Injuries are a part of life on the NFL. They hit every team, some more than other. The Miami Dolphins have been pretty fortunate in that regard. In December of last year, Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury. It was a partially torn ACL and MCL sprain in his left knee. The Dolphins and Tannehill opted not to perform surgery and just let the knee heal with rest. So Tannehill missed the last 3 regular season games and their playoff game. Matt Moore filled in and he did an admiral job. No one was surprised, Miami fans know what a capable backup Moore is. Now the Dolphins may need to call on him again.
On August 3rd, in training camp, Tannehill scrambled to his right and tumbled out of bounds. Despite having that knee brace on, he landed awkwardly and stretched the knee a bit too much. The initial reaction was fear. Then Tannehill got up and was able to limp off the field. After practice, the Dolphins seemed uncertain as to the severity of the injury. Maybe just another sprain? The MRI results were negative and the ACL did not seem to tear further. So maybe more rest would help and Tannehill would be back for week 1.
Back in December, when the Dolphins decided against surgery, many wondered why. Surely with just a few games left, it wouldn’t be worth it to Tannehill. He never ended up playing or practicing. So why did they not go ahead and fix the problem? The main worry was that it was unnecessary and that the recovery process would keep him out for the 2017-18 season. It is understandable, a team on the rise does not want to end two season with one injury. It would’ve deterred casual Miami fans who think Tannehill is the key to their success. So they hold off the surgery and let him rest. Tannehill comes into OTA’s and looks okay. Then mini camp, he still looks good. Now training camp, he looks comfortable. The progression was slow but encouraging.
Ignorance is bliss. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the QB may be done for the year after all.
Dolphins fear Ryan Tannehill will need season-ending knee surgery, but no decision on it has been made, sources tell @JeffDarlington and me.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 4, 2017
The Dolphins knew that eventually, one bad fall, one bad hit. That was all it would take for Tannehill’s knee to go awry. They ignored the problem, danced around it. Now they and Tannehill have moved the Dolphins a step back. Regardless of whether or not Tannehill will have surgery, he cannot be depended on to play this season. As of now, the Dolphins must move on and prepare without him.
As mentioned, Matt Moore is more than capable. He knows the offense just as well, he only lacks the mobility. The main downside with Moore is that he is capped out. He can’t get any better than what he is. He is a terrible practice player, just ask any Dolphins beat writer. Moore also lacks some of the chemistry that Tannehill had with Landry and Parker. With all that said, Moore is the man for the job. Don’t buy into the Jay Cutler interest, he is no better than Moore and definitely not as good a leader. Colin Kaepernick is an intriguing name, but not as someone who can start week one or anytime soon. He would have a lot to prove, but the Dolphins will need a backup to Moore.
So hope remains as the Dolphins press forward. They will figure it out and, hopefully, remain focused on the season. Ryan Tannehill should get his knee fixed and be ready to play in 2018. The Dolphins won’t give up on him even if he has to miss a year. Honestly, they don’t have much of a choice.