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Why David Garrard Should Be the Starting QB for the Miami Dolphins in 2012

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Why David Garrard Should Be the Starting QB for the Miami Dolphins in 2012
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If the Miami Dolphins wanted the "sexy" pick for their starting quarterback, they'd go with Lauren Tannehill...erm, I mean Ryan Tannehill.

But sexy isn't the name of the game in the West Coast offense—it's efficiency, football intelligence and experience. In all three areas, Dolphins quarterback David Garrard is ahead of the pack and should be the Dolphins' starter.

Sure, each of the three potential starting quarterbacks—Tannehill, Garrard and Matt Moore—come with a unique set of pros and cons, but Garrard makes the most sense of the three.

Stats courtesy Pro Football Reference

In statistics that matter most for West Coast offensive quarterbacks—completion percentage, passer rating, touchdown-to-interception ratio and more—Garrard is the superior passer.

The stats really speak to the on-field truth that Garrard is better at going through his progressions and throwing to the open receiver than Moore is. 

One look at the production of Brandon Marshall, as opposed to the rest of the Dolphins receivers, reveals the impact Marshall had on Moore and the offense as a whole.

Garrard, on the other hand, has gotten it done efficiently for years yet has never had top-end talent at receiver. He had one of his best seasons in 2010 despite a receiving corps comprised of Mike Thomas, Mike Sims-Walker, Jason Hill, Tiquan Underwood and Kassim Osgood.

He had one of his best performances that season against the Buffalo Bills in Week 5, going 16-of-20 (80 percent completions) for 178 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 122.5 passer rating. His lone interception was a pass that was tipped at the line and brought down by linebacker Kawika Mitchell; it's hard to hold Garrard 100 percent at fault for that.

But in that game, he spread the ball fairly evenly between five different receivers and showed his ability to go through his progressions time and time again.

On first down from inside the Bills territory, the Jaguars lined up in an I formation. Garrard sent running back Maurice Jones-Drew in motion to split out wide to the left of the formation.

Garrard began his progression immediately, as he began dropping back by looking to the right side of the field toward Mike Sims-Walker.

He came quickly back to the middle of the field.

He then looked to the left side of the field, where he found a wide-open Marcedes Lewis. Garrard smelled the mismatch from a mile away and threw up a jump ball for his big tight end, who came down with the ball and scored the touchdown.

Throwing the ball so high may have made for a tough catch for Lewis, but it also assured that the pass would most likely be either complete or incomplete, and not intercepted.

All in the span of two seconds.

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Garrard is admittedly more comfortable in the West Coast offense and told Vito Stellino of The Florida Times-Union, "l love getting the ball out of my hands fast, moving in the pocket, bootlegging. The style and the scheme they are doing is going to be great. A lot of the terminology is similar to what I was already running."

It's showing up in practice, too. 

ESPN's James Walker offers his observations from Dolphins camp and says, "Garrard has looked more comfortable this offseason in Miami's new West Coast offense. It's a system the veteran has played in before."

He'll probably be throwing a bit more than he did as a Jaguar, but if his efficiency stays consistent with what it's been throughout his career, that can only mean good things for the Dolphins offense.

 

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates.

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