When the Miami Dolphins open the season on Sept. 9 against the Houston Texans, it probably won't be shiny new rookie Ryan Tannehill under center. It's more likely to be incumbent Matt Moore.
That's according to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who may have some influence over these things. Ross told NFL.com that Tannehill won't be rushed, and if Matt Moore happens to turn into a great quarterback first, then that's OK with him, too.
"I don't think they're going to rush (Ryan Tannehill) into anything," Ross said. "He's going to have to win the starting job. I think Matt Moore will probably be the starter, and I wish him the best." [...]
"Whenever (Tannehill) is ready," Ross said. "And if Matt Moore develops, so be it. We want a franchise quarterback."
Oh, you want a franchise quarterback, do you? Well, I'd like to spend tonight in a hot tub with Raquel Welch in 1967, but I don't think either of those things are going to happen right away.
Ross' expectations go a little bit against the grain of what we've been hearing. According to David Garrard, Tannehill already knows the Dolphins playbook better than anyone else on the roster. Given Tannehill's familiarity with Mike Sherman's system, his pedigree as the eighth-overall pick, and Ross' oft-stated desire for a franchise quarterback, I think most of us assumed he'd be in there from day one.
Maybe he still will be. Maybe this is just Ross' way of taking some pressure off.
But if the Dolphins truly aren't counting out Matt Moore, though, they're making the right decision. Maybe he's not a sexy name, and maybe he's not anyone's idea of a franchise quarterback. What he is, though, is 27 years old and coming off a season in which he threw 16 TDs against nine interceptions and posted an 87.1 quarterback rating in 13 appearances.
Who's to say that Moore can't build on that experience and pop his rating up into the 92-96 range next season?
But there's a long time between right now and Week 1. Even the owner doesn't know how things are going to shake out.