The Miami Dolphins finished the year with a 10-6 record and their first playoff appearance since 2008, with quartarback Ryan Tannehill finishing the season with career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating. He also missed the final three games of the regular season and the Wildcard playoff game after a sprained knee ended his season.
Backup quarterback Matt Moore than came in for the final three games, with the Dolphins winning two of those, before being blown-out by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the postseason tournament. In those three (plus) games, Moore threw for over 700 yards with eight touchdowns to three interceptions and a career high (in seasons with at least one start) 105.6 passer rating.
In other words, things seem to be looking up when it comes to the Dolphins’ quarterback situtation. Head coach Adam Gase has taken Tannehill under his wing and should continue to see those strides forward this year, the second season of pairing between the two. Moore is clearly prepared to come in and make an impact if Tannehill should go down again. In other words, the Dolphins seem to have a pretty impressive quarterback situation, right?
Not so much, according to USA Today position group rankings that started on Tuesday. While the top of the list has the normal groupings like the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks, you have to keep scrolling down the list to find the Dolphins.
Miami should be somewhere around the Los Angeles Chargers, when this is USA Today’s explanation of giving them the tenth spot, right?
Yes, it'd be nice if Philip Rivers would cut down on the picks. But how often have poor defense, an inability to run or shoddy blocking forced him into the unenviable position of trying to single-handedly snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? But the team seems improved, so maybe Rivers' window to win an elusive championship will be open a few years more.
Oh, but no, Miami is still lower than that.
The New York Giants, 14th, with the explanation, “If not for his family lineage and those two titles, Eli Manning would probably reside in the Joe Flacco bucket — good, not great.” I guess the Manning name is better than a Tannehill/Moore tandem.
There sure seems to be little discussion of backup quarterbacks in a “position group” ranking.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers? 16th. Dolphins? Still not on the board. USA Today’s rankings of the Bucaneers, “Jameis Winston must curtail the mistakes (33 INTs in two seasons). But the tools, passion and fearlessness should have Bucs fans very excited about the (immediate) future.”
Oh, hey, there’s Miami. Holding down the 19th position. USA Today seems to believe Gase is bringing out Tannehill’s best, while literally writing that Moore is among the league’s best backups - but 19th is all you get.
Before injuring his knee late last season, Ryan Tannehill was on the way to his best year — which is what typically happens for passers coached by Adam Gase. Matt Moore is one of the league's top backups.
19th. Just ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, and Buffalo Bills.
This is not a referendum on the greatness of failure of Ryan Tannehill - which of course the comments below will become - but it seems like the position grouping of Tannehill and Moore are a pretty good group, and probably a top half of the league at worst group. If the 33 interceptions in two years for Winston is enough to get him ranked 16th, Tannehill’s 24 aren’t enough to push him over that spot? Moore versus the not-mentioned Ryan Fitzpatrick should easily go to Moore. So, is Tampa Bay really a better position group than Miami?
Does 19th not seem pretty low for the Dolphins?