Ryan Tannehill looks impressive in first Dolphins outing

If you're looking at stats, Tannehill blew away Moore on Friday. (US Presswire)

With the unexpected news Friday that David Garrard has suffered a knee injury and will miss 2-4 weeks after he undergoes arthroscopic surgery, the Dolphins starting quarterback race is down to incumbent starter Matt Moore and first-round draft pick Ryan Tannehill.

If the first preseason game -- a 20-7 loss to the Buccaneers on a rainy Friday night in south Florida -- is any indication, Tannehill might have a real chance to win the job.

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On the team’s first released depth chart, Garrard was listed as No. 1, Moore as No. 2 and Tannehill as No. 3, but with Garrard’s injury, Moore started vs. Tampa Bay and was 7 of 12 for 79 yards and an interception against a first-team defense. Afterward, coach Joe Philbin said he was pleased with Moore. His 43.4 quarterback rating, however, might show otherwise.

But the Dolphins offense came alive (temporarily, at least) when Tannehill entered the game. Though Miami went three-and-out in his first series, complete with a pass behind receiver Julius Pruitt, Tannehill recovered soon after and finished with 14 of 21 for 167 yards and a touchdown (an 11-yard strike to tight end Charles Clay over the middle) for a QB rating of 106.6.

"It's evident and very clear he can play,” Moore said after the game, referring to Tannehill. “I know he's good and talented."

Yes, it came against Tampa Bay’s second- and third-team defenses, and yes, as our friend Ben Volin at the Palm Beach Post points out, “His big thing right now is adjusting to speed of NFL defenses. TB's third string D isn't a good test.” But Tannehill’s strong performance certainly is better than the alternative.

And if Garrard isn’t in the picture, you have to wonder if the Dolphins will heed the advice of CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco: forget about possibly giving the job to Moore and let Tannehill spend his rookie season taking most of the game snaps.

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