Joe Philbin is Prepared to Play Ryan Tannehill as a Rookie if He’s the Best Option

July 31, 2012 – 6:00 am by Eric Schmoldt

When he was with the Green Bay Packers, Joe Philbin and the coaching staff there waited until Aaron Rodgers’ fourth season to put him in at quarterback. Of course, it was probably tough at that time to predict this much success for Rodgers, and for the early stages of his career he was pinned behind one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, Brett Favre.

The situation is much different for Philbin as he takes over as an NFL coach in Miami. The Dolphins selected quarterback Ryan Tannehill with the No. 9 overall pick, but he doesn’t particularly have a future Hall of Famer in his way. Tannehill is going up against David Garrard and Matt Moore, and Philbin says he’s prepared to play Tannehill right away if he gives the Dolphins their best chance to win.

Joe Philbin joined The Dan Patrick Show with guest host Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com to discuss having Ryan Tannehill in camp right away, his philosophy on rookie quarterbacks, how he’ll decide who wins that competition, if being the subject of this year’s Hard Knocks has been a distraction, his first times cutting a player loose and his expectations for his first year.

How relieved are you that your first-round pick, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, is in the fold right away?:

“We’re delighted. When you plan training camp, and as a coach if you plan any practice, you always want to have every player on your roster available to practice. You hate it when a guy’s injured and obviously the business side of football, at times, can get in the way. … But we’re really happy for Ryan, we’re really happy for the organization. We think he’s a great addition. He came in here yesterday and threw the ball really well.”

As a first-time head coach in the NFL, what is your philosophy when it comes to a rookie quarterback?:

“I’ve seen it a couple different ways. I think sometimes if you orchestrate things too much, you take too much control of it as a coach, things can backfire. … I was in Green Bay when Aaron Rodgers was drafted and Brett Favre played three seasons and Aaron never started a game until his fourth year in the National Football League and obviously he’s played fantastic. I don’t know that’s the exact right blueprint for every quarterback in the NFL. … We want him to compete for the job. If he’s the best guy and gives us the best chance to win, it doesn’t really bother me. We can play him right away.”

What will you look at to make that determination?:

“There is some statistical information, but again, I think you have to trust your gut a little bit. You’re on the practice field a lot with these guys. Today we had over 100 reps in some form or fashion. … You get a feel, a sense, for guys. Then you come back in and watch the film, look at the velocity, the accuracy, the location of the ball. Then, if there’s not a lot to separate … that’s what you get paid to do is to make a decision that’s in the best interest of the team.”

How much of a distraction has it been to have Hard Knocks filming your team?:

“Really, literally none to me. As I’m speaking to you, I’ve got to cameras staring at me, built into my staff room. I told our staff the first day of camp that our job is to help these players reach their potential. And the number one rule in coaching is you’ve got to be yourselves. … NFL Films is an extremely professional organization. They’re great people to work with.”

On preparing for the first time that he has to call a player in to tell him he hasn’t made the team:

“I’ve already done it. We’ve already had a couple roster moves. There’s a certain way we want to treat our players, whether there’s a camera there or not. Just like, I think as a parent, you try to act and instill in your kids to do things that your mom and dad would be proud of you doing. … You’ve got to do what you believe in.”

What’s a successful outcome in 2012 in your eyes?:

“We’ve got to establish an identity of how we’re going to play football in Miami and how we’re going to move forward as an organization, as a football team. We told our guys right now we’re kind of in the formative stage. The formative stage is we’re trying to select the right people in the right roles for this football team. … Then, once we get the 53 guys together, we’ve got to build up an identity of how we’re going to play. The challenge is we want to be a sound, smart and tough football team. We want to be a team that gets better from week to week and from year to year.”

Listen to Joe Philbin on The Dan Patrick Show here (Interview begins at 10:45)

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