There might not be another football player in South Florida that stirs up more of a reaction than the Miami Dolphins signal-caller Ryan Tannehill.
In the four years, Tannehill has played in Miami, he’s never won a playoff game. He’s never had a winning season. He’s also never been mentioned with the 15 best quarterbacks in the league. In spite of all the lack of accomplishments he’s managed to have in his career, Tannehill draws the type of reaction from people around Miami that will leave you with a strong opinion.
A lot of people around the city don’t feel that Tannehill is an elite quarterback or he never will become one. However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, a lot of other people feel that Tannehill is on his way to becoming an elite quarterback but just needs the right pieces around him in order to show it.
Then you’ve got the people around the city who don’t know what to feel about Tannehill.
“I’ve made the statements about them [the coaches] babying him thus far through his career. It’s like he’s been handcuffed. I’ve played with Brett [Favre], I’ve played with Aaron [Rodgers], I’ve played with great quarterbacks. So, you can assess, and you can quickly tell if one has it or not. It’s been difficult for me to even tell if [Tannehill] has it or not, because he hasn’t been given liberty. I’m just being honest, like simple checks at the line of scrimmage are not in his control. Until the end of the season, when there was a coordinator change, he was not allowed to check out of a play.”
– Greg Jennings
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Greg Jennings said those words to Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless when he was on ESPN’s First Take.
Is Jennings right? Were the former Dolphins coaching staff holding Tannehill back? Could he become an elite quarterback in the league in the next few years?
From what we’ve seen from Tannehill, the answer is that he’s got a world of talent and he can become one of the better quarterbacks in the league. Tannehill’s got escape ability which already separates him from a majority of his peers at quarterback. Additionally, he’s gotten much better when it comes to his accuracy. This season against the Houston Texans, Tannehill set an NFL record for consecutive completions when he completed 25 straight passes.
For all of the people who demonize his game and take shots at his potential, it’s fine. The Dolphins have to put together a stable system around his game including a better offensive line, a more running game, and a coaching staff that will cater and use his skill set.
“This is no knock on Ryan. This is not Ryan’s choice. He wants to be free. He wants to have that freedom, that liberty at the line of scrimmage, as most quarterbacks do. When you show your quarterback that you trust him, you give him freedom.”
– Greg Jennings
In the upcoming season, Tannehill is entering the second year of the six-year, $77 million contract extension that he signed last May. For the Dolphins they’re betting on the bank that Tannehill will not only live up to his contract extension but also outperform it.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.