Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Aug 2012

Locker, Tannehill Named Starters

Two quarterback competitions are over. The Dolphins will eschew Matt Moore (and David Garrard) and go with first-round pick Ryan Tannehill, while the Titans have chosen former eighth overall pick Jake Locker over incumbent Matt Hasselbeck.

We're working on KUBIAK updates for these moves, and we should be finished tweaking it in the near future.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 20 Aug 2012

22 comments, Last at 29 Aug 2012, 10:37am by Noah Arkadia


by Theo :: Mon, 08/20/2012 - 5:45pm

What cannot be eschewed must be embraced.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 08/20/2012 - 7:20pm

Sure, but I think the main point, as far as the Dolphins are concerned, is that Tanny has outperformed Moore at almost every opportunity. He looks like the better QB right now, as opposed to only the QB with more potential.

Which is both very surprising and very encouraging. Even so, the offense has looked bad: the line has looked bad, the RBs have looked bad, the WRs have looked bad. Who would've thought at this point the rookie QB would be the lone bright spot in the offense.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by johonny (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2012 - 11:17pm

I agree he sort of won by default. One guy got hurt, the other guy didn't perform. It's only been 2 preseason games but man my expectations on the Dolphins season are really, really low. The teams offense hasn't been good, but has out played the defense. It is depressing.

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 9:26am

He really hasn't looked too bad. The biggest negative I see from him is WAY too many tipped balls at the line. He needs to move around in the pocket more to create lanes so that won't happen.

The rest of the team has been outright horrible. Dropped passes to open guys. Terrible run AND pass blocking. Not being able to stop the run. No pass rush. A complete inability to cover WR/TE/RBs coming across the middle. This team is worse than last year FOR SURE.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by floressalicis :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 1:43pm

But on the bright side, with his experience at WR, at least he can throw the ball and catch it, unlike a certain other QB in your division...

by Jericho (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 3:56pm

With this roster, you can be assured Jeff Ireland is toast at the end of the season. The only question is who will end up with the #1 pick, Miami or someone else?

by FrontRunningPhinsFan :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 4:39pm

No way Miami ends up with the #1 overall pick. If they got it Ireland would trade it away. For something like a later 1st round pick and a ham sandwich.

He'd tell everyone they'd get who they targeted all along and the ham sandwich is just a bonus that adds great flavor to the locker room.

Fire Jeff Ireland.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 5:49pm

I think Arizona are going to battle hard for that honour. I can't really see anyone else challenging those two, but someone's bound to come from nowhere.

by tuluse :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 6:01pm

I could see any of: the Rams, Vikings, Jaguars, Browns or Colts "competing" for the #1 pick.

With the Redskins, Raiders, and Chiefs as darkhorse oh crap everything went wrong candidates.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 08/23/2012 - 6:31am

I don't hate the Raiders as a dark horse pick. The others, though . . . not saying it's impossible, of course, but the Rams had such a horrific injury situation last year they almost have to improve, especially with Fisher in charge, the Colts have had a massive QB upgrade, Gabbert seems to have taken a big step forward and also now has an actual receiver to throw to . . .

I don't expect any of those teams (except maybe one of the Raiders or Chiefs if everything breaks right for them) to be in any way good. I just struggle to see them being as bad as I expect the Cardinals and Dolphins to be.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 3:27pm

Given both players' running ability, this is probably good news in fantasy terms for their running backs, no?

I have no idea whether Tannehill will succeed in the NFL in the long run, but I don't like his chances of being an effective starter this year. Locker is probably the better player right now, but I have real doubts as to whether he'll ever be accurate enough to be an upper tier NFL QB.

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 7:45am

Think titans have playoff typrbofbtesmb but qb situation weird
If Locker drink then team have to go back to Haselebeck and then locker room gets messed up and then what happen in 2013. So locker better be good.
Nut if start Hasselbexk and he stibk then go easily go to Lockerand it energize team when happen.

In other words, team have to stay with Locker now. Hasselebcl only for emergency start or two if locker get injured
Then hasselbexk with new team in 2013.

by justanothersteve :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 12:57pm

Hasselbeck is under contract through next year. But at $5.5M this year and next, I'm not sure if the Titans will keep him beyond this year if they like Locker. Since a few teams may only need a QB to be competitive (Arizona?), a 37 year old Hasselbeck may be their best short term option.

by t.d. :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 9:25am

Having watched Gabbert take a beating last season (and having seen Garrard work miracles with the same lousy roster for a couple years before that), I'd have been inclined to let Tannehill learn on the bench. Then again, Gabbert didn't have Jake Long protecting his blind side last year, and, awful as he was, it doesn't seem to have ruined him the way I was afraid it would (I'd bet he's better this year than Locker is, even though Tennessee is loaded at the skill positions)

by duh :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 1:35pm

Regarding Gabbert, I agree he's looked much, MUCH better so far in the preseason in the parts of the games I saw. At least he wasn't falling backwards on every throw like he was by the end of last year.

by Lance :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 1:17pm

Wow-- how good was Big XII quarterback play last year if three rookies from the conference are starting?

by jackiel :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 6:13pm

Tannehill was about an average QB in the Big XII last year. I think any rational observer would have taken RG3, Jones, and Weeden over him last year. Most people would have taken Klein of KSU over him as well. Luck played in the Pac-12.

Honestly, I really don’t know why people make decisions off a 2-3 preseason game sample size. It seems to me that Miami’s new coaching staff just wants their guy in there, regardless of the fact that Moore led that mediocre team to 6 wins last year in a tough division even though he only got the job in midseason. Unless Moore looks totally crappy in practice, this looks like the type of reactionary move the Dolphins have been making for years. But hey, it likely ensures that Philbin’s tenure will be a short one, because it is doubtful that someone with Tannehill’s low number of college reps will excel quickly in the NFL.

On the Locker move, not a huge deal. Hasselback is a slightly above average level player at this stage in his career. Locker can’t be much worse. I like the move’s upside.

by Lance :: Wed, 08/22/2012 - 12:36pm

I'm aware of where Luck played. But there are now 3 starting rookie QBs who played in the Big XII last year. I don't know how common that is, but my gut says that starting rookie QBs in general aren't common. Thus, having 3 from one conference seems to be a particularly rare event. And you can say that Tannehill was "about average" and that's fine. I watched exactly one game of his, and haven't bothered to look at his stats. That's not the point. Instead, the point is that someone looked at enough film and conducted interviews and figured this guy was better than conventional wisdom suggested.

Re preseason games: as you indicated, it's more than just games played. There is practice, and there are team meetings. If one guy can demonstrate in meetings that he has a better grasp of the protection schemes, the defensive alignment, hot reads, etc., there may be reasons to pick him over the other guy. Who knows.

by jackiel :: Fri, 08/24/2012 - 3:05am

I see 3 rookie QBs from one conference starting as either an abnormally good crop of QBs or a couple of teams made evaluative misktakes. I lean toward the latter - especially because of the current schematic advantages Big XII offenses have over Big XII defenses.

I'm curious though. Since he's playing for his college coach, Tannehill has much more familiarity with Miami's scheme than Moore does. I expect that Tannehill would stand out in meetings and during the early stages of camp while the new guys get up to speed.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/29/2012 - 10:37am

2-3 preseason games IS a small sample size, but that's what you get when trying to decide on a starting QB in this league. The Dolphins were hell bent on keeping Tannehill on the bench for a while, but believe it or not, he simply has been the better player. He just doesn't look like a rookie. His numbers may look like a rookie's, but you've got the abysmal play of the rest of the offense contributing heavily to that.

We posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 08/21/2012 - 2:12pm

Gabbert! Locker! Luck! AFC South; feel the QB excitement!

by tomdrees :: Tue, 08/28/2012 - 1:52pm

Schaub! (Pause) Yates!