Miami Dolphins First Half Season Grades: QB


The Miami Dolphins are 5-3 on the season which is a big improvement over the first four weeks of the year when they were 2-2 and had lost to Kansas City and Buffalo consecutively before beating Oakland in London. At the time the team wasn’t playing very good football. Not on either side of the ball. With eight games in the books it’s time to take a look at whether or not the Dolphins have improved or regressed across the different positions. Hint…the team has won three of four the second quarter of the season.

You can click the link to read the first quarter grades on each individual unit article as they are posted.

Quarterback First quarter grade C+

After the first quarter of the season had finished we took a look at what Ryan Tannehill specifically needed to accomplish in his next four weeks. Here is what we said needed to improve.

"What to expect from the next four weeks:Consistency – Tannehill needs to improve on his drive to drive consistency. The offense as a whole depends on his ability to make smart decisions and deliver the ball in a spot that gives the receiver the best chance for success. Dropped balls can kill a drive and those are not on Tannehill but he needs to be able to overcome those."

IMPROVED: Ryan Tannehill has become one of the most consistent QB’s in the NFL over the last four weeks and when the Oakland game is added his statistics improve. Tannehill has cut down on dumb mistakes and while he started slow against both Jacksonville and Green Bay he has not made the same mistakes that he was making earlier. His consistency on the field is one of the reasons the Dolphins are turning heads.

"Leadership – He is getting better but better at slightly over a snails pace. That isn’t going to cut it. He needs to deliver strong words and strong performances to take this team out of the shadow that is Joe Philbin (more on that when I grade the coaches). This team needs a leader, vocally on and off the field. It’s year three for Tannehill and despite Joe Philbin’s failure to support his QB to the media, it’s his team. He needs to take control over his team. Is there any question who’s team it is in Indianapolis? No, it’s Andrew Lucks."

IMPROVED: While Tannehill is still not the in-your-face cheerleading quarterback that many other top QB’s are he is taking on a far more cerebral role as a leader. In the second quarter of the season it’s clear that he has won over his teammates with solid play and gutsy runs. Tannehill is now starting to lift the team around him as they had done on the shoulders of others in the first four weeks.

"Accuracy – You could file this under consistency but accuracy is still a small problem that Tannehill needs to work on. He needs to start hitting his receivers in front of their bodies and not behind them. He needs to work out the hold ups in his brain that prohibits him from making the deep connections and after three years we still balls batted at the line of scrimmage."

IMPROVED: In two games since Oakland Tannehill has consistently shown the ability to make smart accurate throws. He is still struggling with the deep ball but has connected on several passes of over 30 yards including a 50 yard pass to Mike Wallace. The Bill Lazor offense seems to be getting easier for Tannehill and  it shows in his mechanics and footwork. He is letting the game come to him now instead of trying to play to it.

The next four weeks

Ryan Tannehill must continue using his legs to gain yardage with the read option. It has opened up other options for him in the passing game. In addition he needs to continue developing the leadership qualities that he is starting to show and in addition he must work on both the deep ball accuracy and continue to make smart decisions with the football. Continuity will be a key over the next four weeks as the team will face the Lions, Bills, Broncos, and the Jets.

The Dolphins are not going to be able to ride the Dolphins defense like they did against Jacksonville so the Dolphins offense will be critical to the success of the team in the next four games. Tannehill’s continued improvement in Bill Lazors’ offense could secure a deep run towards the playoffs.

Grade at the half way mark: A