The Miami Dolphins have a Ryan Tannehill problem. A recurring Ryan Tannehill problem.
What was supposed to be a newly found resurgence for Ryan Tannehill and an offense that had been among the league’s worst coming into Sunday, mirrored exactly what we have grown to expect: a bottom dwelling unit incapable of moving the football downfield, converting on third down, and the inability to put points on the scoreboard.
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To elaborate: the Dolphins offense only converted eight first downs during the entire game against a below average defense. No, this isn’t 1976; no, this isn’t what the stat sheet read after the first half; and no, in fact, these were the numbers put up by a unit in the golden age for offenses in the NFL—a league now where every rule in the book is catered to the offensive side of the football that gift-wraps stats, points, and sets records every other week.
This was supposed to be the game where Ryan Tannehill had the handcuff’s taken off, allowing him a say in the offensive game-plan, and having the ability to audible out of plays at the line of scrimmage. And this is what we get? An atrocious simplified offense? Instead of releasing Tannehill of his handcuff’s and declaring him a free man, the Dolphins tightened them, threw away the key, and put the fourth-year quarterback in solitary confinement.
“Anemic” was the word used by Dolphins interim head coach Dan Campbell when speaking of the offense heading into Sunday’s contest against the Ravens. Campbell, with newly appointed offensive coordinator Zac Taylor, planned on simplifying the offense and sticking to a run-heavy approach. Well, that certainly reigned true Sunday. The Dolphins carried the football 26 times for 137 yards. In contrast, the Dolphins called a pass play only 19 times—keep in mind, the Dolphins opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, are among the league’s worst at defending the pass, ranking 24th in the league.
So, this is what it looks like when the training wheels are taken off for Ryan Tannehill? Maybe I’m being too harsh. After all, this was the first time in four seasons he had a part in the offensive scheme. Or maybe, just maybe, Sunday’s grisly performance was what Ryan Tannehill is: a not very good quarterback.
Hold on. Quiet now. I can hear the droning mass of Tannehill excuse makers all together methodically going over every reason why their baby hasn’t performed up to snuff. If you listen closely, you’ll hear every excuse from bad offensive line play to inept play calling to, my personal favorite, not having a talented-enough supporting cast as justifications to as why Tannehill’s early performance in the NFL has, thus far, fallen by the wayside.
Ask yourself this: what types of quarterbacks captain the ships of “simplified” offenses? What type of quarterback is it that gets put behind center of a scheme that ties his hands, protects his weaknesses, asks him not to make mistakes, and simultaneously bans him from taking chances or making plays downfield? I’ll tell you who: NFL journeyman, backups, rookies, and guys like Alex Smith and Mark Sanchez. Guys with either little experience, limited capabilities, or guys fulfilling a backup role that are asked to pull out a win or two while the team’s starting quarterback is injured. Guys like Ryan Tannehill.
Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) fumbles the snap In the 2nd half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
You can have desirable attributes, but that doesn’t always harvest respectable stats, wins, or a long tenured NFL career. On a personal level, Ryan Tannehill has a panoply of traits: he’s tall, handsome, smart, intelligent, and talented. He’s a hard worker and has a good head on his shoulders. But Ryan Tannehill hasn’t asked to marry your daughter. No, he’s asked to be the face of an NFL franchise.
And although #17 has just as many quarterback attributes—big arm, accurate, relatively smart and athletic—as he does personal ones, that doesn’t necessarily mean he should be the quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. In the same sense, maybe he’s not the right one for your precious daughter either. Who knows, he could secretly be a swinger that cheats on your daughter whenever she’s out of town on business. If that’s the case, he get’s shown the door with a boot up his rear end.
Maybe, like your daughter, it’s time for the Miami Dolphins to wipe their hands clean, move on, and seek out a new relationship. If only there were an online site for teams to join; a site where the Dolphins could make a profile, list what they want in a quarterback, and sit back and wait for the prospects to come to them.
It might be time for the Dolphins to explore such a site—because right now, the Dolphins are looking for a marriage, not a fling that will end in a few short years.