Ryan Tannehill: Injury Could Ruin Sunday's Rookie Clash with Andrew Luck

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 28:   Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins drops back to pass as  Bryan Thomas #58 of the New York Jets defends on October 28, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins was supposed to be a clash of promising rookie quarterbacks and a barometer for the progression of each in their debut campaigns.

And it still may be. But according to the Associated Press (via ESPN), Ryan Tannehill is currently battling injuries that might keep him from playing:

He left Sunday's victory over the New York Jets in the first quarter with left knee and thigh injuries, and practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Tannehill wore a brace and thigh-to-ankle sleeve on his left leg. He participated in passing drills, but backup Matt Moore took the snaps with the starters at the beginning of team drills, while Pat Devlin worked with the second team.

Tannehill was cleared to practice after undergoing an MRI exam. He declined to predict whether he'll be able to play Sunday.

Early on this season, it's clear that, while the Colts have given Andrew Luck more freedom to cut loose in their offense (288 passing attempts to Tannehill's 203), the two are experiencing similar bumps in the road associated with rookie quarterbacks. A quick look at their numbers might surprise you:

  • Ryan Tannehill: 1,472 passing yards, four touchdowns (and one rushing score), six interceptions, 59.1 completion percentage, 75.8 passer rating
  • Andrew Luck: 1,971 passing yards, eight touchdowns (and three rushing scores), eight interceptions, 55.6 completion percentage, 74.6 passer rating.

Obviously, anybody who watches the game closely would tell you that Luck is the better overall player early on. He makes solid reads, steps up in the pocket like a wily old veteran and occasionally will make a throw that seems well beyond his years.

But Tannehill hasn't been chopped liver. According to ESPN Stats and Information, he's been fantastic in Miami's play-action game, "posting a league-high 96.1 Total QBR on such plays." We know he's a very good athlete and has a live arm. He's not as polished as Luck yet, but he's been pretty good for a rookie.

And hey, don't look now but this game actually has playoff implications, as both teams come into the week with 4-3 records. Who would've thought that this meeting might actually matter in the AFC's postseason picture before the year began?

If you're raising your hand, put it down—nobody believes you.

Still, any time you get a chance to see two top-10 quarterbacks battle in their rookie seasons, that's the storyline that will steal the show. That's what we want to see. If Tannehill is good to go, you can bet the pair of young signal-callers will be compared during the game and in the analysis after.

If he can't, I guess we'll have to talk about players like Reggie Wayne, Reggie Bush and playoff implications.

And that just seems like much less fun.

Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets are clutch like Romo. Sergio Romo, that is.

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