Miami Dolphins Player Profile: Ryan Tannehill

n the 2012 NFL Draft the Miami Dolphins selected Ryan Tannehill out of Texas A&M with the #8 overall pick. This was a Dolphins franchise in need of help at the NFL level in numerous areas/positions, but they did not trade down in an attempt to add extra picks. Actually they stood firm at #8 and selected a guy they want to hand the keys to going forward.

In the past 10 seasons the Dolphins have tried to follow up the Dan Marino era with QBs like Ray Lucas, Jay Fiedler, Sage Rosenfels, Brian Griese, A.J. Feeley, Gus Frerotte, Joey Harrington, Dante Culpepper, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, and recently Matt Moore. This is a laundry list of futility. In fact Miami is a putrid 70-90 the past 10 years, making the playoffs just once.

We see the need for the ‘Phins to land a franchise guy. In poker terms they are “all in” with Tannehill, and have now committed to him as their #1 guy.

Amazing to think that as recently as 2 years ago Tannehill was actually a wide receiver. He had aspirations of being a big-time QB, and when A&M made him their QB mid 2010 he took the ball and ran with it (no pun intended). The head coach that made that call, and helped develop Tannehill as a QB was Mike Sherman. Pretty rare scenario for a rookie QB to have his former coach also be his coach at the NFL level, but that is the case here as Sherman is now running the offense for Joe Philbin‘s Dolphins.

The offense that Sherman is installing is taking time to show promise, but from Tannehill’s perspective he felt he knew approx 85% of the playbook already from his A&M days with Sherman so we can look for an accelerated learning curve from him.

The early play of Tannehill in the OTAs landed him as #3 on the pecking order behind veterans Moore, and David Garrard. The speed of the game, and the pressure of the NFL level were too much for Tannehill to fight through and excel (early on anyway). As time went on he became more and more comfortable, and with his knowledge of the west-coast offense being installed by Sherman he just kept improving.

Training camp started, and Tannehill remained the #3 guy, but it was clear he was on the rise. Philbin revealed his first draft of his depth chart two weeks ago and Tannehill was still the #3. Then an injury to starter Garrard just hours prior to their initial preseason game moved Tannehill up to #2. The #1 guy became Moore, but Tannehill was rising fast and furious up the depth chart. Tannehill then outplayed Moore in the games, and in practice. That led to Philbin announcing that the 17th different starting QB Miami will use since Marino will be #17 himself (Ryan Tannehill).

At 6’4″ 225 Tannehill has good size, and is working to improve his throwing technique everyday (He can drop his elbow at times which negates his height, and he can short-arm passes from time to time by not rotating his hips well enough).

As with any rookie his preparation needs to go to the next level. The way Sherman wants to operate is have the play ready to snap/go with 20 seconds left on the play clock so the QB can make any/all adjustments at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. 2nd year center Mike Pouncey (Pouncey player profile is HERE) will call the adjustments for the o-line, and Tannehill will for the offense as a whole. That is not a lot of experience so Tannehill needs to be sure he puts in the work with QB coach Zac Taylor so he can have the teams confidence that he is making the correct reads and changes at the line of scrimmage. Taylor has a history with Tannehill from their A&M days.

He already has shown growth as far as comfort in the pocket. He is not afraid to tuck the ball and run for yards, but he looks to pass first. He is good at going through his progressions. Tannehill has the arm strength to make all required NFL QB throws. He throws a very good ball towards the sidelines. What excites me is his ability to lead a WR. If a WR has beat his defender then Tannehill usually puts the ball in an area where the WR can make a catch and maintain his momentum for good yards after catch.

The 2012 Dolphins will struggle. There are areas that need improvement throughout the roster. We should not expect Tannehill to thrive right away (at least not stack wins right away). The past 2 years have seen NFL rookie QBs go a putrid 37-65 (yikes).

We knew the Miami Dolphins offense would be in Tannehill’s hands sooner rather than later, and we see the future is now for ‘Phins phans.

Thank you for your read!

My previous articles on YOUR MIAMI DOLPHINS are RIGHT HERE

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