Dolphins owner expects Matt Moore to be starting QB

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Tannehill won't start in Week 1. (Getty Images)
One of the benefits of going to an NFL team that recently hired your college head coach as its offensive coordinator is that you'll have a pretty good handle on the playbook before any of your new teammates. And for a rookie -- especially a rookie quarterback being groomed as the franchise future -- that's huge.

That's the situation for Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins' first-round pick in last month's draft, who said after the three-day minicamp in early May that he already has a handle on 85 percent of the playbook since it's basically the same one Mike Sherman used at Texas A&M.

That, along with the Dolphins' 6-10 record from a year ago and the immediate need to jumpstart a floundering franchise made it reasonable to think Tannehill might be the starter in 2012. If not in Week 1, shortly thereafter. But owner Stephen Ross, who was reportedly "infatuated" with Peyton Manning when he hit the open market, gets the sense that the coaches aren't in any hurry to put Tannehill on the field.

"I don't think they're going to rush (Tannehill) into anything," Ross told NFL Network's Jeff Darlington. "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."

The biggest knock against Tannehill coming out of college was that he had just 19 career starts. And for some analysts, that lack of experience would mean that Tannehill's rookie season would be a redshirt year to learn the nuances of the job at this level. Because even though he may have a handle on the playbook, he has never seen a real live NFL defense.

He seems to realize as much. “Yeah, I think it's going to take some reps," Tannehill said during a radio interview earlier this month. "Whether it's in the classroom, watching it on film or out on the practice field, I'm going to have to see those things a few times. I'm excited to learn from the guys that have been there. I feel they have a lot of experience that I can learn from.”

In addition to losing out on Manning, Miami also watched Matt Flynn sign with Seahawks before eventually landing David Garrard, who missed the 2011 season after the Jaguars cut him and subsequently underwent back surgery. Moore, to his credit, played well down the stretch last season and appears to be a capable starter in the short term.

For now, though, it sounds like the organization won't rush Tannehill. “We drafted Tannehill because we thought he'd be a great franchise quarterback," Ross said over the weekend, according to the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin. "He has all the intangibles, (he's) a great athlete. The important thing is not to have great expectations up front and bring him along. See how it works for him. He certainly has the talent, and you don't want to get a guy down early. We've seen that before. So it depends on each individual. Obviously, there's a big competition for the quarterback slot. We're not going to rush him into it, that's for sure.”

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
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