There is no debate that Ryan Tannehill had a miserable rookie debut. You can sugarcoat it and twist his performance around any way you like, but the proof was in the pudding in his season opener. Throwing three interceptions and zero touchdowns with an overall passer rating of 39 is terrible. But in my opinion, this was somewhat expected, right? Unfortunately, the NFL has become a “win now” league and the Dolphins’ fans already have unrealistic expectations for Tannehill in week two against the Oakland Raiders.
It’s a difficult task for any rookie QB to perform well going on the road against a very good Houston Texans defense. Considering his lack of playmaking receivers and a skeptical right side of the offensive line, did you actually think he was going to light up that Texans’ secondary? Besides, other than Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, all of the other rookie QBs struggled in their season opener as well.
Regardless, Monday was filled with many angry fans blogging and calling sports talk radio stations screaming that the sky is falling because of Tannehill’s poor debut. Apparently our number eight overall pick in this year’s draft has several flaws and is already a bust after just one game. Frustrated fans were claiming he stares down his receivers and telegraphs his passes. His throwing motion is poor and he has a hard time finding passing lanes. If Tannehill had a flaw, it was brought to the table for everyone to discuss.
We are only entering the second week of the season and the fan base has already created a “must win” situation for Tannehill. People have argued that he should have a much better performance considering it’s a home game going up against a non-playoff team in the Raiders. Fans are practically expecting for Tannehill to fix his flaws overnight and play well in week two. To many fans, it’s already a win or bust situation for him.
Heaven forbid if he has another bad outing against the Raiders. Sports media will be ripping him apart and most fans will be ready to throw in the Tannehill towel. But is it fair to have such high expectations for our rookie quarterback so early in the season?
Today’s fans are impatient and expect all quarterbacks to have great rookie seasons as Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, or Andy Dalton. Thanks to explosive rookie performances like Cam Newton had last year, it’s hard for us to not want an instant winner right out of the gate. As much as we want Tannehill to become an explosive fantasy football QB this season, that will most likely not happen. Based on the talent and weapons around him, Tannehill’s performance will be limited and he is destined to struggle due to his inexperience.
Whether you have acknowledged this or not, the Miami Dolphins are rebuilding. They continue to experiment with several unproven receivers who are still trying to learn this West Coast Offense as Legedu Naanee, Anthony Armstrong, Marlon Moore, and yes, even Brian Hartline. As a rookie right tackle, Jonathan Martin is going to miss blocking assignments and he will single handedly give up several sacks this year. These factors will limit the success for any rookie QB.
So back away from the ledge, take a deep breath, and have a seat. Start creating some realistic expectations knowing that Tannehill will struggle in his rookie season, just like Peyton and Eli Manning, John Elway, and Troy Aikman. I’m not claiming that Tannehill will be a Super Bowl winning QB, but we need to at least be patient with him this year.
Like a clumsy puppy accidentally making a mess, expect Tannehill to make rookie mistakes. He’s going to throw interceptions. He will take unnecessary sacks instead of just throwing the ball away. He will fumble snaps in critical situations. This is inevitable and it all starts again this weekend against the Raiders. Regardless of what happens in week two, Dolphins’ fans need to stay positive and remain supportive of our QB. Patience is a virtue and we should use this time to enjoy watching him grow and develop into our franchise quarterback…hopefully.