Just a few hours before the Tampa Bay at Miami matchup last night, it was learned that Miami Dolphins quarterback David Garrard, at the top of their depth chart until then, would miss 2-4 weeks because of arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Garrard said this morning that he felt great after the procedure and is ready to get back to work very soon.
Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that has been commonplace for decades now for NFL players. Garrard’s surgery was to clean up some particulate organic matter, usually cartilage or tiny bone fragments, that interfere, irritate, or inflame a joint.
This is a big gift for rookie Ryan Tannehill. He and fellow QB Matt Moore, Miami’s starter for most of last season, took the snaps in the 20-7 loss to the Bucs last night.
Tannehill clearly outplayed Moore, leading the team on its only scoring drive of the night. His short TD pass to second-year fullback Charles Clay over the middle made me look twice – the rookie actually reminded me of Dan Marino on that _particular_ play. I’m certainly not comparing his upside ability to the godlike Hall of Famer, but his lightning-quick release and throw did look quite similar to Marino’s famous throwing motion. That alone will give their fans some hope.
He finished the game 14/21 for 167 yards and a TD vs. no picks for a 109.9 QB rating. Moore was 7/12 for 79 yards and no TDs with one pick. Moore played with the starters and Tannehill played with the reserves.
It was clear that Tannehill’s progress is well beyond that of where most rookies would be at this point. He’s only had a week and a half of practices after missing the first two days of camp during an abbreviated holdout over details in his contract.
It didn’t show at all on the field. While the playcalling for him was no doubt simplified, he came in knowing more of the offense than anyone else because as many now now, his offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, was his head coach at Texas A&M.
While I wouldn’t yet read too much into this, so far it looks like Tannehill would beat out Moore for the starting job. Moore has had a slow camp, but is known to be a poor practice player that plays “up” when he’s actually in a game. By the time Garrard returns, it may be difficult for him to wrestle the job back. Moore and Garrard are just placeholders anyway until Tannehill gets up to speed.
How will we know what the Miami coaching staff is thinking before any announcements are made? Watch the next two preseason games. If Tannehill starts running with the starters and Moore gets relegated to the reserves, we’ll have a good clue as to what coach Joe Philbin is thinking.