Armando Salguero

Two NFL teams with QB questions: One supports incumbent, the other is the Miami Dolphins

The NFL Combine is underway in Indianapolis and the kickoff act Wednesday was two simultaneous press conferences -- one by new Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores and the other by new Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock.

This makes sense because the Raiders and the Dolphins seem very similar. Both are trying to build something. Both have a lot of problems. Both are facing much uncertainty.

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And both have significant questions at quarterback

But here’s a major difference:

Although the Raiders and Dolphins both entered today’s media sessions with questions at the most important position on the team, one come away with an answer.

The other is the Dolphins.

In Oakland, you should know, there’s been much speculation about drafting Kyler Murray or some other quarterback in the first round because Derek Carr has been inconsistent and hasn’t really won anything over his five seasons. His team has a 32-46 record with Carr as a starter.

But the Raiders are apparently committing to Carr.

“I think Derek Carr is a franchise QB,” Mayock said. “I think it’d be difficult [in the draft] to improve over the QB we have in the building.”

Flores, meanwhile, was asked about Tannehill.

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Tannehill, you know, has also been inconsistent. He’s been with the team seven seasons, playing six of them after missing all of 2017 with a knee injury. And Miami’s record with Tannehill as the starter is 42-46.

But Flores wasn’t nearly as glowing about Tannehill as Mayock was about Carr.

“Everything’s on the table,” Flores said regarding Tannehill.

The coach said the evaluation process of the players on Miami’s roster continues and that includes Tannehill.

“We haven’t made any final decisions,” he said.

And obviously Flores is dodging, but in doing so it marks the umpteenth time this offseason the Dolphins have shown no commitment for Tannehill.

Indeed, Flores talked in his presser about what it would be like having a rookie quarterback playing for Miami in 2019.

“If that’s the situation, that’s the situation,” he said.

There’s a big difference between how Flores and Adam Gase addressed Tannehill’s status when they first arrived. Gase dove aboard the Tannehill bandwagon and off he went to build up and support the quarterback.

Flores is looking at that bandwagon and shrugging indifference.


Well, we know Gase committed to Tannehill. And we know neither the Dolphins as an organization nor Flores, now that he’s been the coach the past few weeks, are committed to Tannehill.

The cynics out there are going to argue Flores left open the possibility of bringing Tannehill back. And he did. But that’s a false narrative because one thing all NFL teams do is support the players that are in their plans -- the ones they deem necessary for their own success.

A lack of outward support is a sign as much as a show of support is a sign. The latter is a sign the player is in the coach or general manager’s plan.

Mayock gave that sign for Derek Carr on Wednesday. Carr is in Oakland’s plans.

Miami GM Chris Grier said Wednesday Xavien Howard is in the team’s plans. He said the Pro Bowl cornerback will be on the roster although the player wants to be paid more than any other cornerback in the NFL.

He wasn’t quite so adamant about Tannehill.

“We had a really good talk last weekend trying to figure it out,” Grier said of the Tannehill situation. “The coaches have done a really good job – coach [Chad] O’Shea has been really good with coach [Jim] Caldwell, talking to Brian and I. We’re getting there, and once we make a decision organizational-wise, we’ll move forward.”

Definitive support? Not really.

Tannehill is not in Miami’s plans.

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Armando Salguero has covered the Miami Dolphins and the NFL since 1990, so longer than many players on the current roster have been alive and since many coaches on the team were in middle school. He was a 2016 APSE Top 3 columnist nationwide. He is one of 48 Pro Football Hall of Fame voters. He is an Associated Press All-Pro and awards voter. He’s covered Dolphins games in London, Berlin, Mexico City and Tokyo. He has covered 25 Super Bowls, the NBA Finals, and the Olympics.