After the Miami Dolphins were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday, there was a vocal group of fans on social media who made the case that a quarterback competition should ensue next season when the team begins preparations for the 2017 season.
Stated simply those fans want Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore given an equal chance to compete for the starting job next season.
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And to make their case, they point to Moore’s performance during his run as the starter in 2016-17 while Tannehill was nursing a partially torn ACL and MCL in his left knee.
Moore led the Dolphins to three victories and two losses in his five games of work. He threw eight TD passes with three interceptions and had a quarterback rating of 105.6 in the regular season. He threw one TD and one interception with a quarterback rating of 97.8 and a completion percentage of 80.6 in the playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This compares favorably to the statistics Tannehill put up in his first year under coach Adam Gase’s new offensive system. Tannehill finished the year with 19 TD passes and 12 interception, a career-high completion percentage of 67.1 and a career high quarterback rating of 93.5.
So I understand why fans, many of whom have never warmed to Tannehill, might want a competition.
I took the issue to sources within the team in recent days. And although coach Adam Gase will have the final say on the matter, the consensus answer I got is that there absolutely, positively will not be a quarterback competition next year.
Ryan Tannehill remains the starting quarterback.
Matt Moore will remain the backup.
The public answer to this issue will likely come later Wednesday when the Dolphins hold their end-of-season press conference with Gase, executive vice president Mike Tannenbaum and general manager Chris Grier.
It makes sense to ask the question if for no other reason than to set the record straight. (Although I think I’ve already given the answer ahead of the presser).
And here is the reason there will be no QB competition for the Dolphins:
The coaching staff does not want any fracture within the quarterback room, within the locker room, or in Tannehill’s head.
The team is very happy that both Tannehill and Moore recognize and embrace their roles and their lanes are well defined -- that being that when Tannehill is healthy he plays and when he’s not, the team belongs to Moore.
The Dolphins also want there to be no questions in Tannehill’s head that he has the full support of the organization -- something that was lacking under former coach Joe Philbin. The organization wants Tannehill to know his status has not changed after Arizona’s Calais Campbell crashed into his knee Dec. 11, sending him to the sidelines for the remainder of the season and the playoff game.
On other matters, the Dolphins’ leadership trio will be asked multiple questions about the roster but the answers will almost definitely come with a caveat.
The Dolphins coaching staff, you see, is off right now. They have been given time off to rest and gather themselves following the playoff loss. And so end-of-season evaluations have not been done to this point.
The reason those evaluations were not hurried is because the Dolphins don’t want coaches writing evaluations while a bitter loss in Pittsburgh is still fresh on their minds. Coaches might tend to be more focused on what just happened rather than focus on the overall picture of the season.
Said another way: The Dolphins don’t want to evaluate Kiko Alonso or Ndamukong Suh, for example, on the last three games they played in which the defense was plowed aside like fresh fallen snow and forget about the 13 games before that when both played very well.
Evaluations must be complete rather than tainted by recent failure (or success, however the case may be).
This is not an orthodox way of doing things, by the way. Often times coaching staffs write their evaluations immediately after the season ends and then get time off. Credit Gase for changing course on this one.
One assistant who won’t be writing any evaluations is defensive assistant Jim Washburn. The Miami Herald has learned he cleared out his office on Monday and hasn’t been seen since. He didn’t say what he was doing but the club believes he may intend to retire.
Washburn told Sports Illustrated he had attended his last team meeting two weeks ago, suggesting he was retiring. Of course, after he said that, Washburn kept working for two more weeks, including attending team meetings.