Ryan Tannehill: Why the Dolphins Should Be Worried About Rookie QB
While Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck continue to flourish in their first NFL preseasons, there is one fellow quarterback from the 2012 draft class who is having a bit more trouble achieving the same level of success.
Leading up to this year's draft, Ryan Tannehill was a conundrum. He didn't project as well as Luck or Griffin, mostly because he had extremely limited experience at Texas A&M, where he switched from quarterback to wide receiver and then back again.
The positives were that he was a great passer, he had some pretty gaudy numbers last season with the Aggies and he had the potential to be a lethal dual-threat quarterback. The big negative: His lack of experience made him a very risky selection.
The Dolphins decided the reward outweighed the risk and selected Tannehill with the eighth overall pick. And now, they're likely wondering if the rest of the world was right.
To say that Tannehill has struggled in the preseason would be an understatement. The Dolphins are 0-3 in exhibition play, and Tannehill has thrown for a single touchdown.
In the Dolphins' most recent loss, a 23-6 defeat at the hands of the Falcons, he went 11-of-27 for 112 yards, no touchdowns, a pick and a sack. His QB rating was 37.9. In the two games prior, his ratings were 60.1 (versus Carolina) and 106.6 (versus Tampa Bay).
Of course, his most recent flop is the biggest concern, seeing as how it came in the third week of the preseason—when he was most likely facing the closest thing to a first-string defense that he's seen thus far.
On Wednesday, Tannehill will get one more chance to give the Dolphins some hope: According to the Miami Herald's Armando Salguero, head coach Joe Philbin said the QB will play "a little bit" against Dallas.
Unfortunately, Tannehill's job just got a lot harder in light of the fact that left tackle Jake Long suffered a knee injury in Monday's practice, per Salguero.
None of this spells good news for Miami. Here's hoping that Wednesday's preseason finale, and Tannehill's performance, restores just a little bit of optimism.
This was a big draft for the Dolphins because they badly needed to come away with a quarterback they could begin building the team around for years to come. They need a quarterback who was going to help this team to compete instead of allowing the Jets and the Patriots to run away with the AFC East each season.
There was hope that that quarterback was Tannehill. After the last three weeks, though, the Dolphins aren't so sure.
Tannehill's struggles are even more infuriating considering the success that Luck and Griffin are having.
If they weren't playing so well, maybe we wouldn't be so concerned about Tannehill. But the fact that those two quarterbacks—the premier quarterbacks of the 2012 class—are succeeding only further illustrates the immense valley between them and Tannehill, even though they were selected only a few draft spots apart.
Should the Dolphins be worried about Tannehill?
We're used to seeing rookies struggle out of the gate, even if they were the highlights of their draft classes. It happened to Sam Bradford. It happened to Matthew Stafford. It was still happening to Alex Smith until about a year ago.
You certainly can't fully gauge a quarterback's potential for future success by watching him in a few preseason games, but the exhibition season does offer some indication of who has it and who doesn't. And right now, that indication says that Luck and Griffin should be alright, but Tannehill is going to be a disaster.
Still, it's just the preseason. And if Tannehill flops yet again on Wednesday, that's certainly what the Dolphins will be saying.
Saying it, though, doesn't make it true.
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