Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin declined to help hype the possible all-rookie showdown Sunday between quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill.
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”I don’t think it’s really a big deal,” Philbin said.
The coach’s enthusiasm might have been tempered by the possibility Tannehill won’t play against the Indianapolis Colts. He left Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets in the first quarter with left knee and thigh injuries, and practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.
Tannehill wore a brace and thigh-to-ankle sleeve on his left leg. He participated in passing drills, but backup Matt Moore took the snaps with the starters at the beginning of team drills, while Pat Devlin worked with the second team.
Tannehill was cleared to practice after undergoing an MRI exam. He declined to predict whether he’ll be able to play Sunday.
”I’m just taking it one day at a time,” he said. ”I’m going to do everything I can to be ready, and hopefully that’s the case.”
Said Philbin regarding Tannehill’s status: ”We will continue to monitor his progress throughout the course of the week.”
Unlike Philbin, Tannehill acknowledged the appeal of his possible matchup against Luck. They’re two of five rookie starting QBs in the NFL, and each has helped his team to a surprising 4-3 start.
”It’s a story line,” Tannehill said. ”It’s exciting for a lot of people. But you’re not really thinking about the other quarterback.”
Moore, the Dolphins’ most valuable player in 2011, played for the first time this year against the Jets and 11 for 19 for 131 yards and a score in a 30-9 victory. His statistics would have been even more gaudy had Jabar Gaffney not dropped a long potential touchdown pass.
Rooting from the sideline was Tannehill.
”I couldn’t be more excited for Matt and the way he went in cold off the bench, after not getting a lot of reps in practice, going in and winning the game for us,” Tannehill said. ”He threw the ball really well.”
Moore helped the Dolphins win six of their final nine games last year, then lost a battle this summer with newcomer Tannehill for the No. 1 job.
He had a solid passer rating of 87.1 in 2011 and was at 96.6 against the Jets.
”Same old Matt from last year,” receiver Brian Hartline said. ”He’s a gamer. It’s nice to know we basically have two starting quarterbacks.”