Two more newbie quarterbacks are getting the nod for week one starts, as we near the end of the preseason and the start of the 2012 regular season. Both the Miami Dolphins and Tennessee Titans have announced that Ryan Tannehill and Jake Locker, respectively, are going to be opening day starters at quarterback.
Tannehill seemed like a no-brainer for the Dolphins, who have Matt Moore behind him on the depth chart. Moore put together a semi-repspectable season last year, but will probably be best remembered by Dolphins fans as the quarterback who won Miami out of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and instead to another miserably mediocre season.
Locker, on the other hand, is in his second year as an NFL quarterback and saw some playing time last year when starter Matt Hasselbeck went down with an injury. Locker, like Tannehill, was a first round draft choice the year he was selected. Despite only marginal playing time last year, Locker showed flashes of what the Titans hope will be their franchise guy moving forward.
The Dolphins are hoping for the same with Tannehill, but they really just wouldn’t mind some wins at this point. THe franchise not only won their way out of the Andrew Luck ‘Suck for Luck’ sweepstakes, but they butchered the offseason, failing to sign any impact free agents. Needless to say, this hasn’t impressed Dolphins fans in the least bit and the front office is hoping that Tannehill can become the next rookie success and help fill some seats.
With the news that Tannehill has been named the starter in Miami, that means that all four quarterbacks taken in the past April’s draft will enter the season first on the depth chart. First and second overall picks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III were pretty much named the starter as their names were announced at the podium this April, while Cleveland Browns rookie Brandon Weeden was named the starter pretty early on in Browns camp.
So the pressure is now on Tannehill to perform. The Dolphins have been quick to axe starters who aren’t performing up to their idea of success (because the Dolphins are positive they are running the second best team in the league), and the odds of being the best impact rookie of his class are staked against the former Texas A&M star.
As for Locker, he takes the reigns of a 9-7 team poised for the playoffs. And if things begin to be too much to handle for the second year quarterback, the veteran Hasselbeck is always there for guidance — or to take over as the starter.