In the spring, the Miami Dolphins all but buried Ryan Tannehill on the depth chart, putting him in third place behind David Garrard and Matt Moore. That might have been a little premature, or maybe it was just a motivational tactic. Regardless, the rookie quarterback made a very good case for himself in Friday night's preseason debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tannehill completed 14-of-31 attempts for 167 yards and a touchdown. It looked like he might have had another touchdown, but the pass to Roberto Wallace was overturned. The highlight of his night came in the third quarter on a 70-yard drive that ended with an arrow over the middle to Charles Clay, the fullback, for an 11-yard touchdown.
The first-round pick did most of his work against backups. As with all preseason exuberance, take it with a health dose of perspective. Nevertheless, it was a natural progression forward in Tannehill's favor after a solid start to training camp.
With Garrard sidelined because of a knee scope, Tannehill will battle with Moore for the starting gig. Moore's night was a little rougher than his backup. He completed 7-of-12 passes for 79 yards and an interception.
The Phinsider, SB Nation's Miami Dolphins blog, had this to say about the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft:
Tannehill, after shaking off the nerves in his firs three-and-out drive, looked strong, with good anticipation. He clearly controlled the offense, and was able to fully go through his progressions, on more than one occasion hitting the third or fourth option on the play.
On the lone Miami score of the night, Tannehill showed great anticipation, putting the ball out ahead of Charles Clay on a crossing pattern, letting Clay turn into the endzone with the ball.
The Dolphins travel to Carolina next Friday for their second preseason game.