Rock Sexton wrote:
There are multiple ways to bench a quarterback and most of them, such as the way you're suggesting (early to midway through a game), are bad. The only way you can bench a rookie starter is the way Philbin did it in the Tennessee game when he brought Tannehill out on the last series or two of the game once it was out of hand. If you do it that way, the kid already knows the game is over and all that is hurt is his pride from losing. But when you pull the kid early in a game, you send a message that the backup can do a better job, that not only hurts the kid's pride, but it also hurts his confidence. So I agree with you that benching a rookie quarterback isn't the worst thing in the world, it can be a very effective teaching tool if done properly. But if done improperly like you're suggesting (early to midway through a game), it can have the negative effects that everyone is talking about. In other words, you don't wreck the future to try and salvage one game.
Ya, Tannehill's pride is going to be crushed if the coach sits down and tells him "Look hey buddy, this is your team but I want you to take a breather, it's just not your day today." Tannehill isn't stupid, he knows who's team this is. Teammates have made comments about his ability to shake off those kinds of things. Besides, Matt Moore is his backup on a one year deal. Trust me, everyone on the planet knows who they're going to be riding with the next few years.
Alas, I'm not talking about "salvaging just one game" .... I'm talking about the larger picture of salvaging playoffs. So if Moore came in the 2nd half as we're down 24-3, I don't see the issue with it. By statistics this year we had no shot of coming back with Tanny so what's the big problem? What's the worse than can happen? If they come from behind and win, they say thank you Matt you did your job ..... then give the ball back to Tanny. We then sit with 5 losses and only 2 games behind the Pats with 2 games left against them.
Why is it we only make this excuse about pride and ego for the QB's, other positions have to "tough it out and be accountable." There's no unwritten understanding that backups only play when the starter is injured. I love how it's easy to assume he'll have some fragile ego crushed, instead of perhaps him learning how important it is to not cough up the ball multiple times by sitting on the bench in the second half. Now if you do that multiple times in the season, then you're pushing it and that is not what I'm proposing.
That's fine as long as it's late in the game. You don't make a switch in my opinion before the 4th quarter. If the guy plays bad in the 1st half, you make your adjustments and send him back out there in the 3rd to see if he can get it right. If he isn't figuring things out by the early to mid 4th quarter, and the game is getting away from him, then I have no issue benching a rookie quarterback to prove a point and teach him a lesson. I just wouldn't make a habit of it.
Just on a side note, I don't think there was a single game this year where we could have turned the ball over to Moore in a lopsided game and finished with a win, or anywhere close to it. In the Houston game, benching Tannehill in his first game would have sent a very bad message. In the Tennessee game, we actually did bench him late, which I felt was the proper move. Before that game, it's important to note that Tannehill had gone six weeks without an interception.
The rest of our losses we were competitive. We lost by five to Buffalo, and had it not been for a missed fieldgoal and a late INT, we might have been able to steal that one. The rest of our losses were by a fieldgoal. We've been very competitive this year for the most part. Could our record be better, sure, we've made mistakes, but overall we're still doing pretty good for a team rebuilding with a rookie head coach and a rookie quarterback.