NFL Rumors: Ryan Tannehill Hitting Rookie Wall?

By Craig Ballard

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Word is starting to spread that there is a growing number of people who think/fear that Miami Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has hit some sort of rookie wall. I do not agree with that, but I can somewhat understand why people have concerns about where Tanny is at this point of his career.

Tannehill wears #17, and coincidentally he is the 17th different starting QB since Dan Marino retired. Marino is the best QB ever (in my opinion anyway…for my slide-show article on why I consider Marino the best QB ever CLICK HERE) and he hit the ground running as a rookie. 20 TDs and just 6 INTs with a QB rating of 96.0 for Marino as a 1983 rookie.

So Tannehill is not on a glorious path like the one Marino blazed, but he should not be as far off of the pace as he is. RT has just 6 TD passes, and has been picked off 11 times. His QB rating is just 70.8 (currently 29 QBs have a better QB rating).

Tannehill threw zero October INTs, but threw just 2 TDs. In his last 2 games Tannehill is at 1 TD vs 5 INTs. In 3 of his past 4 games we have seen RT’s QB rating at 50 or lower (yikes). He also has had an average yard-per-pass of 5.5 or less in 3 of his past 4 games (yikes II). The 4-3 ‘Phins have become the 4-6 ‘Phins. All of this adds up to why the “rookie wall” talk has been born.

I do not neccessarily agree. Tannehill has been a starting QB for just over 2 years. He tried to be an everyday QB prior to that, but he always lost out to other QBs and he was made to be a WR from his previous coaches. I am not sold on Tannehill, but I have always liked his disposition and brain. I think he needs more time/experience. His lack of progress could be due to his relative newness to the position. Learning to be the main QB at the NFL level cannot be easy, or quick.

I feel that a rookie QB requires an o-line and run game to support him. Tannehill has neither (article on regressing Dolphins offense as a whole is HERE). It seems like only the special and elite QBs enter the NFL with guns blasting. Tannehill may get there, but I think it is too early in his tenure to write him off or worry about hitting a wall. His progression has been non-existent, but a full year of seasoning + upgrades to personnel on O will help him greatly.

Things are sooooo new to Tanny these days. Most #8 overall picks do not require as much seasoning as Tannehill, but he needs playing time/experience. He is too fresh in the position currently, and I think that is leading to his struggles (not a rookie wall).

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