Posted on January 3, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is trying to squash any thought of a quarterback controversy for next season. While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Gase went out of his way to say that Tannehill will be the team’s starter in 2018. Gase is also predicting that Tannehill will be “stronger than ever before” next season.
Tannehill, of course, missed the entire 2017 season after tearing knee ligaments during training camp in August. It was his second serious knee injury in less than a year. However, Gase is confident that Tannehill will be able to participate in spring workouts, putting him on track to be the starter next season.
“I see him as our quarterback next season,” Gase said of Tannehill. “Anybody can go down at any moment. Really I don’t look at it as two injuries. I look at it as he had the knee, we were advised and so was he to handle it a certain way and it didn’t work out. So you know, that’s kind of the part of the business that’s tough. Where we went with the advice we all thought was good for us. And it didn’t work out. Now next year we get him back. And he’ll probably be stronger than he’s ever been.”
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Gase also believes that had Tannehill not been hurt, Miami’s season would have unfolded differently. Without him, the Dolphins finished 6-10 after reaching the playoffs a year ago.
“It is what it is,” Gase told reporters Wednesday. “Get him back next year and we’ll have a full slate with the spring, training camp, preseason. There was nothing we could do once he got injured. We made the adjustments we had to make.”
Without Tannehill available, the Dolphins signed Jay Cutler to be their starting quarterback. Gase worked with Cutler previously in Chicago and convinced him to come out of retirement after Tannehill was ruled out for the season. The Dolphins were 6-7 in games started by Cutler, who was inconsistent and turnover-prone at times, much like he was for much of his career.
Cutler has previously said he wouldn’t be interested in playing next season if he wasn’t going to be a starter. That likely rules out a return to Miami in 2018. Instead, Cutler will likely resume his retirement.
Aside from Cutler not coming back to Miami, Gase’s comments about Tannehill guarantee that the Dolphins won’t part ways with the 29-year old quarterback anytime soon. Tannehill has three years left on his deal, but his contract for next season isn’t guaranteed until March. Had Gase not said anything, there may have been speculation about the Dolphins cutting Tannehill coming off his knee injury.
Even with Tannehill returning as the starter, the backup quarterback spot is still up in the air for the Dolphins. Matt Moore will be a free agent after spending the last seven years in Miami. The Dolphins could give the job to David Fales, who saw extended action in Sunday’s season finale. Gase also admits that the Dolphins could take a quarterback in this year’s draft if a quarterback ends up at the top of their draft board, even during the early rounds.
Of course, the fact that Gase says Tannehill will regain his starting position in 2018 is significant. Under Gase, the Dolphins are 8-5 with Tannehill at quarterback and 8-11 without him. On Wednesday, Gase reaffirmed that despite missing all of 2017 with injury, Tannehill is Miami’s quarterback of the future.