Every year, ESPN's Ron Jaworski ranks all of the quarterbacks in the NFL from the worst to the best, and it usually creates a lot of controversy...and this time was no exception. Sit down and get comfortable everyone, I have a little story to tell all of you.
The other day I was listening to TheFinsiders, getting in my Dolphins fix and having something in the background to listen to while I got some more work done. The next thing I know, I hear the show's host, Greg Likens, reading that ESPN's Ron Jaworski had ranked Ryan Tannehill as the 17th best quarterback in the NFL.
Now this in itself wasn't even the issue I had with the ranking. The moment I had an issue was the same moment I saw that QBs like Colin Kaepernick and Andy Dalton were ranked above Tannehill. Dalton in particular. This unhealthy obsession with Andy Dalton by the national media is bordering on insanity if you ask me. There's only one thing that keeps Dalton ahead of Tannehill on these lists, and I know what it is. The Bengals have made the playoffs, the Dolphins haven't.
But while I was annoyed, I wasn't yet enraged. That came merely a few minutes later, when someone interacted with me via Twitter and essentially said that Dalton should be ahead of Tannehill, because he's led the Bengals to the playoffs for every year he's been in the NFL.
The hot button was pressed.
It's time like these that I wish Twitter didn't force you to keep yourself at 140 characters. I tried to educate this man on how things were really supposed to work, I tried to explain to this man that Andy Dalton has had a top offensive line protecting him, very good running backs, a top WR in A.J. Green, a very serviceable TE in Jermaine Gresham, and of course a defense that knows what it's doing.
He continued to talk about how Dalton led the Bengals to victories and how much the team followed his lead, and he had a better record than Tannehill and thus he deserved to be there. No excuses he said. At that point, I bowed out and let the man stay in his Magical QB World, because those individuals are blind to the truth of football and have no interest in learning it.
Those types of people are some of the most infuriating individuals in the world to me. They truly believe that the record of a team is all you need to look at to determine how good a QB is. So let me ask those people this? Tim Tebow led the Denver Broncos to the playoffs in 2011, is he better than Ryan Tannehill too? If they say yes, never talk to those people again, they are clinically insane.
If you want to look at Ryan Tannehill and say he hasn't made the playoffs, that's fine. That much is a fact. BUT...you need to leave it at that unless you're willing to ANALYZE and see WHY he hasn't made the playoffs. It's lazy to just cite QB rating and wins and losses, there's ALWAYS an underlying reason as to why a team succeeds or fails.
And make no mistake, sometimes the quarterback IS to blame! Take a look at the Buffalo Bills, they are a perfect example of a team that has everything they need except a quarterback. They have a potentially top 5 defense, LeSean McCoy at RB, a young WR corps that features rising youngster Sammy Watkins, and a decent offensive line waiting to protect their QB. But they don't have one.
The Dolphins are not in the same boat as the Bills. You can see the potential that Ryan Tannehill has flashed, and that's with a terrible offensive line, wide receivers that don't fit his skillset, and - up until last year - a coaching staff that didn't try to utilize his athleticism and his ability as a dual-threat.
So when people say this year that Tannehill has taken the next step, they will probably say that he's improved and that now the Dolphins really do have a franchise quarterback. While I'll enjoy hearing it, even then I won't be able to truthfully say that's what it is. What's really happened is that now he has pieces around him that fit what he's good at.
A team is like a puzzle. If you have all the pieces in place, you can win a Super Bowl. Ask the Seattle Seahawks what being a team means. The 2012 San Francisco 49ers are another example of this. They had an incredible team, but lots of people credited Colin Kaepernick as an upcoming top QB. The next two years of his career were incredibly disappointing as his team had gone elsewhere.
This is the exact reason that the Indianapolis Colts - despite everything they've done to give Andrew Luck new weapons - still won't win a Super Bowl. There's STILL no good O-line, there's STILL no defense, and thus, they will fail once they run into a more complete team. Relying on your QB is not enough, you need to put pieces around him on BOTH sides of the ball, or the team will flop.
I could go on forever but I've already made my point several times over. The unfortunate part about columns like this is that you wind up getting kudos from your friends and boring your "enemies" to the point where they just tune you out. Nevertheless, I will continue to attempt to educate these people. People need to be made aware of how things really work, and eventually they will be forced to admit they were wrong. The truth always comes to light, and this year is likely the year it happens.
This column was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
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