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Ryan Tannehill named Dolphins' starting quarterback

HBO's "Hard Knocks" has a new plot point for this week's episode. And the NFL has yet another young starting quarterback taking over.

Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Monday that rookie Ryan Tannehill will be his starting quarterback for the Dolphins' season opener against the Houston Texans. Philbin hopes that Tannehill will stay in the starting lineup for his tenure as coach, although we know things usually don't work out so smoothly.

When training camp opened, Tannehill was considered a distant third on the Dolphins' depth chart.

Dolphins starting QBs since Dan Marino retired
Player
W-L
36-23
13-18
12-8
9-6
6-6
6-6
5-6
3-2
A.J. Feeley
3-5
2-4
1-3
1-7
Tyler Thigpen
0-1
Sage Rosenfels
0-2
John Beck
0-4
0-5

Of all the quarterbacks drafted in the first round this year, Tannehill was supposed to be the work in progress. He barely practiced with the starters during organized team activities. He held out of the first few days of training camp. And then he showed why the Dolphins drafted him.

"It was a close competition, but in the end, we feel that this is the best decision for our football team at the present time," Philbin said.

Philbin's decision wasn't that tough. Tannehill looked the part of a starter right away and picked up on NFL concepts faster than anyone expected. Matt Moore has struggled picking up offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's scheme, and David Garrard underwent knee surgery after a week of camp. Battle ended.

"We like a lot of things about him," Philbin said. "We think he's very poised, we think he's a mature individual, we don't think it's too big for him. We think he has a good grasp of the concepts we are utilizing on offense, both in the run game and the pass game."

Tannehill needs to work on going through his progressions when his first read isn't open. He could use a little more touch on his short passes. He'll get to work on those things as a starter.

As NFL.com and NFL Network's Albert Breer points out, nine of the league's 32 starting quarterbacks are now rookies or second-year pros. (Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden.)

The new era of quarterbacks is here, with Tannehill starting earlier than anyone expected. Now all he has to do is go to Houston for his first NFL regular-season start with Davone Bess as his No. 1 wideout.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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