The Miami Dolphins haven’t played a down yet. They haven’t worked a training camp and have only looked at their rookie, practice squad players, and invited un-drafted free agents. In other words, it’s far too early to get a real vision of what this team will become. What is for certain however is that no matter what happens, it will all ride on the shoulders of QB Ryan Tannehill.
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Tannehill recently was throwing passes to new WR Mike Wallace and suggested that maybe Wallace should run at half-speed. Wallace told him he was running at half-speed. “Fastest WR I have ever thrown to” Tannehill followed up with. Mike Wallace is only one of the second year QB’s new targets. Brandon Gibson will man the slot in lieu of the traded Davone Bess and while Brian Hartline return on the outside as the number 2 WR, Dustin Keller takes over the TE role from Anthony Fasano.
Tannehill was not known as an on-field “rah rah” leader. Some last year questioned his ability to lead on the biggest football stage. So far, Tannehill is becoming a leader. Ryan has been working on his game both in drills and more importantly in the classroom. He has been watching game film of every snap he took in his rookie season in an effort to improve on his low ranked 3rd down conversions and his sub-fifty completion rating. Tannehill may not be able to officially work out with his new teammates but he surely isn’t sitting around waiting either.
Tannehill will face a tough opening stretch in 2013 against powerhouse QB’s. Fellow sophomore Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Drew Brees fill out four of the first five. He faces Tom Brady twice. Tannehill isn’t battling head to head with those QB’s he is battling against their defenses and it’s likely that he has already begun to breakdown film of those opponents as well. For this team to succeed both early and late in the season Ryan Tannehill has to carry them. He needs to put them on his shoulders and let them ride. He will need to earn their trust and gain their timing and confidence.
With the off-seaon officially begun, Tannehill will need to take advantage of upcoming mini-camps until late July when training camps begin again. The work he puts in now ahead of the allowable training will go a long way towards proving to his teammates that he is more than ready and willing to become the vocal leader of this team. He may not be a “rah rah” type of player but he is going to need to lose that boyish shrug of his shoulders when a player drops a ball and start vocalizing his displeasure. Teams feed off their leaders and are only as strong as them. This is Ryan Tannheill’s team and it’s time for him to become that leader.