The Miami Dolphins dropped their first game of the preseason Friday night against the Atlanta Falcons 16-10, but the play of third-year QB Ryan Tannehill should give Dolphins fans hope heading into a make-or-break 2014 for the squad.
Tannehill completed all six of his passes for 62 yards and one touchdown in limited action, but looked quite sharp during his first live action of 2014. Tannehill threw the ball with accuracy and touch on the team’s 10 play, 73 yard drive to open the game. Tannehill capped off the drive by finding slot receiver Brandon Gibson in the flat for a six-yard touchdown for the game’s first points of the night.
We seemed to see a different player leading Miami’s offense Friday night.
Last season, Tannehill looked a bit timid and seemed to lack the confidence in himself to lead his own offense down the field. Friday we saw a much more confident and poise player standing in the pocket and delivering the ball with tough and quick throws.
With the weapons Tannehill has at his disposal in 2014, if he can continue to progress, Miami fans should be quite excited.
He certainly seems as though he is on the right track entering the 2014 season. His strong performance should be an eye opener for some fans who doubt whether or not he has “it.”
The former first-round pick struggled in 2013 due to an inconsistent package surrounding him on offense due to injuries and downright awful offensive line play. That being said, Miami’s offense is much improved heading into the 2014 season. The team has a total new identity upfront along the offensive line with LT Branden Albert, LG Daryn Colledge, C Samson Satele/Mike Pouncey (PUP List), RG Dallas Thomas/Shelley Smith/Billy Turner and RT Ja’Wuan James. The unit is much stronger than Miami’s 2013 version and should be able to at least cut the 58 sacks allowed in 2013 in half.
At running back, the team still has some concerns, but RB Lamar Miller looked solid Friday night picking up 11 yards on four carries, while Mike Gillislee received the bulk of the work rushing for 30 yards on eight carries. With RB Knowshon Moreno coming off the PUP List recently, the team is in a much better situation at running back.
Miami is stout at the receiver position and may be forced to cut some solid young talent. We know WRs Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline and Jarvis Landry will all be on the team come September, but with Brandon Gibson, Rishard Matthews, Stephen Williams, Damian Williams, Armon Binns and other vying for five or six roster spots, some good talent will be set free.
Tight end is perhaps the most concerning position for Miami heading into 2014, but the young talent along the roster should begin to develop as the season progresses. With Charles Clay, Dion Sims, Arthur Lynch, Gator Hoskins, Michael Egnew and Kyle Miller, the team may keep four tight ends and stash one on the practice squad.
In order for Tannehill to continue to look as sharp as he did Friday night, his backs and tight ends will need to step up and begin to develop on the fly.