Mission Impossible: Protecting Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill
Of all of the talk surrounding this weekend’s match-up with the AFC East division rival Buffalo Bills coming to town, the discussion is centering around the Miami Dolphins‘ offensive line and their inability to protect second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Normally, blaming the offensive line is a cop-out because most fans don’t want to admit that their team’s star running back or franchise quarterback isn’t exactly playing as advertised. This season, though Tannehill at times has shown some progression in his game, Dolphins’ fans are still unsure of what they have in their young quarterback simply because the offensive line isn’t doing their job; giving up 24 sacks which is good enough to be the worst in the NFL.
What is most disheartening about the play of the offensive line is the series of decisions that were made in the offseason that have led Miami’s offense right back into the same rut they have been in since the year following the Wildcat. The irony in all of this is that the Dolphins took University of Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft hoping to end their offensive line woes only to watch him sign with the St. Louis Rams during this past offseason.
The biggest glaring problem for this year’s Dolphins, even through their 3-0 start to the season (currently 3-2), is the amount of times Tannehill has been sacked. No matter what solution people might think they have, the answer was resigning the guy who anchored the line since being taken No. 1 overall in 2008; the aforementioned Jake Long.
Right now, the only thing protecting Ryan Tannehill is this conversation about the offensive line letting him down. There isn’t much a team can do mid-season to fix a problem they have had since coming into training camp. Play-action passes, moving the pocket and bootleg plays aren’t going to work if the running game isn’t working and the line is responsible for that as well. Tannehill is going to have to find a way to put the passing game on his back and make plays with his legs if he hopes to get the Dolphin offense going, or else they could be in for a long rest of the season.