Remember when Joe Philbin, faced with a rebuilding year, staunchly refused to admit the Dolphins were rebuilding?
We all expected it to be a rebuilding season and knew for certain it was coming when rookie Ryan Tannehill won the starting job in the preseason. Let's face it, many rookies need time to acclimate and grow into the quarterback position in the NFL.
(Well, maybe not Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson but you get the idea).
The point is Tannehill has so far proven one thing this year and it is not that he's a future franchise quarterback. He's proven what everyone said before the draft was right. He's raw, he's inexperienced, he's a project.
The proof of this is not so much how Tannehill compares to the other rookie quarterbacks within his own draft class. It is how he compares with the veteran who played with basically the same cast of talent in Miami last year.
The proof is how Tannehill compares to what Matt Moore did with the practically same offensive group last year. And this is the perfect time for that comparison because Tannehill has started 12 games for the Dolphins. And Moore started 12 games for the Dolphins in 2011.
Tannehill has completed 210 of 363 passes (57.9 completion percentage) for 2,559 yards. He has thrown seven TDs and 12 INTs. His quarterback rating is 72.3. The Dolphins are 5-7.
Moore in the same number of 2011 games completed 193 of 321 passes (60.1 percent) for 2,330 yards. He threw 16 TDs and 8 INTs. His quarterback rating was 88.7. The Dolphins were 6-6.
The comparison is valid now because obviously the number of games between both players is equal. But the point is not necessarily that Moore was better.
The point is the Dolphins this year have taken a step backward in quarterback performance. Moore delivered better QB play than Tannehill but still was not deemed good enough because Miami drafted a quarterback in the first round and signed another accomplished veteran in David Garrard.
But now the Dolphins are accepting worse quarterback play with the expectation that today's pain will lead to tomorrow's gain. No one is saying that Tannehill should be benched -- even Philbin this week admitted he's not considered it at all this season.
And no is is suggesting the Dolphins will need to look for another (better) quarterback in the draft next year -- no one is saying it yet, anyway.
Because this is a rebuilding year. Tannehill is getting something of a pass this year.
Even if Philbin didn't want to admit it early on.