Ryan Tannehill turned 27 years old today, and what better birthday gift can we give him than mentioning kudos and kind words from one of the all-time best players in Miami Dolphins history.
Okay, so maybe it’s not exactly the gift he was hoping for. C’est la vie, Ryan.
But in a recent interview with the Finsiders, former Dolphins and Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese offered his opinions of Miami’s current field general, noting some interesting parallels in his and Tannehill’s career paths.
When Griese was entering his fourth season in 1970, the Dolphins were in the midst of some moves that would change the face of the team for years to come. The year before, the Dolphins had sent their 1970 fifth round pick to the Patriots for future Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti. Then in the 1970 draft, they traded their top pick (third overall) to the Browns for wide receiver Paul Warfield. The top five remaining picks of that 1970 draft included tight end Jim Mandich, cornerbacks Tim Foley and Curtis Johnson, and safety Jake Scott.
Three weeks later, the team made arguably the best decision in their history, signing head coach Don Shula away from the Baltimore Colts (and creating a huge media controversy in the process). See any parallels there?
That 1970 team went 10-4 and made the playoffs, then went to the Super Bowl the next three straight seasons, winning twice, and culminating with the cementing of a legacy that other teams envy and Dolphins fans cherish - the Perfect Season of 1972.
Fast forward to 2015, and Ryan Tannehill is entering his fourth season. Recent drafts have been geared towards fortifying the offensive and defensive lines, and this offseason the team completely revamped the wide receiving corps. Fans and Harvard students alike are fully expecting the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl this year (shameless plug for my article on that subject here).
Okay, so maybe we don’t really expect the Dolphins to win it all this year, given that they’ve fallen short of making the playoffs in all three seasons of Tannehill’s young career. But expectations for the team are definitely higher than they’ve been in many years, and the excitement is palpable as we enter the preseason.
Griese sees the struggles of Tannehill’s first three seasons as a positive, giving Tannehill learning experiences that he can use as motivation, pushing himself and his teammates towards a winning season this year and beyond, in a manner similar to how that 1970 team took off. And from watching Tannehill, Griese is convinced that Tannehill is “going to be fine.”
“I’ve always said that you learn more from losing than you do from winning,” Griese said in his Finsiders interview. “Ryan is the type of guy that for every one of those losses he’s going to go back and say, ‘alright, why, how, and what did that defense do to us that the next one is going to do to us, and I’ve got to learn and be better from that.’
“I think he needs to be the go-to guy,” said Griese. “He needs to be the leader on the field. This is his fourth year, second year in this system, and he just needs to be the guy and carry everybody else, whereas before, (in) his first and second year, everyone was kind of carrying him along. When you’re in your fourth year and you’ve got some good players around you, there (are) high expectations, and I think Ryan knows that.
“And I think he’s ready.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
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