The Dolphins begin 2012 with a fresh start, a new coaching staff still in the making and new hope from the beleaguered fan base, but the same problem still haunts the franchise since Dan Marino, finding a franchise QB. Rehashing the multitude of QBs since Marino is like trying to find a destiny only to realize the circular journey has returned to the starting point, year after year. Whether it is untimely draft position, wrong choices or just plain bad Luck, the song remains the same.
2012 finds the Dolphins in the familiar position, without a true franchise QB and limited opportunities to acquire one. There are four possible options this year and new coach Joe Philbin’s career success will be defined by Jeff Ireland’s ability to finally make it happen. The big four this year are, two draft choices, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin, and two free agents, Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn. There is also a lingering hope that Matt Moore could come into his own, and carry the banner.
Each of these five has warts whether it be a lack of talent, physical issues or a prohibitive price tag. Each of these choices has positives that merit them being on this list, but for Miami the wrong choice will lead to more years of misery and fan discontent. The intent here is to come to a conclusion as to which player best suits the Dolphins this season and in the future.
Matt Moore is under contract in Miami for another season and the Dolphins should honor that commitment regardless of what they do with the other options. Moore had a good season after a rough start with four consecutive losses. The team rallied around him and he won their respect, if not the fans. He ended the season with an 87.1 QB rating that featured 16 TDs and 9 Ints. He played miserably in October after no training camp and few reps as the backup to Chad Henne. His 87.1 rating was brought down by those first 4 games but his season took off from that point.
In November and December, his play improved to the point where he belongs in this discussion. His improvement is reflected in his 103.3 QB rating with 14 TDs and 3 INTs over that span. He ranked among the leagues best QBs during that period and only his play against the NY Jets, 63.1 QB rating with 1 TD and 2 INTs in a winning January effort kept his season numbers from being even higher. Moore has plenty of room to improve, but he earned the opportunity to compete in 2012. Regardless of the other choices, Moore will be on the roster.
Peyton Manning did not play a single down in 2012 after being sidelined by a career threatening injury. Manning underwent a single level fusion in the cervical (neck) area of his spine, the third surgery in about 1.5 years. Manning’s career peaked in 2004 with a prolific 121.1 QB rating, 49 TDs and 10 INTs. He led the Colts to a Super Bowl victory in 2007. Manning has won 4 NFL MVP awards and led the Colts back to the Super Bowl in 2009.
Manning career numbers speak for themselves, but how does that relate to the Miami Dolphins. The most pertinent question is Manning’s health. A cervical spine fusion takes about 12 months under normal conditions for the bones to fuse, but the nerve damage is the cause for concern with Manning. The cervical nerves are responsible for the movements of the upper body, when those nerves are damaged, weakness of the arms and neck follows. The nerves will regenerate over time, but there is no guarantee Manning will ever regain the strength and range of motion needed to play QB in the NFL. If he does recover, there is always the possibility of re-injuring the neck. After 3 surgeries, the next instance will surely end Manning’s career.
For Miami, the risk is too great. The Dolphins may need a franchise QB, but they are not at the point where one player will take them to the Super Bowl. For Manning, time is of the essence, if he is get another shot at the big dance it will have to come with a team that is ready to win now. Miami is not that team. Miami may make Manning an offer but in his own best interest he will choose to play elsewhere and it could be the best thing for the Dolphins. Manning will not be a Dolphin in 2012.
Andrew Luck would be the dream selection for many teams in the NFL, but remove his name from the running, there is no way the Colts will not release Manning and start fresh with Luck. There could be outrageous trade offers for the 1st pick in the draft, but after knowing the impact of having a Peyton Manning, Luck will land in Indianapolis.
That leave two plausible candidates out of the five presented here, Robert Griffin III and Matt Flynn. That will be the debate for Dolphinshout. Dolphinshout will listen to your opinions on which of these two is the right choice and your reasoning. Consider your reasons well and bring to Dolphinshout your most compelling thoughts on which should be the choice and why.
Once the best Dolphin fans on the web have analyzed this, I will write the conclusion based on your thoughts and of course my own limited wisdom.