be able to generate pressure on the quarterback? It's all still up in the air.
But, no matter how great or how bad this season becomes, realize that the point of this year is not this year. The point of this year is the future. A future with an experienced quarterback hitting the field.