This could be the week the Dolphins decide on their starting quarterback. Unless they don’t.
That was basically the answer Joe Philbin gave when asked about the latest on his quarterback derby, now entering its fifth week of competition.
“It could be,” Philbin said, when asked if he would decide in the coming days whether Ryan Tannehill or Matt Moore will start Week 1 at Houston. David Garrard
“We’re in a process right now,” Philbin added. “We may have a decision soon, or we may play it out another week. We certainly haven’t come to any decision on that right now.”
Tannehill started Friday’s preseason loss at Carolina, completing 11 of 23 passes for 100 yards. Through two games, he is statistically ahead of Moore in terms of efficiency and yards per pass.
But neither quarterback has been able to consistently pick up big chunks of yardage. That’s forced the Dolphins to grind out the type of 15-play, 71-yard drives like they had Friday night — which has been for the only touchdown the first-team offense has scored thus far.
“Do we have to be better? Yeah,” Philbin said. “Were there some accuracy issues? Sure. Was there a time or two our quarterbacks could have stepped up to avoid pressure? Absolutely. But they did do some good things.”
For the most part, the Dolphins treated the first two preseason games the same way they did their scrimmage: the week before was more about scheme installation than game preparation.
That will change this week, Philbin said. The third exhibition game is often used as a true dress rehearsal for the regular season, and the Dolphins will be no different.
After getting Saturday off, they watched the Panthers game film Sunday before focusing on the Falcons.
“We’re going to go through a typical game week for the most part,” Philbin said. “We’re certainly going to do more game-planning this week than we did the first two, there’s no question about that.”
While this week’s practices are closed to the public, the Dolphins are allowing the media to view Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday Tony Sparano’s.
Rookie tackle Jonathan Martin has taken a bit of a beating publicly after he was flagged for holding, a false start and allowed two sacks against the Panthers.
But Philbin defended his young lineman Sunday afternoon. On one of the sacks he allowed, Tannehill could have stepped up to avoid the pressure, Philbin said.
“I don’t think anybody makes that kind of transition without a couple of bumps in the road,” Philbin said. “I think the big thing will be to see how he plays this week.”
No argument here
Sean Smith’s interception Friday night, negated by a pass interference call, “looked like a good play,” Philbin said, although he didn’t take the officiating to task for the decision.
“You’re not going to get every single call,” Philbin said. “He threw the flag and there’s nothing to whine about. You’re not going to win that argument anyway.”
OG Eric Steinbach (knee) returned to practice after missing Friday’s game. QB David Garrard (knee), DT Tony McDaniel (leg) and T Lyndon Murtha (undisclosed) were absent.