We’ve seen it over the years time after time. After a promising rookie season a player seems to slump in their second season, whether it be defenses catching up to them, bad work ethic or injuries. Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III are recent examples as their sophomore slumps were followed closely by the media.
Ryan Tannehill has avoided that in 2013, making it a steadily progressive season. He’s improved in all statistical categories from his rookie season in 2012 except interceptions (one more on 37 more attempts) and sacks taken. The most important improvements have come in touchdown-interception ratio, completion percentage and passer rating. With two games left in the regular season Tannehill is one touchdown away from doubling his season total from 2012. Tannehill’s completion percentage is is up from 58.3 percent to 62.4 percent, and his passer rating is up more than ten points from 76.1 in 2012 to 86.6 in 2013.
Keep in mind there are still two games to be played this season so those numbers will change, but with Tannehill playing the way he is it’s hard to imagine those numbers doing anything but increasing (except interceptions we hope).
Tannehill’s development is especially impressive when you remember the notorious “bullying” scandal that plagued the Miami Dolphins for much of the middle portion of the season. He has actually seemed to blossom from it as his numbers were steadily decreasing in four losses before Jonathan Martin left the team. After Martin left and Richie Incognito was subsequently suspended on Nov. 5, Tannehill had to grow up fast, work past the slump he was falling into, take leadership of his team and produce wins. Tannehill’s play continued to get better after the Week 10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with his passer rating increasing in each of the five games since that loss.
Tannehill’s improvement shows, as the Dolphins have won four of their last five and are in prime position to grab the No. 6 seed in the AFC Playoffs if they can win their final two games. Tannehill’s steady progression is promising, but is he ready to take the next step? These final two games (and the playoffs if I’m not getting too far ahead of myself) will be a great way to find out. But it’s safe to say he’s avoided that dreaded sophomore slump.