The Dolphins have a new coaching staff, led by Joe Philbin, which means that while Matt Moore’s end-of-season stats won’t be ignored, there certainly doesn’t appear to be a strong obligation to return the starting quarterback job to Moore. He will have to earn it.
The way we hear it, in spring practices, David Garrard had the edge, which is due in part to Moore continuing a trend of not being a great practice player. Garrard, we hear, was steady in practice, and he does have experience with a West Coast system.
It is all but determined that first-round pick Ryan Tannehill will begin the season on the bench, which was confirmed by some of his reported struggles with the speed of the game during minicamp. The ideal situation for Miami, though, is to avoid rushing him onto the field.
The Moore-Garrard battle will be monitored closely in training camp, and followed by NFL fans around the country because of HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” Reports indicate Philbin is in no rush to name a starter, which will make preseason game performances crucial to the coaching staff's decision-making process.
As well as Garrard looks in practice, he didn’t "wow" anyone last preseason in Jacksonville, losing the starting job to Blaine Gabbert. Garrard completed 50 percent of his passes in three preseason games. Some of that should be attributed to his back injury, but Garrard will need to show this preseason the signalcaller we saw in the '10 regular season, when he threw for 23 touchdowns.
Moore, who had games last season with passer ratings of 147.5, 133.3 and 122.3, was also effective in the preseason, when he entered as the clear No. 2 to Chad Henne. Moore completed 61.8 percent of his passes (which is above his career average) and tossed three touchdown passes. The Miami brass went with Henne to start the season, but Moore made things interesting. If Moore’s performance on the practice field remains a rung below that of Garrard, he will need to prove himself in preseason games to regain his starting job.
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