Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Can Tyler Thigpen be the next Tony Romo?
By Tim Graham
Miami quarterback Tyler Thigpen, suddenly the Dolphins' starter, isn't the average third-stringer.
Thigpen will make his 12th career start Thursday night, when the Dolphins host the Chicago Bears in Sun Life Stadium.
Tyler Thigpen's background and improvisational skills reminds some on Miami's staff of Cowboys QB Tony Romo.
He started 11 games for the Kansas City Chiefs two seasons ago. Although he usually was listed as the Dolphins' third quarterback last year, he really was the top backup to Chad Henne, while rookie Pat White was kept active for supposed Wildcattiness.
The Dolphins' front office identified Thigpen as a player it wanted last year and traded for him after Chad Pennington went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in Week 3.
Some within the organization have compared Thigpen to a quarterback they worked with in Dallas.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen noted "there has been a belief in the organization" Thigpen's long-shot background and improvisational skills remind head coach Tony Sparano and quarterbacks coach David Lee -- former Dallas Cowboys offensive assistants -- of Tony Romo.
Romo was undrafted out of Eastern Illinois in 2003. Thigpen was a seventh-round draft choice from Coastal Carolina in 2007.
"Thigpen's an athletic guy, has got some moxie, plays with instinct, is prone to mistakes like Tony Romo was early in his career," Mortensen said. "I think Tyler Thigpen was the best third-string quarterback in football, if you can say that. I think he's good enough to start in this league."
Bill Parcells was Romo's first head coach in Dallas and was in charge of Miami's football operations when it traded for Thigpen. Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland also came from the Cowboys.
Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey was Thigpen's offensive coordinator with the Chiefs in 2008. Thigpen completed 54.8 percent of his passes for 2,608 yards and 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
"What we asked him to do at Kansas City, he handled extremely well," Gailey said this week. "He's a very good athlete to start with. He can run the ball as well as throw it. He's fearless. He doesn't mind throwing it in a crowd, expecting the guy to make a play for him.
"So I like Tyler. I think Tyler will do well, unfortunately."