Strong scrimmage for Tannehill

QB Ryan Tannehill

It may have been only an intrasquad scrimmage, Ryan Tannehill still enjoyed his first touchdown pass at Sun Life Stadium Saturday morning. He had every reason to, considering how impressive his 26-yard throw to tight end Anthony Fasano was.

The play was the only touchdown on the six offensive possessions that started at the offense's 30-yard line, and it showcased the athleticism that made Tannehill a first-round pick.

Tannehill rolled out of the pocket, scrambled to the right and as he was approaching the sideline floated a pass over linebacker Gary Guyton right into the arms of Fasano.

"It was really impressive," Fasano said. "It was a great touch pass on the run. I've said it all along and I think everyone has said it, he doesn't really play like a rookie quarterback. It's a great sign to see and he's only going to get better."

Tannehill had the best day of the three quarterbacks battling for the starting job. During the scrimmage portion of practice, he was 8-for-10 for 77 yards. Returning starter Matt Moore was 5-for-10 for 25 yards, and veteran free agent acquisition David Garrard was 7-for-12 for 50 yards.

Moore and Garrard both threw touchdown passes during a goal-line drill, Moore hitting Fasano and Garrard connecting with Legedu Naanee.

Fourth quarterback Pat Devlin also threw a touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews in team drills late in the practice. Matthews scored on a comeback with tight coverage a few plays after making a nice catch in traffic near the sideline.

But the focus, as it has been, since training camp opened, was on the quarterbacks.

Moore had the toughest day of the three quarterbacks, even though it must be pointed that in his first three series he was working with the second-team offense against the first-team defense.

Still, Moore managed only one first down in three consecutive drives early in the scrimmage, and he also went three-and-out when the offense was given the ball at the defense's 26-yard line.

None of the quarterbacks threw an interception, although Garrard caught a break when Legedu Naanee took the ball out of the hands of cornerback Nolan Carroll on an ill-advised throw and Tannehill caught a break when safety Reshad Jones dropped a ball in the end zone that Tannehill threw into double coverage.

"Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job," Garrard said. "We were moving the ball. When we get down to the red zone, we've got to be able to punch it in more often. For the first scrimmage I was happy with my play, but know I can always do better."

Coach Joe Philbin said he might be getting closer to giving one of his quarterbacks more first-team snaps, but would reserve judgment until after reviewing tape of the practice.

Philbin also couldn't point out anybody who stood out in the scrimmage, but he did say he liked what he saw from Tannehill.

"He showed good poise," Philbin said. "It doesn't look too big for him here in the stadium and with coaches on the side and plays coming down from the coordinators upstairs and through that whole communication process. I was yelling on the touchdown pass, ‘Run, run, run,' and then he threw a touchdown."

On Tannehill's first play of the scrimmage, he faked a handoff before barely overthrowing Naanee on a deep ball.

Philbin said there was a "little bit" of a message in the play call.

"We've said all along you've got to believe in your players," Philbin said. "So if this guy's going to be playing for us and he's going to be the future for us potentially at some point in time, or whoever our quarterback is, you've got to have faith. If a play's in the plan and in the offense it should be good enough to run."

Tannehill's first two series came with the first-team offense working against the second-team defense. He worked with the second-team offense in his one series against the first-team defense, and was sacked by Cameron Wake on third-and-10 after dropping a shotgun snap.

"Definitely some things to improve," Tannehill said. "I dropped a snap on a third-down play. We had a great chance to get a first down. Can't do that obviously. But it was fun. It was a real good first scrimmage action, get out there, get the tempo of a game, the flow of a game and have a good drive. I had a lot of fun."

The Dolphins will have the day off on Sunday before resume practice on Monday morning.

The scrimmage actually started an hour earlier than scheduled because of the threat of inclement weather.

That never materialized, though, and the sun shines throughout the morning.

"As you can tell, we're real experts at the weather," Philbin joked. "That was my call. Some people wanted to stay over at Davie. That's the great part about being a meteorologist, nobody can second-guess you. You can say, ‘Oh, the clouds came and went.' It was my brilliant decision as you can tell. (It) didn't work out, though."

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