As the Dolphins open up training camp on Friday, July 27th, new head coach Joe Philbin and his staff will begin their roster evaluation. With a new staff, many players will get an opportunity to make a good first impression—quarterbacks especially.
Miami will enter training camp with one familiar face in Matt Moore. Even with Moore's impressive play last season, he will be facing the grueling task of competing against veteran David Garrard and newly-drafted rookie Ryan Tannehill.
Can Matt Moore build off of his 2011 season?
Down the stretch, Matt Moore had an impressive 2011 season, finishing with a quarterback rating of 87.1. During Miami's last nine games, Moore lead the team to a 6-3 record, while the offense averaged 24.7 points per game.
What's even more impressive is the fact that Moore helped Miami become one of the most efficient passing teams down the field.
Even though Moore did play well, history does show that he performs better when he is not the opening day starter. In 2009, Moore was inserted into the Carolina Panther's starting lineup late in the season and put up solid numbers. He opened 2010 as Carolina's opening day starter and was later benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen.
No matter how up-and-down Moore's past has been, he will likely get serious consideration to be the Dolphins opening day starter in 2012.
Is David Garrard battered or well-rested?
As a quarterback, David Garrard has never been a perennial pro-bowler, but what he has shown is the ability to be a great leader.
When Garrard was signed, he was overlooked as a potential starter. Garrard has since shown an understanding of offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's offense, and the coaching staff has started to take notice.
In his career, Garrard has a quarterback rating of 85.8. In 2010, Garrard's last year as a starter, he had the second-best season of his career, throwing a career-high 23 touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 90.8.
2011 was an injury-riddled season for Garrard, as his back problems eventually led to surgery on a herniated disk. With such an injury, there are many questions surrounding his ability to play at a high level and stay healthy.
Who will be Miami's opening day starting quarterback?
If he can stay healthy, Garrard has a good chance to become Miami's starting quarterback.
Should Ryan Tannehill start or sit?
For the first time in nearly 30 years, Miami selected a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft. The last quarterback Miami took in the first round? Dan Marino.
Ever since Marino's retirement, Miami has been trying to fill the void left by the departure of the Hall of Fame quarterback. With Tannehill's selection, he is expected to be Miami's future franchise quarterback.
Tannehill won't start right away—and with good reason. His biggest knock coming out of college was his inexperience at quarterback. His first time playing quarterback in college came during his junior season, and his first full season starting didn't come until his senior year.
Even with high expectations for Tannehill, Miami fans need to be patient. The best situation for a young quarterback is the opportunity to sit back and learn the speed of the NFL game. With quarterbacks like Moore and Garrard on Miami's roster, Tannehill will be able to learn from experienced players.
Though Tannehill will get some playing time with Miami's starting unit, it is very likely that he will be a backup in 2012.
Who wins the job?
At this point, it is a toss-up between David Garrard and Matt Moore.
You could make an argument for either player, and since training camp hasn't started yet, it is very difficult to pick who has the upper hand.
Both players possess qualities you look for in starting quarterbacks; however, both have huge question marks looming overhead. With Garrard's latest injury and Moore's inability to be consistent from year to year, this will be completely 50/50 heading into training camp.
If I had to go with my gut, I would predict Garrard to be the starter, based solely on his experience in the NFL and his familiarity with this particular type of offense.
Excited for the NFL season? Join the writer (Jason) and his co-host Ross on 'The Extra Yard' as they host the highly anticipated Miami Dolphins Training Camp Special. The show can be listened to LIVE on FinsRadio.net on July 19th at 7:00 p.m.
Special guests include: Jimmy Wilson (Safety, Miami Dolphins), Tim Graham (ESPN, Buffalo News), Emory Hunt (FootballGameplan.com) and Alex Miglio (Pro Football Focus).