It has been a long shot at best, and the truth is the Dolphins may have known all along that Ryan Tannehill would not be able to give his injured knee a full go in practice this week for a playoff game with Pittsburgh and have been playing “mind games” trying to keep the Steelers off balance.
But, they (coach Adam Gase) have consistently said “day to day” and “we’ll see” leading up to this week and do or die battle at frigid Heinz Field. The biggest indicator is and would be Tannehill’s ability to practice this week.
Well we now have the partial, if not the full answer, after Wednesday’s preparation concluded.
Tannehill did not even participate in the Dolphins practice. That obviously means that he’s not ready to even briefly try under semi-live circumstances to: drop back, plant, much less cut and move, which he needs to demonstrate, if there’s any hope of him going full speed in a playoff game 4 days from now.
Here was Gase’s presser after the Wednesday workout:
Dolphins Live: Coach Gase meets with the media. https://t.co/4lZmO8k1FQ
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) January 4, 2017
The key semantics of “Unless something changes, he’s (Moore) the starter” does leave the head Dolphin some wiggle room on trying Tannehill Sunday. However, if he couldn’t try to practice in full pads today, it’s unlikely.
The other part of the ongoing debate is: you have developed some rhythm with Moore on offense, leadership, command of the huddle. Do you disrupt that for a guy that might be 50-60% on Sunday? Not likely.
Final analysis Wednesday? It’s all but certain Matt Moore starts in Pittsburgh. Stay tuned.