Breaking Down the Advantages of Starting Matt Moore over Ryan Tannehill in Miami

Ryan PhillipsContributor IIIAugust 16, 2012

Aug. 4, 2012;  Miami, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback's Matt Moore (left) and Ryan Tannehill (right) talk during a scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

With David Garrard out for a few weeks with a knee injury, the Miami Dolphins' quarterback battle will likely come down to Matt Moore or rookie Ryan Tannehill. While Tannehill is certainly the franchise's quarterback of the future, he isn't ready and the team would be best served by starting Moore this season. 

In 2011, Moore started 13 games for the Dolphins. In that time he completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,497 yards, with 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His quarterback rating was an average 87.1 for the season. 

While those numbers won't set the world on fire, Moore was solid and provided steady leadership for an offense that relied heavily on running backs Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas to get things done. Bush and Thomas combined to rush for 1,667 yards on 381 carries (4.38 yards per carry) while scoring six touchdowns. Bush also caught 43 passes for 296 yards and another score.

Whoever is under center for the Dolphins will likely be handing the ball off a lot again in 2012, as the team's receiving corps isn't exactly stellar. With Chad Johnson now cut, the team will rely on Legedu Naanee, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline to get things done on the perimeter.

Tannehill has all the tools you could want in a franchise quarterback. He has the size (6'4" and 222 pounds), arm strength, smarts and mobility to be a fantastic signal-caller down the road. What he lacks is experience at the position. Until his final year-and-a-half in college, Tannehill was Texas A&M's top receiver. He moved under center midway through his junior year. 

In that time Tannehill made great strides as a quarterback, but at this point he's not ready for a full-time gig at the NFL level. The Dolphins would be best served having him sit behind Moore and learn for a year.

The rookie looked good in his first preseason action. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 167 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions. Those numbers look great, but it was one preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' second and third-team defense. 

If Miami wants to win games this season, having Moore under center is the way to go. He has plenty of experience at the position (35 NFL games) and has proven he can be a solid quarterback. Sure, he won't light the world on fire, but he won't hurt the team either. For now, he's Miami's best option.