Are the Miami Dolphins Wise to Put Ryan Tannehill at No. 3 on the Depth Chart?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJuly 3, 2012

The future is bright for Ryan Tannehill, but he is young and remains delicate and impressionable.
The future is bright for Ryan Tannehill, but he is young and remains delicate and impressionable.Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is to the Miami Dolphins what Anakin Skywalker was to the Jedi Council. 

He has a lot of talent and potential, and the future is bright for him, but he is not yet balanced enough in The Force...erm, the mental aspects of the game. He must first master and learn the ins and outs of an NFL offense before he is entrusted with the title of Jedi Knight...I mean, starting quarterback.

Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post writes:

As for Tannehill, he’s not in the running right now due to his untimely mistakes, particularly when throwing into traffic. Coach Joe Philbin and his staff have made it clear that turnovers will not be tolerated, so for now at least Tannehill will continue his apprenticeship as the No. 3 guy.

Most analysts had regarded Tannehill as a first-year backup, but Joe Philbin left the competition wide open earlier this offseason. 

"I don't remember a master plan that said, 'Here's when Ryan's going to play,'" he told Peter King of Sports Illustrated. "If there is one, I was never told about it. We'll let them come to work, and the best man will win."

But minicamp seems to have Philbin changing his tune. And with training camp and HBO's Hard Knocks just a few weeks away, the Dolphins have already taken the wind out of the sails on one of their juiciest training camp battles. 

The new Dolphins head coach shared his sentiments regarding Tannehill's performance after practice in a video posted on

I thought he threw a couple of really nice balls...I thought he made a couple of good adjustments in recognition of the pressure—what direction it was coming from, getting the [offensive] line and the backs squared away in terms of identification. I thought there were a lot of good things.

Obviously, there were some things where we can't throw interceptions in the two-minute drill, and we have to have better awareness in terms of the route running as well.

I thought there was a little too much double catching out there, and I didn't think our awareness in the passing game from an offensive standpoint was very good. 

It's important to note that minicamp isn't usually used as a time for evaluation, but instead is more of a teaching camp. Still, there were enough glaring issues that gave the Dolphins coaching staff cause for pause.

But this is just a minor setback. I asked Bleacher Report NFL Draft Lead Blogger Sigmund Bloom for his thoughts on Tannehill:

The Dolphins should give Tannehill a chance IF he is ready and capable of making a reasonable showing with that chance, as opposed to setting back his development in its infancy. Tannehill's mistakes and problems with the speed of the game in the team's recent minicamp show that, at least as of right now, he's not on that path.

Perhaps the game action of the preseason can spark some development that reps without pads haven't. But barring a massive acceleration, Tannehill should ride the bench until the team is eliminated from playoff contention.

Still, the timing of the message is awkward. As mentioned, minicamps are usually tools for teaching rather than evaluation. But Sigmund points out an advantage to making this announcement before training camp:

The timing of the message makes it easier for the Dolphins to more correctly dole out first team snaps to only Garrard and Moore in training camp, instead of the three-way rotation they tried in OTAs and mini camp. All of those reps are valuable, but reps at speed in pads at camp are more valuable.

This is magnified by the fact that Tannehill already knows offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's offense from their time together at Texas A&M, but Moore and Garrard do not. 

It will be great for Tannehill to learn from a Jedi Master—that is, if you're ready to equate quarterbacks David Garrard and Matt Moore to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi...or even to call them "masters" of anything.

Either way, while Tannehill remains a Jedi Padawan similar to Anakin, Miami is making the right call if it wants to prevent him from falling to the dark side.


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.