Ryan Tannehill has done better than most people would have thought throughout the course of this season. For a rookie who was thought of as a project quarterback, Tannehill has come in and shown himself to be more than competent as the leader of the Miami Dolphins offense. He has held up well under the pressure of his position, and has stepped up for the Dolphins, taking more of the offense onto his shoulders as the running game has ground to a standstill.
Tannehill has done well, except for when it comes to touchdowns and interceptions. In nine NFL games, Tannehill has thrown just five touchdowns, compared to nine interceptions. These numbers are the worst among the five rookies that started for their respective teams this season, and he has thrown 3 interceptions in a game twice already.
This discrepancy between points and turnovers is exactly why head coach Joe Philbin should have pulled Tannehill on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. Tannehill threw his second interception of the first half, on the first play after the two minute warning. This gave the Titans a free three points heading into halftime.
When the teams took the field to start the second half, it should have been Matt Moore who was leading the team. Moore has shown his ability to come into games and be a strong leader on the field. The Dolphins were losing 24-3, and the offense was going nowhere with Tannehill.
Philbin had already benched running back Reggie Bush for fumbling the ball, and Richie Incognito for a personal foul penalty, so the precedent had been set. Play poorly and get benched. At the 1:51mark of the second quarter, the Tannehill led offense had punted three times, fumbled once, been intercepted twice and made one field goal. That qualifies as poor play.
This is not to say the rookie needs to be benched for the season, but for that game, in that situation, it would have been good to treat the young quarterback like the rest of his teammates. A little humble pie can be a good thing, and Matt Moore may have even sparked the offense into being competitive.
It may be that Philbin felt leaving the rookie in was a lesson in itself, but the message he sent by punishing some, while overlooking the biggest violator, does him no good. Philbin is in the middle of establishing his identity as a head coach in the NFL, and every move he makes is seen by his players.
Sunday’s loss was full of tribulations, and the affects will be felt throughout this week. Philbin is going to have to get his team together and focused quickly; Thursday Night Football, and a meeting with the Buffalo Bills, won’t wait for any in-house issues to be ironed out.
Jeff Everette is a Featured Columnist for RantSports.com, covering the NFL and NBA. Follow Jeff on twitter @jeverettesports, like his page on FaceBook, or add his Google + to your circles for all of his latest articles, thoughts, and rants.