There is a lot of debate over whether Matt Moore or Ryan Tannehill should start at quarterback for the Miami Dolphins next season, and the simple solution is to give that opportunity to the player who performs best in camp.
However, fans appear to be overlooking their other veteran quarterback David Garrard in the debate when it is entirely possible that he beats out both Moore and Tannehill.
Garrard was not the free agent quarterback acquisition that Miami fans hoped for, but he does offer the team more than just an adequate backup.
Garrard earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2009 during his last full season in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over the course of his career, he has thrown 89 touchdowns to 54 interceptions, he has thrown over 16,000 yards, and he has compiled a quarterback rating of 85.8.
The statistics that Garrard has put up are well above average like Moore’s last year, but both men will have to learn the new west coast offense being implemented in Miami which puts them on an even playing field for now.
First round draft pick Ryan Tannehill has played in the offense at Texas A&M and holds a big advantage over his teammates. He is raw though and has to improve the mental aspects of his game if he wants to start in his rookie season.
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Matt Moore, meanwhile, earned the fans’ trust with his play last year, leading the Dolphins to a 6-10 record after an 0-7 start.
Moore played better than expected but must now learn a completely new offense which may not fit his skills as well as last year.
The west coast offense requires quick decisions and high levels of accuracy. Moore’s decision making is one of the knocks on his game, and he also holds onto the ball too long. Ultimately, this could further hinder his chances of adapting to the new offense.
Garrard, meanwhile, is accurate, and capable of making quick decisions. Providing he has not drastically declined as a result of his year-long absence from the NFL with a back injury, he may well have a skill-set more suited to the west coast offense than Moore.
With Moore known to be more effective in games on Sundays than he is in practice, Garrard might be able to win the position battle by outplaying Moore in training camp unless Moore translates his gameday exploits into camp performances.
There is no guarantee that Garrard will beat out both Moore and Tannehill, but he stands as good a chance as any to be the Dolphins’ starting quarterback next season.
His game translates well to the new offense, and unless Tannehill shows big improvements in his game, it is likely he sits for his rookie season, leaving Garrard and Moore to fight it out to start.
Garrard has consistently put up numbers for the Jaguars in a struggling franchise, and a new start in Miami may be just what he needed.
There are no guarantees in football, but Moore must adapt to the new offense, and Garrard’s skills fit the system better. Tannehill’s inexperience might leave him sitting for a season and then who starts comes down to who plays best in camp.
Provided he is over the injury problems that kept him out in the 2010 season, fans might want to begin putting David Garrard’s name into discussions for becoming the next starting quarterback for Miami; come September, he might be just that.