I hope this letter finds you well. As you know, the Dolphins have already undergone a number of changes since we last saw you on the field. But I want to push that to the side for a second. Whether most Dolfans want to admit it or not, you deserve a proper goodbye. Not a dishonest goodbye that sings your praises, nor one filled with unwarranted, cruel insults, and obscenities. One that truly outlines where you started, where you've been, and where we are. You (and Dolfans) deserve this and I will do my best to deliver.
Remember how you felt just before the 2012 draft? I recall there being so much buzz swirling about the Fins having the 8th pick and if a franchise QB might be available to us. Andrew Luck and RG3 were surefire locks at 1 and 2,but, you were the one that intrigued many. Your 6'4 frame and natural athletic talent in propelled you, in the eyes of most draft experts, as the 3rd best QB in the draft. Sure...you had some areas of concern which included the fact that you were still learning the position (transitioning from WR). But that made you an even more interesting prospect. If you became the 3rd ranked QB with limited experience at the position, imagine what you could be with a knowledgeable coach who excelled in developing individuals at that position? Anyways, it took 7 picks but there you were, right in front of us....OUR FRANCHISE QB! You became the 1st quarterback to be drafted in the 1st round by the Fins since Dan Marino.
DAN BLEEPING MARINO!
Before I bring up your rookie season, I want to make something clear. I am making a point to say thank you at certain points in your career (This being the first). On 8/20/12, you were named the starter by Coach Philbin (Beating out David Garrard). I could only imagine the excitement you felt being named the 17th starting QB in franchise history. And I want to thank your for that. Looking back, I have seen guys like Chad Henne, Daunte Culpepper, AJ Feely and more start games for the Fins. Whether or not you were a hall of fame QB or average QB, you provided stability at a position that the Miami Dolphins lacked for years.
Thank you Ryan.
So picking things back up from there, you are getting ready to start the season With Joe Philbin as your Head Coach and Mike Sherman (Your former college HC) as your offensive coordinator. This was done to make things easier for you and help you early on. Looking back on this, I realize this was a not just a one time situation.
You completed your rookie season and there were as many ups as there was downs. Your first game was one to forget (You finished with 219 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions in the 30–10 loss to the Texans). But, you accomplished some pretty amazing milestones as well. here are some:
- You set the record for the longest run by a QB for 31 yards (previous was Pat White with 30)
- You became the 5th QB in franchise history to pass for over 3,000 yards in a season
- You set a franchise record for rookie QBs in passing yards, pass attempts, and completions
For the first time since Marino, you gave us excitement at the position.
In your second year, there are honestly only 2 things that I personally remember. One was that Week 2 win in Indianapolis against the Andrew Luck led Colts. I remember because It wad the first time in a while that I felt proud of my QB for beating the top pick from his draft. I truly felt it was a statement win for you...I really did. But, the second thing I remember from this season was the amount of times you were sacked. I'm sure you remember, but for the sake of the article, you were sacked a whopping 58 times...58! It was brutal! But every sack you took, you bounced right up and played through whatever pain you endured that season.
For that, Thank You Ryan.
In your 3rd season, your former college head coach and NFL offensive coordinator Mike Sherman was fired and Bill Lazor was hired. You needed to learn a new offense and build a relationship with new coach. I will never know how challenging it was,but you took on the challenge and did not complain one bit. In the opener, you beat Tom Brady and the Patriots which immediately got me pumped up for the season! However it didn't last and we ended the season with a loss to the NY Jets and missed the playoffs.
Just part of the growing process right?
Despite not making the playoffs, you were offered and signed a 6 year $96 million extension with the Dolphins. I, like other Fins fans, had my reservations about this. But lets' be honest, your offensive line was bad, your surrounding pieces weren't great, and you endured a tough recent OC coaching change. You were given the benefit of the doubt Ryan.
Looking back, we committed too quickly. At times you showed some flashes and potential of being "The Guy" but at other times you struggled with simple miscues softened by excuses. But, we bought in because we remembered the QB prison we lived in before you.
The season following the extension, you teased us yet again...Shame on you Ryan.
You set the all-time NFL record for consecutive completed passes with 25, completing your first 18 passes of the game and the final 7 of his previous game. You also became the 64th quarterback in NFL history to post a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, you became the 4th QB in NFL history to throw for over 3,000 yards in your first 4 seasons in the league.
But despite your individual accomplishments, the Dolphins finished 6-10 and missed the playoffs.
After this, the team was at a cross road. Especially after the faith put in in the form of an extension with no playoff appearances to show for it.
But as the theme continued through your career, you never had a "True" supporting cast and an offensive line. This was when the cosmic divide between DolFans truly began...
RT supporters-People who sold their mortgage and BELIEVED you can carry this team deep in the playoffs
RT Opposers-Those who saw through the flashes and stats and wanted a backup plan(or at least solid competition to elevate your play) or even wanted you out.
This was a pivotal point in your career.
In 2016, the Miami Dolphins brought in QB guru Adam Gase to be your head coach. Adam worked with the Great Peyton Manning and was specifically hired for you. He was supposed to be the key to unlock your success...
Supposed to be...
After a rough 1-4 start, you rallied the troops and helped put the Dolphins in a position to clinch a playoff spot. Then,your first major NFL injury occurred. Calais Campbell injured your leg and because of this, you could not play in your first playoff game (Despite being a big reason why we were in that position). Miami ended up making the playoffs with Matt Moore and lost but one point was clear...RYAN TANNEHILL CAN LEAD US TO THE PLAYOFFS. Especially with a supporting cast and a strong offensive line.
Despite the injury, it was clear you earned the respect of the team and the fans based on your performance and your determination to come back for that playoff game. You were OUR quarterback.
In 2017, you tore your ACL on a freakish non contact play in training camp which led to you missing the season. This led to the Jay Cutler experiment. (For your sake and mine, lets gloss over this).
Then came this past season (Your most pivotal and career defining season). We were all excited to see the big payoff. You seemed to break out of your shell, tweeting and interacting with fans on a level that you didn't before. The expectations were high as we held on to how you last performed in 2016. You showed us that you could be that franchise QB that can led us to the playoffs. And now that you were healthy, its time to put it all together...Right?
Coach Gase made things worse by not holding you accountable and protecting you from criticism. Fair or not, the perspective around the league and in Miami was that you have been coddled for far too long. Players were fed up with being blamed for your short comings.
Fair or not, this ultimately destroyed you in Miami.
We failed to make the playoffs, Coach Gase and Tannenbaum were fired, and now here we are. You are sitting and waiting to see how the front office and coaching staff will be built. And you await your ultimate fate.
Ryan, you need to know that this isn't personal. I truly do think that the backlash and frustration you have heard and felt is coming from a passionate place in fans. Fair or not, you were supposed to be the leader of this franchise when you signed that contract. But in the end, you couldn't meet the expectations set fourth of you. I admit that some were lofty and probably unattainable, but a lot of this blame has to be shouldered by you.
And honestly, now is the time...
Thank you for things like the Miamiracle, the records you set, and the consistency you provided for this franchise at the position. But its time for you to move on and start fresh somewhere else. This is something you need, but most importantly, what the Miami Dolphins needs to build towards a successful future.
Good Luck Ryan Tannehill.
This story was written by Carlos Camacho. Follow him on Twitter: @DolfansVoice
Latest Dolphins News