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Rookie QB Tannehill Gets Lots Of Work In Preseason Opener

Posted Aug 10, 2012

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill got a little more work and an earlier start than he expected tonight at Sun Life Stadium for the Miami Dolphins, but he held his own in a 20-7 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill got a little more work and an earlier start than he expected tonight at Sun Life Stadium for the Miami Dolphins, but he held his own in a 20-7 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Veteran David Garrard, who is first on the depth chart, was a late scratch with a knee injury. Matt Moore started in his place and played deep into the second quarter before giving way to Miami’s first-round pick of April’s NFL Draft. Moore completed 7-of-12 passes for 79 yards with one interception off of a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage.

Tannehill completed 14-of-21 passes for 167 yards and threw the only touchdown pass of the game for the Dolphins in the third quarter, an 11-yard strike to tight end Charles Clay that cut the deficit in half to 14-7. He was 7-of-8 for 82 yards on the nine-play drive that covered 70 yards (there were 15 penalty yards against Miami).

It was almost a storybook debut for Tannehill when he entered the game in the middle of a downpour with 3:16 left in the first half. After going three-and-out on his first series, a turnover on the ensuing punt gave him a chance to get the Dolphins on the scoreboard before intermission.

Tannehill completed passes of 19 yards to tight end Charles Clay and 22 yards to Julius Pruitt while running a no-huddle offense out of the shotgun. After his first incompletion, he zipped a low pass to Roberto Wallace in the end zone for what appeared to be a touchdown, but the call was reversed after instant replay review.

Head Coach Joe Philbin gave his rookie a chance to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 7 but his pass intended for Clay near the goal line was tipped away by Tampa Bay’s Anthony Gaitor. The Bucs took a knee to end the half.

Second-year quarterback Pat Devlin relieved Tannehill with 9:06 remaining in the game as Tannehill ended the night with a 106.6 passer rating and one rush for five yards.

Wallace had a big night receiving with four catches for 71 yards and an average of 17.8 yards per catch, while rookie Rishard Matthews stood out as a kickoff and punt returner. He had kick returns of 45 and 28 yards.

Defensively, linebacker Jason Trusnik recovered the fumbled punt in the first half and had three solo tackles in the first half and five overall.

Philbin Speaks: “I thought he threw the ball relatively well. He looked like he had pretty good command out there and his play speed was relatively good. He missed a couple of throws but I thought it was a good start for him. … He made some quick decisions with no hesitation and those kind of things you like to see out of a rookie quarterback.” – on Tannehill’s play

“As I told the players, what I was interested in was watching how we played the game more necessarily than what schemes we called and so forth. We talked to them about how we’re looking for guys who can make impact plays, whether it be third down, a defensive end beating an offensive tackle and sacking the quarterback, a receiver beating a corner in a one-on-one match-up or a running back eluding a tackle and making a play in space. Those types of things I just don’t think we had enough of.” – on his first game as a head coach and the game overall

“You want to get off the field and get good field position for your offense and they were 8-of-15 on third downs, so if you’re converting over 50 percent of your third downs and we were 23 percent, it’s tough to win doing that.” – on Tampa Bay’s third-down success

“We had some concerns about his ball security initially in the early parts of camp, so number one I’m pleased that he didn’t turn the ball over. I thought he did a good job protecting the football and he was competitive. We’ll take a good look at the film and he had the one god return.” – on rookie Rishard Matthews’ performance on kick returns

From The Locker Room: “I thought we moved the ball well. We had an unfortunate mishap down there in the red zone (an interception) and we can’t have those. We’ve got to eliminate that and check out what happened on tape and fix that. But for the most part I thought it went pretty smooth, guys were where they were supposed to be so the execution was there. We just need to tighten down some things.” – quarterback Matt Moore his performance and the performance of the offense

“It was fun. I think it’s a start. There are definitely some plays I’d like to have back and it definitely wasn’t perfect, but I was excited to get in there and have some live snaps, some competitive snaps and it’s a good starting point for us.” – rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill on his first experience against another NFL opponent

“It was a decent performance in my eyes but I’m my biggest critic. I feel like I could have done much better than that, but I felt like (the reversal on the touchdown) was a catch. We carry what we do in practice out here and we have the same comfort at practice.” – wide receiver Roberto Wallace on his game tonight and his chemistry with the quarterbacks

“The kickoff return unit did a good job blocking and all I had to do was make one cut and then I was pretty much open. But out here tonight it rained a couple of times so you’ve got to get used to that. Doing what I did with a wet ball definitely helps my confidence.” – wide receiver and kick returner Rishard Matthews on his returns

“We need to look at our mistakes on the field and correct them, but there were plenty of positive things that happened out there.” – defensive end Jared Odrick on the play of the defense as a whole

Next: Miami travels to Charlotte, N.C., to face the Carolina Panthers next Friday and Cam Newton at 8 p.m.