Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and even Russell Wilson hogged the majority of the rookie spotlight under center in 2012. Those three signal callers may have gotten their franchises to the postseason last year, but Ryan Tannehill is poised to join them with his Miami Dolphins in the upcoming season.
Miami went on a spending spree that rivaled the MLB team that they share the city with in the Miami Marlins this offseason by snagging some of the highest-priced free agents on the market. A trio of pass catching weapons comes to town to provide more options for Tannehill with tight end Dustin Keller along with wide receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson. Added into the mix with last year’s leading receiver Brian Hartline, this crew makes for quite the formidable group of starters with the Fins.
Tannehill put up quality numbers in his rookie season with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, but his turnovers will need to come down significantly in 2013. In addition to the 13 picks, Tannehill also coughed up the ball five times. If Miami wants to increase its win total in the season ahead, they must get their turnover differential on the positive side after finishing tied for 24th in the NFL with a -10 margin last season.
Even though free agency brought plenty of help to the Dolphins, it also took away some key pieces on offense. Reggie Bush left for the Detroit Lions in free agency which leaves the ball carrying duties to Lamar Miller, Daniel Thomas, and rookie Mike Gillislee this coming year. The biggest concern for a quarterback, however, has to be the loss of left tackle Jake Long who signed with the St. Louis Rams. Jonathan Martin will have to show great improvement protecting Tannehill’s blindside if Miami has any hopes of emerging as a contender in the tough AFC East.
He showed flashes of top 10 ability in his rookie year, but the Dolphins need more than just a glimpse of what they hope to have drafted in Tannehill this coming season. Getting his timing down with the new weapons in training camp is going to be a vital piece to the puzzle for the 2013 Dolphins. There is plenty of potential waiting to explode this coming season, but Tannehill holds the keys to unlocking it.
It will be interesting to see how all of the new pieces gel with the Dolphins prior to the games getting underway. Continuing to develop Tannehill should be priority number one for the Fins in training camp and during the preseason. His progression will determine their ultimate direction as a team in the 2013 campaign.