It is extremely easy to look back and say the Dolphins knew exactly what they were doing, but even for people who doubted the move to Tannehill is anyone still upset? I know when the season first ended last year we were all hyped up at the chance to get Matt Flynn in here as our future quarterback, but somehow I think people feel better now at how things have turned out.
We cried for a short time when Jeff Fisher chose the St. Louis Rams instead of taking over as head coach for the hapless Dolphins. Jeff Ireland and Stephen Ross went out and got Joe Philbin instead. To be honest, at the time, I was quite ok with Philbin coming in to take over, but I too thought this meant for sure Matt Flynn was the future of the Dolphins. That did not last long obviously when he decided to sign with the Seattle Seahawks. By the way, how is that working out now?
So instead the Dolphins treaded into the draft and took whom they saw as their best future, Ryan Tannehill. At the time I actually knew almost nothing about him as a player. I was aware he didn’t play a whole lot in college and was not considered poised enough to be an NFL starting quarterback. I also knew his stock had been skyrocketing in the draft. When he was selected to be the next starting quarterback for the Dolphins I cannot say I was on either side.
6 games have passed now with Tannehill as our starting quarterback. How has he done thus far? How does he compare with some others as far as statistically? Obviously there are many intangibles we cannot measure but based on pure statistics let’s see how he stacks up. (All stats have been taken from www.Pro-Football-Reference.com)
So far Tannehill is 118-198 (59.6%), for 1,454 yards, 4 passing touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and 1 rushing touchdown. These stats are obviously just a small sampling, but what we can see is solid growth, a strong arm, and a few too many picks (which have been nonexistent the last 2 games).
I may be engaging in a small sacrilege here and I by no means intend to compare the two as a whole, but that being said, let’s look at the first 6 games started by Dan Marino. In his first starting 6 Marino went 101-181 (55.8%), for 1,318 yards, 12 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 1 rushing touchdown. Again I will state I am by no means calling Tannehill the inevitable Marino, but honestly the stats are not that far off except for Marino being a touchdown machine. He finished that year with 20 touchdowns in 11 games by the way, just something to remember later.
Let’s move onto Tom Brady in 2001. Brady in his first 6 starting went 120-190 (63.2%), for 1,273 yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and 0 rushing touchdowns. So again the touchdowns appear to be a little low for Tannehill, but: yards, percentage of completions, and interceptions are all pretty close.
Finally, just to throw another future hall of fame gunner into the mix I’ve chosen to go with Peyton Manning. In his first 6 starting games Manning went 113-210 (53.8%), for 1,364 yards, 6 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and 0 rushing touchdowns. I think it is easy to see that this is a great example of how much better Tannehill can get.
I am not saying Tannehill will be as great as Marino, Brady, or Manning ever. He may be a complete washout, he may be as good as they are or were, or he may be better. Only time will truly tell us how he’ll progress, but especially looking at Manning’s rookie numbers I feel pretty confident with my QB under center. Some rookie QBs are doing exactly what they were expected to do, and some are doing better or worse. Somehow through all of the rookies Tannehill is silently sitting in the shadows outperforming the experts and leading the Dolphins to victory.