The Miami Dolphins completed the 2018 NFL Draft with many roster question marks answered. There remains one big question mark that has no answer, however, if you follow most of the criticism surrounding the team since the selection process ended. What the heck is the team doing at quarterback?
It is a question the fan base and media have been asking since the end of the season. The problem is, no matter how many times the team has answered the question, no one seems to be listening.
Instead, everything seemed to play straight into the Dolphins plans. The coaches and front office, since the moment the regular season ended in December, have repeatedly said, Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback. But, obviously, they did not mean that, right?
They said after the Scouting Combine that Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback. But, they did not mean that, right?
They said before the start of free agency that Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback. But, they did not mean that, right?
They said during free agency, as they continued to not sign a quarterback, that Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback. But, they did not mean that, right?
And, they said before the Draft that Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback. But, they did not mean that, right?
Guess what? The funny thing is, they meant it.
And they still mean it.
Despite all the stories that they loved Baker Mayfield and were locked in on him. Despite the stories that they actually loved Josh Rosen even more than Mayfield and they would trade up for a shot at grabbing him. Despite the team being linked to trades at the second overall pick, or the fifth overall pick, or the sixth overall pick, Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback.
The national media has ridiculed the Dolphins for not adding a quarterback. They point to the “most important position” on the roster and see a question mark for the Dolphins. They argue that Tannehill is “injury prone,” despite the 2012 first-round pick starting every game of his career up to the point Calais Campbell crushed the quarterback’s knee. Yes, Tannehill has missed the last 19 regular season games for Miami and the team’s only playoff appearance since 2008, but they need to stop pretending Tannehill is suddenly made of glass.
Behind Tannehill, the Dolphins have three quarterbacks who will fight for one (maybe two) roster spots this summer. Brock Osweiler, David Fales, and Bryce Petty are all in position to prove they are the top option to be Miami’s backup quarterback. Osweiler reunites with his former Denver Broncos quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in Miami head coach Adam Gase, Fales, who joined the team last year, played with the Chicago Bears when Gase was the team’s offensive coordinator. Petty comes to Miami after three seasons with the New York Jets, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 Draft.
Combined, the three quarterbacks account for a $2.145 hit against the salary cap. None of Petty’s money ($705,000) is guaranteed, while Osweiler ($720,000) would leave the team with $630,000 in dead money and Fales ($720,000) would leave the team with $90,000 in dead money. Basically, the Dolphins can take a look at all three quarterbacks throughout the preseason and decide which will give them the most security if they were to be needed, with not a lot of salary cap pain if they need to release any of them.
“No,” Gase said this week when asked if the team would be looking to sign a veteran quarterback, as they did last year with Jay Cutler, should something happen to Tannehill. “Nope.”
Gase appears to like what he has in the backups, even if it is not clear who will actually make the roster. “It depends on which one of those guys wins the number two job,” Gase added. “But those guys wouldn’t be on the roster if I wasn’t. I am comfortable. I am comfortable with the two guys. Between David and Brock, I am comfortable. And if I wasn’t, then I would have somebody else here.”
Gase also explained, “There’s a lot of confidence as far as the guys that we have here right now. We did a good job as far as lining up what we thought was the quarterback rankings. The way we had them, we felt like those guys were going to go before No. 11. We knew that was probably going to be the case and we felt good with Ryan (Tannehill) starting and the Brock (Osweiler) and David competing for that No. 2 spot. Now you add Bryce (Petty) and that’s going to be an interesting competition. Really, we’re just going to see how it all works out for us.”
The Dolphins seem happy with their quarterback situation, despite what the national media says about Tannehill, and despite the fans that hate the idea of Tannehill starting or the group of backups the team has behind him. Miami has a plan for their quarterbacks. They know what they want to do. And, they know what they are expecting to have happen this year.
Tannehill missing the entire 2017 season is worrisome. There is no denying that. However, the coaches are fully expecting Tannehill to pick up where he left off at the end of the 2016 season, a year in which he finished with career highs in yards-per-attempt average, passer rating, and completion percentage. As the offense grew into Gase’s system, Tannehill looked to be the master of it, opening up and becoming more of the passer that was expected when he was selected eighth overall in 2012. While he was not on the field last season, Tannehill was still fully engaged with the team, still conducting his film work each week, being involved in the game planning, and traveling with the team and working on the sideline with Cutler and Matt Moore. He is expected to be a full participant in the team’s Organized Team Activities and veteran minicamp, and he will be ready for training camp in July.
What the heck is going on with the Miami Dolphins’ quarterback situation? Exactly what they said was going to happen with it.
Ryan Tannehill is the team’s starting quarterback.
Behind him, there is competition among some players who have potential, but need some coaching.
And, the Miami Dolphins are happy with exactly what they have.