|Tannehill's off to a fast start in Miami. (Getty Images)|
Because we live in an age where everything is viewed through the prism of reality television, this was our first thought after hearing Monday that Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin had named rookie first-rounder Ryan Tannehill the starter: "Clearly, he's doing this to get the news out before everyone found out on Hard Knocks."
More likely: with the regular season less than three weeks away, Philbin wanted to get Tannehill as many first-team reps as possible regardless of the Hard Knocks programming schedule. And this makes sense given the coach's perfectionist tendencies (we learned this while watching Hard Knocks, obviously).
Interestingly, those Dolphins players outside of the quarterbacks learned of Tannehill's promotion just like the rest of us: by reading about it on the internet or seeing news reports on television.
"It caught me off guard," wide receiver Clyde Gates said Tuesday according to FoxSportsFlorida.com's Chris Tomasson. "I'm not surprised (at the decision). I was surprised. I said, ‘Oh. That's how I have to find out.' But it's all good."
But Philbin has a plan for everything from a litter-free workspace to properly fitting footwear to the hows and whys of roster decisions.
"I didn't want to make a big deal about it," the coach said. "I had talked to the quarterbacks when we had told David Garrard that he was going to be the starting quarterback (prior to the the knee injury that has sidelined Garrard since before the first preseason game). We certainly didn't make any announcement to the team in that regard. There's a lot of jobs that are open for competition right now. . . . I really didn't think about (telling the entire team about Tannehill). I didn't do it before, so I wasn't going to do it now."
Fair enough. And frankly, once Garrard went down and Moore didn't separate himself from Tannehill, the writing was on the wall that the eighth-overall pick was likely destined for the starting gig. After a slow start against the Panthers last weekend (which was mostly due to lapses along the offensive line), Tannehill had a strong second quarter, leading a 15-play scoring drive. For a team with little to lose, there isn't much downside to turning the offense over to the rookie.
It also doesn't hurt that Tannehill is intimately familiar with Mike Sherman's offense -- the two were together at Texas A&M. In fact, a week after the draft, the rookie quarterback said he already knew 85 percent of the Dolphins playbook.
"From Day 1, he came in, he wasn't shy, wasn't a timid, quiet rookie," left tackle Jake Long said. "He came in and took command of the huddle right away. He knows the offense inside and out, and he's done a great job with leading this offense. I've really been impressed with what he's doing."
With that out of the way, now all Tannehill has to do is win football games.
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