Written by Matthew Cannata at 8:00 AM EST | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
Many people say that when an NFL quarterback enters his third year of his career, they usually break out and become a star player if that’s what their abilities hold for them. For Ryan Tannehill, his third season has been pretty remarkable despite a shaky start to the season.
“I think that, if you’re going to play quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, you’ve got to be a good decision maker. I think his decision making has been improving especially as of late,” Joe Philbin said. “The second thing you’ve got to be here is you’ve got to be an accurate passer. I think his completion percentage has steadily been increasing, which is obviously a positive. The last thing is you’ve got to be able to make plays and he’s been able to make plays both in the passing game and with his feet. I think the last three weeks he’s had pretty good production running the football, not that we’re going to run him 19 times a game. Those plays, when a quarterback can gain first downs or gain six, seven, eight yards with his feet, those can help you an awful lot.”
Cameron Wake says that he’s been blessed that he’s been able to watch Tannehill grow up right in front of his eyes every day in the classroom and on the practice field.
“I’ve been blessed and tasked at the same time of watching him transition and grow into a premiere quarterback. I mean from the day he got here, I’ve gotten to see every snap he’s taken and watching him literally week by week improve on the quarterback that he is, the leader that he is and the general of that offense. So now my job every day, actually just got off the field, running around chasing him, trying to make it as difficult for him as possible on Monday through Saturday afternoon so that on Sunday he can go out there and shine. So you can literally watch from week to week from the moment he’s gotten here, he’s gotten better and better and obviously I expect even more big things from him in the future.”
Jarvis Landry, who just started playing with Tannehill this year, said he’s most impressed with his athletic ability to not only escape sacks in the pocket, but to also use his legs and gain quite a bit of yardage running the ball.
“It’s great to put that on film. It’s great to add another threat to what we can do as an offense. As far as him extending plays, a lot of times we extend plays and still throw the ball. It’s one of those things that defenses can’t really prepare for. At the same time, it’s something that they have to prepare for, whether he decides to run the ball or if it’s going to be a run for him or not.”
There were many questions about Tannehill when he came out of college due to the fact that he played wide receiver in his freshman and sophomore season before being moved back to his original position – quarterback. However, Philbin said he didn’t look at that and instead, looked a whether or not he was a football player.
“We liked the fact he was a football player. Kind of a term we like to use down here is the guy is a football player. That and his background, it was kind of an indication to us that he’s a football player. He’s a competitor. He goes out there and competed at two different positions in college. Now, the focus has to be to get a guy ready to play quarterback in the National Football League. You really have to hone his skills and devote all his time and energy to that.”