Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill is competing with two veteran quarterbacks, Matt Moore and David Garrard, for the Dolphins starting job.
In naming Tannehill the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart before training camp even began, head coach Joe Philbin made it clear that there would be no handouts; Tannehill would have to earn the job.
He hasn't earned the job yet, but he earned a total of nine snaps with the first-team offense on Thursday, which is nine more first-team snaps than he's taken all of training camp.
And Philbin wasn't shy about saying Tannehill that had earned those snaps (via Andy Kent of MiamiDolphins.com):
I think it's kind of on an as-earned type of basis. Certainly he's throwing the ball well enough in the couple of days that he's been practicing that he deserves some opportunities with those guys and to work with different receivers and different linemen. That was definitely earned and as we go forward we've just got to look at the tape and it's kind of a fluid process.
The Miami Dolphins' official website has a recap of what went down in the snaps, but on the whole, Tannehill went 4-of-7 passing with a fumbled snap and a handoff to running back Daniel Thomas.
The fumbled snap isn't likely to go over well. The importance of mistake-free and turnover-free football is not to be understated with the Dolphins coaching staff. Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post alluded to that when it was originally reported that Tannehill would be the No. 3 quarterback:
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.
Tannehill is taking the competition seriously, according to the Dolphins' official website:
I want to be the guy. You don't want to be a backup. It's not a goal to be a backup so I want to play. I want to get in there and the more reps I can get with the 1s, I feel like that's more like a game situation. I need to learn from the mistakes I made today in practice and I think that going out there is a good thing. It's exciting. I love to go with the 1s and the competition.
Nine reps with the first-team offense in practice is a lot different than starting Week 1 against the Houston Texans, but Tannehill had to get started somewhere.
The only way he's going to finish where he wants is if he maximizes those reps in practice and proves that he's making progress toward mistake-free football.
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