With David Garrard out of the Picture, Dolphins Should Start Ryan Tannehill

Aaron NaglerNFL National Lead WriterAugust 10, 2012

DAVIE, FL - MAY 4: Ryan Tannehill #17 takes a snap from Terrence Brown #60 of the Miami Dolphins during the rookie minicamp on May 4, 2012 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

New Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin had indicated prior to the start of training camp that the team's main three quarterbacks, longtime Jaguars starter David Garrard, who missed all of last year with a back injury, last year's Dolphins starter Matt Moore and rookie first-round draft choice Ryan Tannehill would each be given a shot at earning the right to be named the Week 1 starter against Houston.

So much for that idea. 

Garrard confirmed reports that surfaced this afternoon that he needs arthroscopic knee surgery and will most likely miss two-to-four weeks while recovering. 

Not only does this blow up Philbin's plan to have his three quarterbacks compete for the starting job, but it should end the competition entirely. Quarterback competitions are bad enough (it tends to mean you don't have a quarterback), but three-way quarterback competitions are the worst

I know Philbin has introduced some new practice methods, which were illustrated in this week's debut episode of Hard Knocks, that enable him to run nearly twice as many offensive plays than your average NFL team does in a typical NFL practice. Even so, splitting first team reps between three quarterbacks, all of whom are trying to learn a new offense, doesn't benefit anyone. 

What would benefit the Dolphins the most as an organization is to name Tannehill the starter and get him ready for the opener. The team invested a Top 10 draft pick and a substantial amount of money in Tannehill to be their quarterback. Matt Moore played surprisingly well down the stretch last year, but that was in an entirely different offense.

All starting Moore over Tannehill does is delay the inevitable passing of the torch. This team has talent, but will take time to gel under Philbin and coordinators Mike Sherman and Kevin Coyle. 

The best thing for the Dolphins to do is to make their quarterback of the future the quarterback of the moment, growing the offense along with him. Make Reggie Bush and Lamar Miller his best friends, and give him the on-the-job training that should pay off big-time down the road.