Written by Matthew Cannata at 9:50 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
On Sunday, Ryan Tannehill will start his 40th NFL game as quarterback and this week, he took some time to reflect on his career so far and where he’s evolved since his college days at Texas A&M University, where he played wide receiver his first two years before being moved back to quarterback. However, Tannehill isn’t complaining about the position change during that time.
“Well I redshirted as a quarterback and then my redshirt freshmen year, we still had Stephen McGee there. And I was going to be a backup quarterback. And they asked me, we were thin at receiver, if I would want to catch some passes. The next day at practice, I went out, I did. Had some success, caught like three touchdowns that day. Then two days later, I was in the starting line up at receiver. So that was kind of a fast transition, but I learned a lot and had a lot of fun.”
Fast forward to his NFL days and Tannehill was the rookie in the 2011 draft class with so much potential but also the most unpolished, due to the fact he had limited experience at the quarterback position in college. Since that time though, he has not shown too many signs of having that inexperience and has transitioned nicely into the NFL.
“Well yeah, you know it’s a tough position. But I’m excited about the strides I’m making and the progress that this team has shown with the new offense and the potential that we have. Obviously we can’t go out and play like we did last week. We didn’t perform well in any facet of the game. But I’m excited about the opportunity, the rest of the season we have to go out and play well.”
This season, Tannehill has run the ball a lot more, thus taking advantage of his athleticism and speed. It has proven to throw defenses off balance and has been a key component of the Dolphins winning their last three of four football games.
“Well it’s a part of our run game. You know it’s just playing what you see. We do a lot of zone reads, a lot of different styles of zone reads. And you know we never know how a team is going to play us and you just have to play what you see. Keep the backside honest and fortunately enough, I’ve had some opportunities to make some big plays with my legs. But, like I’ve said several times, you never know how it’s going to turn out in a game or if you’re going to get the opportunity. You just have to take advantage of it when it’s there. I think it is a good changeup for us. (We) had some big plays, some explosive plays for us on drives. Kept some drives going, and it’s been a good thing. I’ll am willing to do anything to keep the chains moving.”
Tannehill credits Bill Lazor this year for his attention to detail and the fact that he’s always pushing him to be better and to never be satisfied with his success. That meshes well with Tannehill’s thinking process when he says that he is just focused on the things he can improve every day, even after 39 starts.
““It’s gone by fast. It’s gone by really fast. You know it’s been a great time and I see the opportunities this team has in front of us. We have a lot of football left and I’m excited to see what this season holds for us. At this point in the season, I don’t look back and look at where I was and where I am now. I’m just focused on the things I can improve every day. Working on this offense and what I can do each and every play to execute.”