Written by Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel
I've become convinced Miami Dolphins fans have battered wife syndrome when it comes to quarterback talk.
Anytime anyone objectively discusses a Dolphins quarterback since Dan Marino South Florida fans become ultra sensitive. Their panties get in a bunch because they feel like their franchise's SUPPOSED savior is under attack.
South Florida fans have seen so much failure and mediocrity from that position - with Chad Pennington being the lone exception since Marino - they can't handle discussing Miami's quarterbacks.to edit.
So when a group of NFL insiders privately ranked the league's starting quarterbacks for ESPN and placed Tannehill in tier three, as quarterback No. 23 in the NFL heading into the 2014 season, there was local outrage.
How dare Tannehill be considered by league coaches, GMs, executives and scouts the NFL's 23rd best quarterback?
Nevermind Tannehill was actually statistically rated the NFL's 24th best quarterback last season based on his production in year two as an NFL starter.
Ignore what he's done because Dolphins fans will excuse last year's performance (60.4 completion percentage, 24 touchdowns and 17 interceptions) on the O-line, the lack of a running game, his weaponry, poor coaching, the defense, or how the moon was aligned with the stars on Sundays.
It is never ever the quarterbacks fault he threw half a dozen interceptions in the season finale against the New York Jets, preventing the Dolphins from reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Coincidentally, I addressed this very same topic in a column back in May, carefully placing Tannehill as quarterback No. 22, and explaining why in this column.
Nobody is saying Tannehill can't, or won't do better in year three as an NFL starter, or in year one of a new spread offense being installed by Bill Lazor.
He can, and I'm optimistic this will be his best season as an NFL starter. But how far up the list can he go?
Right now Tannehill is NFL QB number 20-25, that's his starting block.
The ESPN insiders puts Tannehill in the same company as Cam Newton (16), Jay Cutler (17), Alex Smith (18), Andy Dalton and Robert Griffin III (tied for 19). And he's behind Carson Palmer and Sam Bradford (tied for 21st).
He's ahead of Josh McCown (24th), Matt Schaub (25th), Chad Henne (26th....yeah, I'm chuckling), EJ Manuel (27), Matt Cassel (28), Brian Hoyer (29), Ryan Fitzpatrick (30), Jake Locker (31) and Geno Smith (32) when it comes to present day starters, which doesn't factor in the rookie class yet, or backups like Michael Vick and Christian Ponder who will probably get their shot again.
You can move one or two quarterbacks up or down your personal rankings however you'd like, but no matter how you slice it there's no way to objectively move Tannehill into the top 20.
And if Tannehill finishes 2014 and still isn't considered a top 20 quarterback hopefully the Dolphins reassess the franchise's position with that position, and starts shopping for a new one.
If there's one thing Dolphins should have learned in life after Marino it is that a mediocre quarterback will take this franchise nowhere.