Dolphins Quarterbacks Are Lesson In Chemistry

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Tannehill, Moore and Devlin form a solid nucleus.

Since there is only one football, only one quarterback can throw it, hand it off or run with it. The Miami Dolphins have three on their roster and neither has a selfish bone in his body.

Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore and Pat Devlin occupy arguably the most important position meeting room inside the team’s practice facility, and when quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor leaves the room they go about their business professionally and with mutual respect. That’s important because even though Tannehill is the starter and has 21 consecutive starts to his credit, Head Coach Joe Philbin knows he might have to call on Moore or Devlin in a pinch and he appreciates their chemistry.

“Those guys work their tail off. They are very, very professional in everything they do,” Philbin said. “They spend a lot of time here, extra time. I think they like being around one another. There’s a good rapport with Zac, (offensive coordinator) Mike (Sherman) and those guys. I think it’s very healthy.”

In terms of personality, Tannehill and Devlin are more alike in that they are bit more reserved. Moore is the outgoing one and is just two years removed from being the team’s MVP when he started the last 12 games of the 2011 season. He lost his starting job to Tannehill last year in Tannehill’s rookie season and had a chance to test the free agent waters this offseason but chose to come back.

When Moore re-signed in March, it meant that the quarterback room from 2012 would remain intact and the relationships the three had cultivated would help further advance the offense under Sherman. It also meant that Tannehill’s sideline influence was back.

“Matt will hype me up when I come off the field. He’s my hype man, as we like to say,” said Tannehill, who has engineered three fourth-quarter drives to either win the game or clinch it. “He’s always there to pump me up after I make a good play or support me after I make a bad one. He’s usually the first one to greet me on the sideline and then he’ll take a step away and let Zac and Pat and I take a look at the pictures and the coverage and chart it. And then if I see anything and have a question, I’ll just go over to Matt and say, ‘Hey, what did you see on this, how are you seeing this?’ He always has an answer and he’s very supportive.”

Four years separate Moore from Tannehill and Devlin, so as the senior member of the group he acts more like the big brother. He started 25 of 37 games in five previous seasons (three in Carolina with the Panthers and two in Miami), while Devlin is in just his third year in the league and, of course, Tannehill is in his second. That means he brings the value of experience to the practice field and film room.

“The chemistry is good and I try and bring some excitement to the room whenever I can, but I think that’s just my personality,” Moore said. “We’ve got a good thing in there. Ryan usually heads up the film session. He’ll work the tape and we’ll chime in or talk about something or whatever, but he does a good job of leading it when Zac’s not in there. We’re all so accustomed to the preparation cycle.”

Every quarterback watches film differently, with some able to breeze through the tape and pick out the areas they want to focus on while others like to watch the film in a specific order, starting with formations and then going to down-and-distance. Tannehill remains aware of Moore’s and Devlin’s preferences while he’s operating the clicker and gladly pauses or rewinds when necessary.

As much time as the three spend together at the facility, they still like to stay connected on the road after arriving at the team hotel. Most of the position groups head out to dinner together because of the natural camaraderie and the ability to talk shop, but this season that hasn’t always been the case with the quarterbacks.

“It seems like Matt has a friend in every single city,” Devlin said with a laugh. “But whenever we can we do go out and we usually like to get dinner together. Even though we spend all our time in the quarterback room together it’s not like we get sick of each other, so it’s good to go out and eat a little food together. In New Orleans, the QBs didn’t go out to eat because Ryan stayed in and Matt had a buddy in town and then I went out with the linemen, so that was a hoot.”

Tannehill let his own sense of humor come out when the topic of quarterback dinners on the road came up.

“Matt used to be a guy’s guy. He’d hang with us and eat with us on the road and now he’s too big time,” he said. “He’s got a new truck and he’s got an RV also and a friend in every city.”

When Moore was made aware of the jokes being made, he took it well and emphasized how he used to lead those dinners and plans to do so again. As far as always being ready to take the field as Tannehill’s backup while also acting like an extra coach in his ear, Moore has truly embraced that role.

For Tannehill, the importance of having that support behind him in the position meetings and on the field cannot be overstated. It allows him to command the offensive huddle with confidence and at the same time have that peace of mind that if he were to get hurt and be unable to play, the team would be in capable hands with Moore or Devlin.

“We’re always usually on the same page, busting each other and giving each other a hard time,” Tannehill said. “But we’re also supportive if the situation calls for it. We’re always there to support each other and throughout the offseason and camp we’re there to challenge each other and make each other better.”
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