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Report: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill to start vs. Panthers

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Tannehill moves one step closer to winning the QB job outright. (US PRESSWIRE)

Despite a solid effort during the second half of the 2011 season, Matt Moore was listed behind David Garrard on the Dolphins' first official training-camp depth chart. Moore got the surprise start against the Buccaneers, however, after Garrard underwent arthroscopic knee surgery that will keep him sidelined for the next few weeks.

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But whether it's Moore or Garrard under center, the job is temporary. Miami selected Ryan Tannehill eighth overall in April's draft and he is the future. And for this week he's also the present: Legendary announcer Dick Stockton, who will work Friday's Dolphins-Panthers game, said during a radio appearance that Tannehill will get the start with Moore serving as the No. 2 (via the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin).

The news isn't particularly surprising; the Dolphins are coming off a six-win season and expectations are low. If there was ever a situation to ease a rookie quarterback into the job this might be it.We wrote earlier in the week that unlike Indianapolis or Washington, two organizations that used first-round picks on franchise quarterbacks, Miami and Tannehill have faced little of the media scrutiny that engulfs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III. And that could be a good thing for a young QB getting acclimated to the professional game after making just 19 starts in college.

While it's silly to put much stock in a Week 1 preseason performance against a bunch of backups, Tannehill was impressive nonetheless in his debut. Against Tampa Bay, he completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards and a touchdown (the only Dolphins score of the night), and appeared to be in complete control of the offense from start to finish.

"(Tannehill's) really impressive," running back Reggie Bush said, via the Miami Herald. "I've been really impressed with him these last few weeks [with] what he's been able to do and, as a rookie, just coming in here with the pressure obviously of potentially being the starting quarterback."

"He looks really poised. He throws a very nice ball. He's on time and he has that leadership about him. You can see with the way he's running the offense and with the way he just stands back there and throws the ball. He's looking really good."

And now Tannehill's earned the start. If he plays well it'll move him one step closer to earning the job outright. We'll know more next week -- the third preseason game is typically considered a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener; if Tannehill's under center then, he'll probably have the inside track for the gig when the Dolphins face the Texans in Week 1.

Other Dolphins' rookie-related storylines to keep an eye on during Friday's game: wide receiver Chris Hogan (He's always open!), the undrafted free agent who has an uncanny knack for beating coverage, as well as tight end Les Brown who we're hoping is finally able to successfully block somebody.

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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