Ryan Tannehill has promise as an NFL quarterback.
There’s general agreement on the subject.
There’s also general agreement that he ranks somewhere near or in the bottom quarter of the league’s starters. There’s no reason for the Dolphins to panic, though – and they’re firm in their belief in Tannehill – because the game, quite frankly, is loaded at the position.
Don’t think so?
Never mind about the best of the bunch, for now. How about the likes of Cam Newton, Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Matt Stafford, Russell Wilson and Jay Cutler regarded as middle-of-the-pack quarterbacks, or only slightly better?
“There is tremendous depth at the position right now,” said NFL.com analyst Gil Brandt, who has been studying quarterbacks since he was a scout in the 1950s. “The young quarterbacks are coming in so well-prepared to play right away. They’ve been groomed for it from the time they play seven-on-seven in camps as kids.
“They aren’t as intimidated by the speed of the NFL game as rookies used to be.”
In few instances is the K-I-S-S theory (Keep It Simple, Stupid) more applicable than in studying the relationship between having a great quarterback and having a successful team in the NFL.
It’s all but a consensus that Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Denver’s Peyton Manning, New England’s Tom Brady and New Orleans’ Drew Brees are pro football’s Big Four quarterbacks. And one could do worse than to suggest the next Super Bowl champion will come from one of their teams.
Take the examination deeper to include, say, the dozen best quarterbacks in the NFL, and there’s an excellent chance both Super Bowl XLVIII teams will emerge from among the group including the aforementioned four plus ones led by Eli Manning (N.Y. Giants), Matt Ryan (Atlanta), Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh), Robert Griffin III (Washington), Joe Flacco (Baltimore), Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco), Andrew Luck (Indianapolis) and Matt Schaub (Houston).
Is it a chicken-and-egg thing? Which comes first? Does the quarterback make the team, or does the team make the quarterback?
“I don’t know how to answer that,” Brandt said, “but I don’t think a team can win a championship without a good quarterback no matter how good it is otherwise. Put it that way.”
What does it all mean for the Dolphins, who have a second-year quarterback in Tannehill? He paled in comparison to rookie classmates Griffin, Luck and Wilson last season.
“I’m a fan of the game,” Tannehill said. “I enjoy watching those guys. They did a great job. It’s not something where there is any more pressure on me. My motivation is winning. That’s the only motivation I need.”
Miami offensive coordinator Mike Sherman promised reporters in the spring that Tannehill “will be the most improved quarterback” in the NFL this season.
“It’s the quote of the year,” Sherman joked last week. “You guys won’t let me forget that.”
He then added that his boss, coach Joe Philbin, wouldn’t let him forget it, either. But that didn’t stop Sherman from lavishing Tannehill with more praise.
“I think Ryan Tannehill is a diligent, hard-working, intelligent, competitive man,” Sherman said. “I think every day he walks onto the field, he’s going to get better. I really do. I believe in Ryan Tannehill.”
But to what extent can Tannehill enhance his reputation? Can he improve his 58.3 percent completion rate? Can he throw for more than 3,294 yards? Can he substantially increase his touchdown-pass production (12) and reduce his interceptions (13)?
Can he make the Dolphins better than the 3-5 record they posted in games decided by seven or fewer points?
Can he go from being undistinguished to being an asset? Can he climb the NFL quarterback ladder?
“I don’t care about comparisons,” Tannehill said.
Nor should he, but it would be better for the Dolphins were Tannehill mentioned along the lines of a Newton or a Romo or a Rivers this season rather than along the lines of Carson Palmer or Josh Freeman or Brandon Weeden.
“I think his play speed has gotten better,” Philbin said. “That’s going to be important, starting fast. We talked to the team about playing fast when we go on the road.
“On the road, you can’t have hesitation or confusion at any stretch. You have to play decisive.”
Tannehill has to be the trigger for it, and quickly with Miami opening the season today in Cleveland and then going to Indianapolis next weekend.
He has to be better than just another quarterback if the Dolphins are to be better than just another team.http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/sport ... unl/nZp8T/