The defense had the upper hand in the Miami Dolphins scrimmage Saturday morning yet rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill still managed to impress.
The eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft directed the only touchdown drive on the six possessions that started at the offense's 30-yard line. The touchdown came on a 26-yard pass that showcased Tannehill's athleticism.
He rolled out of the pocket, scrambled right and as he approached the sideline floated a pass to tight end Anthony Fasano over linebacker Gary Guyton.
''It was really impressive,'' Fasano said. ''It was a great touch pass on the run. I've said it all along and I think everyone has said it. He doesn't really play like a rookie quarterback. It's a great sign to see and he's only going to get better.''
Tannehill had the best day of three quarterbacks battling for the starting job. He completed 8 of 10 passes for 77 yards. Returning starter Matt Moore was 5 of 10 for 25 yards, and veteran free-agent acquisition David Garrard was 7 of 12 for 50 yards.
Moore had the toughest day of the three quarterbacks. Working with the second-team offense against the first-team defense, he managed only one first down in three consecutive drives early in the scrimmage.
None of the quarterbacks threw an interception, although Garrard and Tannehill both had interceptions dropped by defensive backs.
''Overall, I thought we did a pretty good job,'' Garrard said. ''We were moving the ball. When we get down to the red zone, we've got to be able to punch it in more often. For the first scrimmage, I was happy with my play, but know I can always do better.''
Coach Joe Philbin said he might be getting closer to giving one of his quarterbacks more first-team snaps but would reserve judgment until after reviewing tape of the practice.
He liked what he saw from Tannehill during the scrimmage.
''He showed good poise,'' Philbin said. ''It doesn't look too big for him here in the stadium and with coaches on the side and plays coming down from the coordinators upstairs and through that whole communication process. I was yelling on the touchdown pass, `Run, run, run,' and then he threw a touchdown.''
On Tannehill's first play of the scrimmage, he faked a handoff before slightly overthrowing wide receiver Legedu Naanee on a deep ball.
Philbin said there was a ''little bit'' of a message in the play call.
''We've said all along you've got to believe in your players,'' Philbin said. ''So if this guy's going to be playing for us and he's going to be the future for us potentially at some point in time, or whoever our quarterback is, you've got to have faith. If a play's in the plan and in the offense, it should be good enough to run.''
Tannehill's first two series came with the first-team offense working against the second-team defense. He worked with the second-team offense in his one series against the first-team defense, and was sacked by Cameron Wake on third-and-10 after dropping a shotgun snap.
''Definitely some things to improve,'' Tannehill said. ''I dropped a snap on a third-down play. We had a great chance to get a first down. Can't do that obviously. But it was fun. It was a real good first scrimmage action, get out there, get the tempo of a game, the flow of a game and have a good drive. I had a lot of fun.''