Neither Ryan Tannehill nor Matt Moore great Friday, but rook has slight edge

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Tannehill wasn't great, but he likely took the lead in the Fins quarterback competition Friday. (AP)

Friday night was supposed to help Joe Philbin figure out who his starter would be for the Dolphins third preseason game and regular season. But neither Ryan Tannehill nor Matt Moore did a whole lot distinguish themselves during a 23-17 loss in Charlotte.

Tannehill started the game and played the entire first half, finishing 11-for-23 for 100 yards and no touchdown. But Tannehill's biggest stat might be his lack of interceptions -- he's now attempted 44 passes (and has completed 56.8 of them) without turning the ball over once. That's a key statistic for Philbin.

Also key? The fact that through two preseason games, Matt Moore's attempted just 27 passes. That's just two more than Tannehill's completed, and it should tell you exactly what you need to know about the way the Dolphins coaches see their quarterbacks.

Moore, who finished 5-of-15 for 57 yards on Friday, is a known quantity. They've seen what he can do and while Philbin might appreciate the leadership he brings and the respect he garners from the rest of the team, Moore doesn't offer any real upside.

Tannehill does, though, and that's exactly why he's likely the leader in the clubhouse for Miami after a fairly unimpressive evening against the Panthers. Moore and Tannehill shouldn't get all the blame, however, as the offensive line wasn't ... good. Jonathan Martin, the Dolphins second-round pick, in particular stood out as a guy who wasn't prepared to deal with NFL pass rushers, even on the right side of the ball. He routinely got torched and allowed the Panthers to sack Tannehill three times in the first half.

"I was excited to get out there," Tannehill said afterwards. "Obviously, it didn't go as I want it to go. But I was excited to compete with the guys."

The upside that the rookie possesses was best shown when he got some momentum rolling in the second quarter that led to a Dolphins touchdown. Tannehill went 7-for-11 on a drive that began at Miami's 29 and ended up with Daniel Thomas plunging in for the first Dolphins score of the game, ending a drive that lasted 6:27.

At other times, Tannehill missed on passes, held onto the ball and didn't look quite as adept as he did in Week 1. But there were clearly glimpses of potential with the rookie.

While that might not be enough to force Philbin's the hand and give him the job before Week 3's game, it's certainly enough to put him in the driver's seat for Miami's starting quarterback job right now.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

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