Ryan Tannehill is doing more than simply practicing, he is laying the foundation to lead. The Dolphins are conducting their first rookie mini-camp this weekend and already Tannehill has been the focus as expected. While this is simply a mini-camp, something glaring stood out to me while listening to his post-practice interview on Friday.
Tannehill was asked if he was teaching. Ryan T. answered yes.
The reality here is that Tannehill already knows the Dolphins offense, or at least by his own admission, 80 – 85% of it. To see him out there on day as it was stated, teaching the other offensive rookies how to run the plays made me realize that his step up into the NFL level could come to put him into that leadership role that the Dolphins have lacked since Chad Pennington.
This is not to say that Ryan T. is going to be the starter on opening day. While Joe Philbin has made it clear there is no timetable for him to start and that the best man will win the job outright between David Garrard, Matt Moore, and Tannehill, the fact that Tannehill is already stepping up to teach the offense bodes well for his standing with the other players and soon it will cement himself with the veterans.
Once the Dolphins have their full team in line to practice, Tannehill will be in a similar situation with the holdover vets from last season and any new members the team has or will add. It will give him the opportunity to stand up and lead the team. By teaching the offense to his teammates, he sets himself up to be that go to guy that the players will turn to and eventually trust to follow.
Tannehill himself has said he is not a “rah rah” kind of player but instead leads by example. The first step to accomplishing that is gaining the attention of the players surrounding you. Tannehill is taking cautious strides already to make that happen.