The Miami Dolphins stand at a 5-4 win-loss record, which is good enough for 7th best in the AFC, and .5 GB from the second Wild Card spot. If you were to ask me how they have arrived at five wins, with the understanding that Ryan Tannehill, Albert Wilson, Josh Sitton, Daniel Kilgore, and just about half of the roster are injured, I would be at a loss for words. Yet, in an almost miraculous fashion, here we are in the thick of playoff contention.
The twisted part? They are likely a Laremy Tunsil injury (at. CIN) and a healthy Tannehill away from a 6-3 or even 7-2 start. Those who hate Tannehill will not agree, that’s fine; but the same Tannehill-led team that started 3-0 likely doesn’t lose the Detroit game, and if a turnstile wasn’t playing tackle in the second half against Cincinnati, the Dolphins leave Ohio with a victory and without the Tannehill breakdown we all saw. Are these assumptions? Of course they are, but they are likely true.
Nonetheless, we do not play in hypotheticals, we play in reality. And the reality is that the Dolphins are 5-4. The reality is that the Dolphins are in the playoff hunt. Unfortunately, the reality is also that the Dolphins will not compete in the playoffs with the current offensive output, and with Osweiler under center. With that being said, I take a look at what I believe are the best options for Miami moving forward, when addressing the 2018 quarterback position:
1. Ryan Tannehill
Games Played: 5
QB Rating: 92.9
Passing Yards: 972
Let me be as clear on this as I possibly can: healthy Tannehill is—miles ahead—a better option moving forward for the Miami Dolphins than any other option displayed in this article. Again, those that have had enough of Tannehill may disagree, but he is objectively, subjectively, literally, metaphorically, realistically, and any other supportive conjecture you can think of…better than the rest.
The momentum to replace Tannehill has picked up significant steam due to his injury, and that momentum will continue into the offseason; whether you agree or not, this will be the case heading into the offseason.
However, what should also be abundantly obvious is that the Miami Dolphins need Ryan Tannehill to be considered a playoff threat. Over the weeks that have passed, Osweiler’s production has driven me to the point of not even needing Tannehill to be healthy. I had become accustomed to saying that a “healthy Ryan Tannehill” is Miami’s best option; I no longer include the “healthy” in the sentence. Give me a patched up, adrenaline injected Ryan Tannehill down the playoff chase, over any of the other options on the list.
Ryan Tannehill, regardless of how you feel about him, is the best and most obvious option moving forward.
2. Sam Bradford
QB Rating: 62.5
Passing Yards: 400
I likely lost about 50% of the fanbase when they read that my first option was Ryan Tannehill. With my second option, I am working on losing the other 50%. Nevertheless, it’s an opinion piece for a reason, and you are free to disagree in the comments. Sam Bradford, on a minimal financial risk, would be my second best option for the Dolphins moving forward. Why? Because there is not a single quarterback tool in which he is not superior to Osweiler; other than durability.
Accuracy? Bradford by a step. Arm Strength? Bradford by a mile. Give me Bradford over Osweiler ten out of ten times. But make no mistake, I am aware of the limitations here, and why this will likely not occur.
The first concern is Bradford’s injury history; I would argue that I only need a few games from him, not a full season. Second, Gase’s system is difficult to pick up, and Bradford—although in similar schemes—has never played in a Gase-led scheme. Third, it is uncharacteristic of Gase to pick up quarterbacks that are unfamiliar with him and his scheme. And lastly, the question of whether the slight or very slight upgrade from Osweiler is worth the minimal financial risk. Personally, I do not see this happening.
So then why include it? Because on the off-chance that our first option (i.e. Ryan Tannehill) is more seriously injured than believed, or cannot return for this year, then give me a Sam Bradford led playoff team over a Brock Osweiler led playoff team on any given football day.
3. Brock Osweiler
QB Rating: 91.1
Passing Yards: 1034
If I haven’t lost you in the first two options, then I am sure to have lost you now. My assumption is that most would have David Fales as the third option for this article. After all, we have seen Osweiler’s limitations, and we are likely ready for a new attempt at finding a “spark" in Fales. All of that is fair, but here is the thing; do you really believe that Gase is going to go to his third-string QB with the team at 5-4 and 2-2 since Tannehill went down? Because I don’t.
If Fales hasn’t been given an opportunity, then my assumption is that it has to do with his ability or inability to show enough in practice. We know that similar to Cutler, most observers agree that Osweiler has a tendency to “practice well.” He knows where the ball is going and he doesn’t allow the other team to beat him; he limits his turnovers.
On the other hand, what is stopping us from believing that Fales does not practice well. It is feasible that he shows more limitations in knowing the playbook, and/or allows for more turnovers. In a patchwork offense, where your QB1 is injured, the goal of your backup is not to win the game; instead, it is to not lose the game. Brock Osweiler is doing that, and because of it, he gets the nod over Fales.
4. David Fales
I just defended why Osweiler gets the nod over Fales, but allow me to clarify something: I will not lose sleep if Fales gets the starting nod. The way I see it, there is a huge gap between my first option (Ryan Tannehill) and the others, so these last two—because the second option likely will not occur—are almost interchangeable. If Gase decides that he wants to spark-up a change, than clearly Fales gets his shot.
We saw a shimmer of what Fales could do last year, and it was adequate film which allowed me to feel comfortable with him being in the QB room. And yet, something must be occurring throughout the practice week for Fales to have not earned his shot. Whether this is playbook-related or performance, he’s the last option for a reason. And if you cannot beat out a backup QB who can hardly put 7 points on the board, then something is off.
Overall, the 2018 season likely is balancing on the right shoulder, elbow, and joint of Ryan Tannehill. If he can regain his arm strength and get under center, this 5-4 team can go places. If not, then this team will likely regress the closer we get to December. Brock’tober was fun for one game (and barely enjoyable for the other three), but for the betterment of this team, let’s hope the Brock’fest is coming to an end.
This story was written by Daniel Martinez. Follow him on Twitter: @all_right_Miami
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