This preseason has seen a number of position battles all over the NFL, many of them at quarterback. Two of the most watched competitions, Ryan Tannehill vs. Matt Moore and Jake Locker vs. Matt Hasselbeck, ended on Monday when the teams announced who their starting quarterbacks are going to be when the 2012 regular season starts.
In both cases it was the incumbent that lost. Miami opted to go with Ryan Tannehill, the rookie first round pick out of Texas A&M. Second year player Jake Locker won the competition in Tennessee over veteran Matt Hasselbeck.
It's Ryan Tannehill's Time
Miami head coach Joe Philbin was not expected to make the announcement when he did Monday. After Friday's game against the Carolina Panthers the general perception was that he was going to wait, possibly until after their next preseason game. In the end he must have decided that Tannehill had a better grasp of the offense and would give the Dolphins the better chance to win going forward.
Tannehill did have a leg up in the competition thanks to his former college head coach, Mike Sherman, as the Dolphins offensive coordinator. However, his time with Sherman in college was not completely at quarterback; he played wide receiver and didn't play QB till midway through his junior season.
His play Friday against the Panthers was not as good as the previous week, but Tannehill appeared to learn from his mistakes and was able to recover from them during the game. Matt Moore's poor game against Carolina likely made the decision a lot easier.
Is Jake Locker Ready?
In Tennessee the decision was not as surprising. Jake Locker had been told that the position was basically his to lose. As a former first round pick the team was going to go to him eventually. Hasselbeck's poor play during training camp and in the first two preseason games helped usher that time in.
Had the Titans waited till after the next preseason contest no one would have been shocked. While Locker had played decent in the team's first preseason game, he looked awful against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Friday night. Rather than appear like a player ready to take over the No. 1 job, his decisions were poor and his accuracy was lacking (4-11, 21 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT).
Much like the Dolphins and every other team in the NFL, the Titans have to look forward. Making Locker sit for another season while the soon to be 37-year old Hasselbeck (his birthday is September 25) avoided retirement for one more season would have only hampered the development of the team and most importantly the development of Locker.