Dec 9, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) carries the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins Tannehill Still Fails To Close

Ryan Tannehill doesn’t know how to win yet.  I stress the word yet because he possesses all of the intangibles you want from a starting NFL QB.  He has very good arm strength, fantastic awareness in the pocket, the ability to scramble and run, and throws on the run better than most veteran NFL QB’s.  The best part about Ryan Tannehill is he is still learning.  His ceiling is so much higher than where he is now. There is however, one area of concern.  His ability to succeed when it counts the most.  When the game is on the line and thus on his shoulders and his shoulders alone.

We have seen this as recurring issue with Tannehill all season.  He plays very well as the game progresses and there is no question that he is capable of leading his team from behind to either close the gap for a winnable outcome or bring the team back into a position to outright win.  The problem he has is that after he does that, he seems to let the stress of the game fall off his shoulders.

This past week against the 49′ers the Dolphins hung in tightly with a team that on paper was far superior.  A week ago we saw the same thing with the New England Patriots.  With minutes left, Tannehill with the ball, and momentum swinging their way, it seems as though Tannehill loses that confidence.  It’s as if the stress of the situation gets to him.  His throws are off, his decisions are off, and he struggles to keep his mechanics straight.

The big question is can he fix it?

Of all the QB’s drafted in the 2012 draft, Tannehill is the least experienced and rides a huge wave of expectations in Miami.  While he tends to make good reads and good decisions, he still lofts the ball too far or too short for wide-open WR”s.  It’s a timing issue and something that I believe he will fix in due time.  His issues are not arm strength, they are not an inability to read a defense, or run an offensive system, his problems are in his head.  Not mental as he is stupid or can’t grasp what is going on around him, it’s a little bit more on the too much testosterone side.  He doesn’t really panic as much as he seems to just not get it.

From what I have seen of Ryan Tannehill this year I am excited about for the future.  The guy has something about him that screams success at this level.  Outside of the final two minutes it’s as though nothing gets to him.  But the pressure under that 2:00 clock appears to be his undoing, in the early part of his career.  The thing is, everyone expected RGII and Andrew Luck to play at the level they are playing at.  Now that Miami is finding less success, many fans want to tell you that Tannehill should be riding the pine, and some believe he should have from the start.

That however may not make the most sense.  The problems for Tannehill are not learning the pace of the game, the speed of the game, or taking a hit.  He doesn’t need to sit on the sideline and watch defensive coverage’s or WR patterns or corner-back patterns, instead he needs to learn to close a game out and frankly if that pressure isn’t directly on your neck, you won’t learn it from the sidelines.  Ryan Tannehill needs to be in these late close games.  But he needs to start learning how to win them, close them out, and shut it down.

When he does, he will emerge as a bona-fide leader of this team.

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  • Ryan O’Reilly

    Wth? Have you only watched one game? I’m sorry but this is bogus. I remember just 3 weeks ago when every site was claiming that Tannehill hits every open receiver perfectly. On top of that, the only games he’s one are the games that were close. He doesn’t play worse when the games on the line, in fact I feel he plays better. Along with the rest of the team. What, you don’t remember the Seattle game? What about the game he drove down the field to set up a kick for Carpenter and we lost because he missed? He’s put our team close to winning multiple times and the team has fell short of making separation, blocking for him, or catching the ball. Could he be better? Yes. And he will be. With time, better receivers, a better (or more cohesive) oline, or simply playing against worse teams. Don’t make such a rash claim please.

    • Belletide

      I agree with your comments. The secret of Brady is that short 8-12 yd pass that is enough in stride to his receivers that many times they get much more. We have Bess, Fasano, Bush, Miller & Lane, yet get caught overthrowing deep all the time. And notice it’s usually into a double team. I think for a rookie, and the fact a few games were given away early this season because of the place kicking, Tannehill was at times spectacular.

    • ThusBloggedAnderson

      Agree with Ryan. The play calling on that last drive was … odd. 4 passes in a row? Not much suspense for the defense there.

      RT has a long way to go, but I see him doing great things with more experience and better receivers.

  • ConvenientTruth

    Wow….talk about minute to minute reaction….So lets me try to understand….A rookie surround by the least talented supporting cast in the NFL has a hard time winning games against the Pats and 9ers and he’s seen as not being able to close games. several times this years he has had this teem in a position to win the game….late, but lets overreact to the losses to the Pats (who just embarrassed the Texans) and the 9ners IN SAN FRAN….yeah…..good analysis….

  • Miami Jules

    We were on the 48ers’ side of the field with 4 minutes apx. left in the 4th quarter, and again, as in so many close games before our QB, goes deep, when there’s plenty of time left in the game for him to just advance the ball one 1st down at a time, instead we went deep right on 1s, deep middle on 2nd and guess? Yes, deep left on 3rd… this happened last year too, when we couldn’t win close ones or protect the short lead and all of it, as you mentioned Brian, all in the 4th after having played a close competitive game… Are the coaches blind or are they so stupid they are failing to see what I and others have?

  • Andrew

    Dude Don Bosco Prep has more weapons than Tannehill. He needs a good TE a 1WR. We also need to get get Lamar Miller involved more we need him to learn how to pick up blitzes so we can use him in the passing. As far as i am concerned Tanny has well passed my expectation for a rookie. He will get better as long as these so called fan dont ask for his head.

  • Gert B Frobe

    I didn’t like the drafting of Tannehill but have warmed up to him as he is put in a position to stretch the field way more than Henne did last year. In the 4th quarter, barely any receivers were open and Tannehill tried to make a play deep as he should. Play calling was poor and they abandoned the run early for some reason. More play action and screen passes would keep good defenses honest and let’s get a healthy O-line that plays consistently week to week.

  • txmedic5

    WHOA Settle down guys, I love…LOVE Ryan Tannehill. Huge fan and I haven’t had this much fun watching a season in over a decade…and yes, that includes the Wild Cat season of 2008. I think Tannehill is very underrated given his lack of weapons on the team and yes some of the final minute failures are a result of bad play calling but in several drives, Tannehill needs to learn to check down when he sees rolled up coverage on the outside.

    Furthermore, as a rookie, Tannehill should be working to get first downs instead of TD’s when it’s 3rd and 4th and short or mid when the game is on the line. He hasn’t done that often enough.

    My point of this article is NOT to decry “Ryan Tannehill” sucks…only that in the final two minutes when the game is on the line, he needs to find that zone he plays in for the other 58 minutes. He is young and inconsistent at that time of the game. I think he will learn to fix that.

    Better yet, get as good as the Patriots and never worry about having to comeback!

  • Robert Hall

    All of you make valid points… no one expected us to win more than 3 or 4 games, and we’ve won 5 so far and I think we should be able to win 1 more. Tannehill is a rookie that only started 1 1/2 years in college, so he will get better the more games he plays. He has tons of poise, confidence, and arm strength and not to mention seems like a great leader.
    We all just need to relax this season and possibly next season, because if Philbin is allowed to build HIS team, it will take next years draft and maybe even the draft in 2014. I have to put trust in Philbin for the next 3 years and give him the benefit of the doubt that he knows what he’s doing until he proves otherwise. I like Philbins demeanor and attitude, he seems like a no nonsense guy who doesn’t tolerate loud mouths or divas and I think if he’s allowed, he will build a winning team.