I told you several days ago not to be surprised if Ryan Tannehill starts Friday's preseason game at Carolina. I told you in a post earlier today that Tannehill was the best of the three quarterbacks in the two-minute drill today.
So the stage is set for tomorrow's practice, which will be the last one of training camp, to see the Tannehill versus Matt Moore competition for Friday's starting job.
Coach Joe Philbin today explained why starting Tannehill at some point this preseason makes sense:
“It would give him a chance to work with the first group in a game situation against better competition, and I think that would be good," Philbin said. "Our plan all along was at some point in time, whether it be this week, next week or the week after, our plan all along was to let all three of those guys have some opportunities. That’s kind of what our thought was, so if it happens this week; obviously we have one more day of practice so we’ll take a good look at it.
"Obviously we haven’t sat down yet today but we’ll start that in a few minutes, but we’ll just evaluate this week. He’s going to play a lot, Matt’s (Moore) going to play a lot, and Pat (Devlin) will probably play some, we have three guys. We’ll take it from there.”
Moore and Tannehill talked to reporters today. Here is what they said:
Quarterback Matt Moore
(On his reaction to wide receiver Chad Johnson being released) –“I don’t know. I don’t think I can speak much on it. I knew it was a possibility. It’s up to the organization and Coach (Joe) Philbin and they handled it the way they saw fit.”
(On the competition between wide receivers Roberto Wallace and Marlon Moore) – “It’s good. Those guys are working their tails off. Each making plays when they get the opportunities and trying to showcase their talents. It’s been fun to watch. (They are) both talented guys and it’ll be interesting to see how that kind of shakes out.”
(On the cohesiveness of the offensive line) – “Yeah, they’ve done well, just with the new offense and everything. They’ve done really well. They are such a tight group anyways. It’s kind of one of those things (where) one guy goes down and another guy step right in and we don’t miss a beat. They’ve done a good job in the room.”
(On when he expects to hear if he will start on Friday against the Carolina Panthers) – “I don’t know.”
(On if the announcement of whether he will be starting against the Panthers affects his preparation for the game) – “No, not at all. It’s one of those things, just be ready. I’m like a reliever. They need me; I’ll come in and play.”
(On if he’s interested in seeing what quarterback Ryan Tannehill will do against the starters) –“Football’s football. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing against. He’s got to go out and produce regardless."
(On if being a veteran helps him have a leg up to be a starter based on coach Philbin’s statement that he will start the best person for a game on that day) –“Maybe. I don’t know. These are interesting questions. Yeah, because I’ve had the experience, maybe, but I don’t feel that way. I mean he’s going to do what’s best for the team, who’s going to give us the best chance to win like he said in any given game and that guy will play.”
(On how it has helped him get extra reps in practice with quarterback David Garrard being injured)– “Yeah, the reps are good. You want to see and prepare in this offense as much as you can. You want to see as many defenses as you can. Our defense is definitely throwing a lot at us, but we miss David, but you love getting the opportunities for more throws and more opportunities to do well.”
(On Garrard’s health and how he’s handling things)– “He’s doing good. He’s obviously a little bummed out, but he’s doing everything he can, just rehab wise and he’s a professional, I’m sure he’ll handle it the best way.”
And after Moore was done speaking, Tannehill talked to a huddle of reporters:
(On Joe Philbin saying that he will start the quarterback in the first regular season game based on who gives the team the best chance to win on that day) –“I don’t know. It’s not up to me to decide, but I’m just going to go out here every day (and) try to do the things I can do to make this team better. (I) try to improve my game as much as I can every day and, hopefully, when it comes that time, I’m that guy. I want this team to win, so if I’m not the best guy at that time, I want this team to win.”
(On if he has been told what his role on Friday against the Carolina Panthers) – “No, I have not. I’m just coming out here every day like I said. Just working to get better, try to take advantage of these preseason games. When you get in, get your reps, try to take advantage of them. Don’t know exactly when they’re going to come, but just want to take advantage of them when they come.”
(On if he thinks starting the game will give him a better opportunity to show what he can do) – “I just try to take advantage of those reps. If I get one reps in practice, try to make the most of it. You get the better looks from the one defense, tougher looks. So if I get the one reps in the game, then I’ll try to take advantage of them. It’s a balancing act. Coach Philbin wants all the QBs to get some one reps. Whenever my time comes, just got to take advantage of it.”
(On if he feels like he has improved since the start of training camp) – “I dang sure hope so. It’s a waste of time if I haven’t improved. I feel like I’ve gotten better every day. Still making mistakes, yes, but I feel like I’m learning form my mistakes, getting a better handle, more comfortable with the guys being able to move the ball down the field. Try to get a little bit better every day in every aspect of the game and, to answer your question, yes, I think I’ve improved a little bit.”
(On how comfortable he is checking out of plays at the line of scrimmage) – “I’m pretty comfortable. That’s a big part of our offense is being able to get into a good play at the line. See a lot of looks in this league from defenses. You want to be able to get into a good look. Sometimes, you are not going to have the best play called for what they come out in, so got to be able to get in a good look and there’s also some instances you have to live with it. You’ve got to call a play fast, play with tempo and run the play that’s called.”
(On how impressed he is with the offensive line) –“They’ve done a great job. I don’t think I had too much pressure today in practice at all. I was able to really sit in the pocket, make some throws, get to some late progressions, third progressions. I feel like they’ve done a great job. They’re getting better. I think Jonathan Martin has really improved throughout camp. He seems to be getting more comfortable within the right side with his sets. It’s a great unit and I think they’re getting better.”
(On if he feels he gets overconfident at times)– “I’m confident, but I don’t want to be overconfident. That can be a bad thing for a quarterback. You start forcing balls, trusting your arm too much and you’re not really able to fit it into that window and you try too. It’s something where you really have to know yourself, be honest with yourself and know when you can get the ball in there and when you can’t.”
(On what quarterback Matt Moore is like as a person that he’s going up against every day in practice)– “Matt’s a fun guy. I enjoy coming to meetings. I enjoy practicing with him. He’s a good guy. He helps me out. I try to help him out. I said all along it’s a great competition. Even with Dave (Garrard) in there, we’re all trying to help each other out. We’ll all have fun in our meetings. We try to learn, soak up all the information we can, but have fun with it. It’s a long season. It’s a long camp, so got to have a little bit of fun in there. We try to laugh a little bit in our room and laugh on the field. Matt’s a great guy. Pat (Devlin) as well. We have a great room.”
(On being nicknamed “The People’s Choice”)– “The people’s choice? I don’t know about that. That’s not what I say.”
(On if he’s going to watch Hard Knocks tonight)– “I probably won’t. I didn’t really watch it last week, so I probably won’t watch it tonight.”