It amazes me how quickly “fans” can turn on a player. Not just in Miami. I mean in Cleveland, they had a right to throw Lebron James jerseys in a urinal and lay waste to his name. While you won’t find much love for Trent Green or Daunte Culpepper in Miami, it is shocking to see how many fans are crawling back out of the wall like roaches to scream holy terror and giving up on rookie QB Ryan Tannehill.
A quick refresh will remind a lot of people that Tannehill was the HS QB turned college WR turned college QB for all of 19 starts. Fans will remember that Tannehill wasn’t drafted number 1 overall like Andrew Luck who clearly came with a higher degree of upside or 2nd overall like Robert Griffin, III with his ability to run at will or pass deep. No, Ryan Tannehill was the prospect with a ton of upside and just as much risk.
A risk that fans mind you, have been screaming for the Dolphins to take since the mid-90′s.
Now, here we are ten weeks into the season and Tannehill who started the season as a goat and grew into a hero is back to being a goat. The fans have stopped calling him TanningWill and instead simply calling for Matt Moore and Jeff Ireland’s head. Message boards all over the internet have at least one if not two or more threads about getting Tannehill out. What’s funny is they will quickly point to last weekends Chad Henne 4 TD performance or Monday nights Colin Kaepernick performance.
Chad Henne? Really?
The truth is most fans don’t know what they want. Or they do but don’t realize what it takes to get there. They want a rookie QB to sit on a bench and watch unless he can get on the field and win. The problem is what does that player learn in year one to prepare him for year two? Not field experience. Not real life game experience. When he enters the sophomore season he is still almost like a rookie. The reality is you either take your shot and play him year one or you bench him and hope that by year three he is ready to play like a veteran.
Fans, most of them, don’t understand that. In fact they don’t understand that turning a perennial loser around takes more than a fix at QB. It takes more than firing the GM, hiring a new HC, and changing personnel through free agency. What if that team doesn’t have the money to dip heavily into the FA pool? In that case, they have to roll with the rookies and take their chances on third and fourth level free agents. Or they are like the Miami Dolphins.
I suppose it’s human nature really. Fans don’t want the QB that has potential, they want the QB who is taking the league by storm. Even when you know that the other guy was gone long before you got to the party. It’s the neighbors wife who lays in her backyard half naked while your wife walks around in thick pajamas and knits. Yeah, hello, I want that one. But you can’t have it both ways.
Looking at this years draft, your choices are simple. Ryan Tannehill, Brandon Weeden, and Russell Wilson. Wilson isn’t playing head and shoulders above Tannehill and Weeden is on a team that has won two games. There is a reality and fictional version of Neverland. The Dolphins were never going to land Andrew Luck.
For a lot of fans, it’s easier to whine, bitch, and moan, because it makes you feel better. It puts you on the “I was right all along” road if things don’t inevitably work out, and if they do, then most simply say, “hey that wasn’t me! I supported him all along. I only pointed out that he struggled”. The fact that the home stadium is still blatantly empty can be immediately traced to the Dolphins record, lack of confidence in the team, and the inability of the Dolphins to draw a face to the franchise.
Ryan Tannehill will have to earn his place and he very well may. RT has already shown a tremendous ability to understand the game at this level. What he is failing as it late in the game when it rides on his shoulders. A criticism he faced coming out of college. The reality, again there is one, is this is a guy with limited starts under his belt compared to guys like Luck who have started year after year. There are bound to be hiccups along the way.
While those hiccups are becoming more and more clear, especially given the last three weeks of play, it should be noted that it’s not like the Dolphins as a whole are playing well and the only missing piece is the QB spot. Defensively the Dolphins have been in good position but have failed to get off the field. Especially on 3rd down. The corners are getting toasted and the penalties on special teams are backing Tannehill and the offense into deep holes. To say nothing of the non-existent running game.
Reggie Bush is clearly the most electrifying player on offense. The problem is he can’t hit a hole without stopping, looking at a map, folding it up, and then taking the ball up field. A stellar player moving laterally, Bush struggles hitting the line with any true force and bursting through the holes that are given.
As few and far between they are of late.
While the right side of the line is playing much better, the left is not. The anchor of the line is the left side and Jake Long can’t contain a block and Richie Incognito isn’t taking control either. It’s putting Tannehill in bad positions with little time and when a rookie is in that position, he makes mistakes. Sometimes big ones.
So while some fans ridicule the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill for his play on the field, perhaps a lesson in what happens when the supporting cast falls apart is warranted. Ryan Tannehill is young and inexperienced and will make mistakes when the little bit of talent around him fails.
Just like Andrew Luck last week against the Patriots.