Three Things on Ryan Tannehill's young career going into overdrive:
Thing 1: Can't say I'm all that surprised Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin named Tannehill the team's starting quarterback today.
Matt Moore has looked terrible in practice and not much better in games. What Moore did last year as MVP of a 6-10 team didn't carry nearly as much weight with Philbin as it might have had Tony Sparano been retained.
David Garrard's freak injury opened the door for this. Plus, the whole Mike Sherman-Zac Taylor dynamic in the offensive meeting room really tilted things in Tannehill's favor from the start, no matter what anybody might say publicly.
In a decision that Philbin called "close," Moore simply didn't have enough advocates left that actually had a vote.
Thing 2: If Tannehill stays healthy the next two weeks and makes it to Week 1 as the starter, he won't just become the first Dolphins rookie quarterback to make that claim.
He will join a burgeoning trend of NFL rookie quarterbacks who completely bypassed the clipboard-and-ballcap stage that traditionally comes with the job.
"That really wasn’t part of the decision," Philbin said when I asked him about that recent trend. "I know the history. Some guys as rookies have started and played very well and some haven’t. This was a decision for the 2012 Miami Dolphins, the players that were competing for this position, the situation as it is at the present time. Really nothing more than that."
So he didn't take any encouragement from all those successful rookie QBs in recent years?
"Not necessarily," Philbin said. "Every quarterback situation is different. Every team is different. I don’t know if it’s apples to apples. Certainly there have been some rookie quarterbacks that have gone in and played very well. And there have been others that haven’t."
The Dolphins, obviously, are praying Tannehill falls into the former group.
Thing 3: Biggest reason not to start Tannehill?
How about the right side of that Dolphins offensive line?
Right tackle Jonathan Martin looked lost the other night in Charlotte, and veteran Artis Hicks, who hasn't been much better, sat out Monday's practice with an undisclosed injury. That left former third-round disappointment John Jerry, bigger than I've ever seen him, to take first-team snaps at right guard.
If the Dolphins don't get the right side of their line fixed and fixed fast -- how about moving veteran Eric Steinbach over from left guard? -- they risk scarring their young franchise quarterback.