Was Joe Philbin right to want Derek Carr over Ryan Tannehill?


By Oliver Connolly

Earlier this week Armando Salguero penned a fascinating report detailing the breakdown in the relationship of Joe Philbin, Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins front office.

The most interesting part of the report is Philbin’s insistence on drafting a quarterback in the 2014 draft, namely, Derek Carr.

Philbin was out on Tannehill early on, per Salguero’s report, and drafting Derek Carr in the first round was viewed as a chance to bail on Tannehill early.

Instead, the ‘Phins selected Ja’Wuan James and gave Tannehill a longterm, multi-million dollar, extension.

Since his extension Tannehill has disappointed. His propensity to take sacks, blame teammates and not throw the ball downfield have led to criticism from all quarters, the firing of his head coach and the firing of (another) offensive coordinator.

The Dolphins have moved on from Philbin, but the idea of Carr in Miami is intriguing. If, like many, you believe Carr has shown flashes of being the longterm answer and ‘face of the franchise’ in Oakland, than you would be inclined to believe Philbin was right.

Carr, in his first year, was similar to Tannehill. He took a lot of sacks, played in a dink and dunk offense and despite having elite natural arm talent, would not throw the ball down the field.

Year two was vastly different (well the first half was). The Raiders began to implement elements of Carr’s Fresno State Air-Raid offense; a ton of formations, Carr deciding plays and routes at the line of scrimmage and throwing the ball deep again and again. With a replenished offensive line and a fine receiving corps, Carr flashed more than just great arm talent. He showed deep football intelligence and the guts to throw the ball ‘over the wall.’

Last year was Tannehill’s fourth and Carr’s second. Here’s how the pair stacked up from a statistical stand point:








Ryan Tannehill



24 (4.1%)

12 (2.0%)



Derek Carr



32 (5.6%)

13 (2.3%)



Both have put impressive stretches on tape and disappointing stretches on tape, both have an elite trait, Carr = arm talent, Tannehill = athletic ability and both take far too many sacks that get unduly blamed on their offensive line.

The question remains, was Philbin right?

Given that last year was Carr’s second and Tannehill’s I’m inclined to side with Philbin.

Carr has greater natural arm talent, runs a great deal of his offense from the line of scrimmage and does a better job of making throws due to the mental aspects of the game (manipulating safeties with his eyes and throwing with anticipation).

That’s not to say Tannehill is a dud.

I’m excited to see what Adam Gase can do with him, but it’s an interesting to discussion and will be an interesting topic to visit at the end of the 2016 campaign. 


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