Why Ryan Tannehill's First Preseason Game Does Not Mean He Is Ready to Start

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIAugust 14, 2012

August 10, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA;   Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass during the second half of the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Sun Life Stadium. Tampa Bay won the game 20-7.  Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-US PRESSWIRE

When the Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill with the No. 8 pick in the 2012 NFL draft, they hoped they were getting a franchise-type quarterback. While Tannehill had a nice debut last Friday, that does not mean he's ready to take over as the team's starting signal-caller. 

With David Garrard out for a few weeks (via Jay Glazer) thanks to a knee injury, returning starter Matt Moore and Tannehill are the two men left standing in the team's quarterback derby. But the Dolphins should do the right thing and continue to have Moore run things while Tannehill learns the ropes. 

Last Friday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tannehill came in and completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. It was a solid performance, and he looked better than advertised. That doesn't mean he's ready to become the team's starter under center. 

Tannehill was going up against a weak Buccaneers defense that was sporting the bottom of its depth chart. 

I'm not a huge fan of Moore, and he certainly doesn't have the upside of Tannehill, but he was solid in 2011. Moore completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions last year. He finished the season with a quarterback rating of 87.1 and was generally solid. 

If the Dolphins want to win games this year, Moore needs to be the guy under center. If they just want to focus on developing Tannehill, then obviously the rookie should start. But he's not ready to do so.

Last season, the Jacksonville Jaguars started rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert before he was ready. That didn't turn out well, as Gabbert turned in one of the worst statistical seasons in NFL history. It's not hard imagining Tannehill producing similar results this season.

If the Dolphins want to do what's best for the organization, they will sit Tannehill for the entire 2012 season and let him learn how to be a professional quarterback. He's simply not ready to face top-tier NFL competition yet.