Ryan Tannehill is entering his second season with the Miami Dolphins and today marked the first real practice time as camp opened yesterday. Media pundits and fans are quickly trying to find a way to classify the young QB. Is he more like Dan Marino? Fans can only hope. Is he more like Chad Henne? Fans dread the thought.
In reality, Tannehill does not need to be Dan Marino. In fact, he would do himself and his team well by steering clear of the Hall of Fame South Florida icon. Since Dan Marino left the Dolphins have gone through something like 16 different QB’s from Jay Fiedler to Daunte Culpepper. None of them worked. So here we are waiting to see exactly who Ryan Tannehill will become.
He needs to become Ryan Tannehill. A QB who falls somewhere below Dan Marino and above Jay Fiedler.
We all know that Marino had almost everything you would want in a QB. Arm strength, accuracy, drive, will power, leadership, ego, attitude, and feel for the game. It’s often said that no QB should feel the pressure of living up to such lofty expectations but lets face one undeniable fact about Dan Marino. He took this team to exactly one Super Bowl on his shoulders. One.
The days of Marino were his and his alone. The teams failure to find and successfully cultivate a running game was as much Danny’s fault at wanting to throw the ball every down as it was the coaches fault for drafting poorly. Ryan Tannehill has the arm, needs the attitude and leadership, must find the exeperience, and will have the balance of a running game to off-set the air attack.
No Dolphins QB’s could come close to the numbers of Marino and while Fiedler never approached even a quarter of those stats he did lead his team. His ability to move out of the pocket and then up field was something that Marino could not do and is something that Tannehill can do. Fiedler didn’t have the arm strength that Marino had and while Tannehill doesn’t either, his is far closer to that of Danny’s than to Jay’s.
Tannyhill needs to cultivate the mental aspects of Fiedlers game which resembled more of Chad Pennington’s methodical approach. His knowledge of the system should serve him well and his ability to move out of the pocket and up-field will turn 2nd and 3rd downs into first downs or short yardage situations. Fiedler had the respect of his team and Tannehill also needs to find that as well. Marino simply commanded the offense, it was his and no one questioned it. Tannehill doesn’t need to own the offense he needs to lead it.
With Marino’s arm strength and vision and Fiedler’s mentality and legs, Tannehill should find a medium ground that comes in between them. Put the rest of the Dolphins historical QB errors in a box and forget about them. He needs to find his own self it’s the media and fan expectations that should find this sort of placement between the two QB’s who last held the helm the longest.
If I were going to place such lofty hopes on this youngster, that is where I would expect him to fall because frankly, those are the tools that he has shown he is capable of displaying.