Sometimes I don’t know why I decide to watch certain things on TV. I’m not a Dallas Cowboys fan and I am not a Detroit Lion fan. In fact yesterday I didn’t watch any game but the Miami Dolphins game. I walked around the house doing a few things here and there before deciding to take a seat and flipped on the Direct TV Game Mix. Three games were going and the Dallas game was down to less than a minute with them up by six. I almost turned it off. Instead, I clicked on that game and decided to see what Matt Stafford could do.
I was completely oblivious to the day Charles Johnson had as a WR. Had no idea that Dez Bryant had already blown up once earlier on the sidelines. I listened to the announcers praise the Cowboys for being above .500 for the first time in a long time at the mid-way part of the season. Then I reveled in one of the best final drives I have ever seen in the NFL. As it unfolded I realized that I was witnessing not only something awe inspiring but something that I haven’t seen in Miami since the days of Dan Marino.
Matt Stafford is an incomplete quarterback to me. He is very up and down despite having the best active WR in the NFL. If he were better and more consistent then the Lions would be a playoff contender annually. Yet on that final drive and what I can only assume the entire second half he was magnificent. Stafford didn’t just lead the team to the game winning score. He lead his team. I will say it again. He led his team. The team played with urgency and conviction as a whole. They played to win, not to just give it a good ole college try.
I can’t imagine Ryan Tannehill being that vocal and display the leadership that Stafford did on that drive. I can’t see him directing his players and pushing them to be better. I can’t see Tannehill sprinting down the field yelling for his players to hurry up so he can clock the ball. And no, I can’t see Ryan Tannehill taking the reigns of this teams fate in his own hands and diving over the pile for the go ahead touchdown when he has the opposing team completely off-guard. In fact, I could see Tannehill spiking the football and waiting for the next play to be called in.
Troubling more is that after the play I watched Stafford run into the end zone pointing to the stands and then high jumping with his teammates as he celebrated. Honestly, I don’t recall Tannehill showing even close to that exuberance. Ever.
This isn’t intended to be knock on Tannehill although I understand in a back-handed way it is. Tannehill isn’t that type of “rah-rah” player and he never has been. Matt Stafford is also a seasoned NFL veteran while Tannehill is a sophomore in the NFL. Still Tannehill doesn’t display confidence like other NFL QB’s. He doesn’t display emotion on the field and rarely have I ever seen him get frustrated with his own team enough to get on their backs. Could you imagine being on the sideline with Dan Marino if he was sacked 28 times by mid-season? It wouldn’t happen.
Ryan Tannehill has a lot of growth to undergo before he becomes a great QB. He has a lot of growth before he becomes a good QB. Right now he is just another QB struggling to find a cohesion and consistency that is on the positive side. But Ryan Tannehill is not the kind of leader that you think of when you think of a QB. He isn’t flashy and he isn’t jumping up and down directing his team. Tannehill appears to be the kind of leader who does so quietly. That works when you are winning. It doesn’t when you are losing.
I’m not writing Ryan Tannehill off by any means but I did realize that Ryan Tannehill will never be that type of exciting QB who will jump into the stands or his Olineman’s arms. I don’t know if he will ever get the entire picture of what a “Big Game” is supposed to be. That is both good and bad. While he may never show the outspoken leadership quality in that situation it’s likely he won’t face the pressure of that type of game either. Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have to be Matt Stafford but it would be nice to see him lead not as a QB but simply as a leader.