Miami Dolphins: Could Ryan Tannehill Be the Long-Term Answer at QB?

Everett KellyContributor IIISeptember 5, 2012

The Miami Dolphins hope Ryan Tannehill can repeat the recent success of first-year QB and lead them to the postseason.
The Miami Dolphins hope Ryan Tannehill can repeat the recent success of first-year QB and lead them to the postseason.Al Bello/Getty Images

If you are a Miami Dolphins fan, you have seen the names come and go since the great Hall of Fame QB Dan Marino retired after the 1999 season.

Jay Fielder got the first chance, beating out Damon Huard, then Ray Lucas filled in for a little while. Brian Griese and A.J. Feeley got their chance. So did Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington and even Sage Rosenfels and Cleo Lemon. Daunte Culpepper, Trent Green, Chad Pennington and Chad Henne each started a season opener, yet no one has been able to hold the job.

When Ryan Tannehill takes center this Sunday, he will become the 17th different QB to start a game since the great Marino retired. Not since Jay Fielder led the Dolphins to a 23-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2000 Wild Card round has a QB led them to a postseason win. Fielder also leads the group in most starts (59), TD passes (66) and INT (63).

When training camp opened, Tannehill still had yet to report to Dolphins camp. However, after he was signed and delivered, Tannehill clearly separated himself from the group, but also got a break when then starter David Garrard injured his knee in a freaky accident.


Most different starting QBs—since start of 2000 season

Miami Dolphins           16>>

Chicago Bears            16

Cleveland Browns          15

>>Ryan Tannehill will be the 17th

Source: ESPN Stats and Info

While Tannehill didn't light up the opposition this preseason (52.6 completion percentage, 5.3 YPA, with a TD and INT), he certainly was better than last season's starter Matt Moore (39.2 completion percentage, 0 TD, 2 INT). Although Pat Devlin impressed coach Joe Philbin and played well, he never had a shot at being the starter.


Dolphins QB leaders since Dan Marino's retirement

Most starts

Jay Fielder  59

Chad Henne 31

Chad Pennington 20

Most TD  

Jay Fiedler 66

Chad Henne 31

Chad Pennington 20

Most Yards  

Jay Fiedler 11,040

Chad Henne 7,114

Chad Pennington  4,085


Tannehill will be the eighth different rookie to start for the Dolphins in their history, and the first to ever start the season behind center. Of the previous seven, only Dan Marino (7-2) and David Woodley (6-5) finished with a winning record in their rookie season.

While it used to be a given that rookie QBs should start their season on the bench, things have changed in the NFL over the past few years. QB such as Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton have started their rookie season behind center and led their teams to the playoffs.

Dolphins fans hope Tannehill can repeat that success.