Dolphins Ryan Tannehill talks about his return to practice

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins drops back while teammate offensive guard Laremy Tunsil #67 blocks against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 4: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins drops back while teammate offensive guard Laremy Tunsil #67 blocks against the Baltimore Ravens in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on December 4, 2016 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

When the 2016 season ended for the Miami Dolphins there was uncetainty in what might happen with Ryan Tannehill. He returned to practice today as the team opened training camp.

Ryan Tannehill went down against Arizona last season with a stage II MCL sprain. He tore his MCL and partially his ACL. Doctors were confident from the start that Tannehill would not need surgery but nothing was definite. Even as the season ended and off-season began there were still questions regarding his knee.

Despite the worry the doctors seemed content to let him heal on his own and while the MCL would repair itself the medical team decided the ACL tear wasn’t significant enough to warrant surgery. As a result, Tannehill was able to complet the OTA and mini-camps through the off-season. A shiny new black brace on his left knee.

The questions now are whether or not he will have any mental lapses in his game. Will he try and over-protect his knee or will he simply return to business as usual? Tannehill has taken a lot of hits over his five year career but he continues to bounce back up. Even after his injury last season there was talk that he would return in time for the post-season.

More from Phin Phanatic

Today is Ryan Tannehill’s birthday, happy birthday to our starting quarterback and he took the time to discuss his improvements both on the field and medically with members of the Miami media shortly after practice ended this morning.

We won’t know how well Tannehill will respond on the field or see his growth in Adam Gase’s offense until the season begins but Tannehll thinks things will be just fine. The following transcript is courtesy of

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill

(How’d it go Day 1 out there?) – “Day 1, it feels good to be back out. I think everyone out here has put a lot of work into this offseason. To finally be able to kick off the year feels really good. Guys are out there working. I think you can see that the guys prepared over our break, came back in shape and ready to go. I’m excited about the way we kicked things off. Obviously, we have a lot of things to correct’ but it was a good first day for us.”

(Everybody keeps coming at you about your knee. How was it today? How did you feel out there?) – “It feels good, just like it did in the spring. No changes, even better.”

(Coming off a playoff season, does camp feel any different? Do expectations change?) – “Expectations are up, but that’s what you want. You want to be putting that pressure on yourself. I think we have the right people in this building to do what we need to do and the mindset is right. Now it’s a matter of establishing practice habits, going out, pushing each other each and every day, making those gains, getting better every day and showing up on Sundays. Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to. It doesn’t matter what you say, what you think. It matters putting the work in, preparing through the process and showing up on Sundays.”

(You guys want to take it one day at a time, a win the day approach. Do you feel like the offense, the way they were able to go out there today, do you feel like you won the day?) – “It’s tough to say we won the day. I think we got some good plays, some guys making plays. Early on, DeVante (Parker) made a huge play down (near) the end zone, so that kind of kicked us off with a good start. There were several other plays where things weren’t quite right. That’s to be expected on the first day. You’re not going to be clicking on all cylinders the first day; but I think we got a good start. We’ve got guys competing and establishing, like I said, those practice habits that we want to carry out throughout the year.”

(From your point of view, how is the progression of WR DeVante Parker from Year 1 and 2 to now?) – “I think throughout this year, I’ve probably seen more gain from DeVante than either of the (first) two years combined. That’s exciting for us to see him coming into his own, getting his confidence up, being explosive, being physical and healthy. I think that’s what it comes down to ultimately is that he’s healthy for the first time in a long time. That’s great for us and hopefully we’ll keep him that way and keep progressing.”

(How does it feel to have C Mike Pouncey out there, just the veteran leadership?) – “It’s great to have him back on the field. I know he didn’t participate a whole lot during the team drills, but it’s great to have him out on the field. He’s going to be out here shortly. To have his veteran leadership – his experience – out on the field with us is huge.”

(How is it to walk out onto the field with this continuity that the offense seems to have? Everybody seems to be back.) – “Yes, it’s not our first go around. We spent a year in the offense last year and got to bring back almost all of our key pieces. Like you said, there’s a lot of continuity there with the guys that we have. We’re able to build on what we did last year, build on what we did in the offseason, and we’re not so much learning the overall concepts, we’re trying to work on the details and master plays. When you get to do that, that’s when you become really good.”

(What do you like about TE Julius Thomas?) – “I like a lot about Julius. He’s a smart guy. He has played in the system before. He understands football, he understands what we’re trying to accomplish. He’s long, he’s athletic, he has great hands. He has everything that you’re looking for in a tight end. Now it’s just a matter of him and I getting those reps and building that confidence within each other.”

(When we talk about fine-tuning instead of teaching, can you give us an example of how that worked today maybe in a red zone drill or anything like that?) – “When it’s not your first time running the concept, the first couple times you’re just trying to get the overall concept down and make sure everyone is lining up in the right spot and they’re finishing in the right spot. Once you have guys doing that, then you can work on understanding the plays. What’s the goal of the play? If one guy adjusts his route a little bit, shields off a defender. I think Kenny (Stills) did a great job down in the red zone on a two-point play. (He) shielded off the defender just for a half second (and) allowed me to make the throw to DeVante (Parker) for the conversion. Once you get to that step, that next step, in development as an offense, that’s when you see more plays being made, because guys have an overall understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

(What do you want to improve in your game and at the end of that improvement, what is it that you want to accomplish this year personally?) – “There’s a lot I want to improve in my game. Constantly working on footwork and timing, accuracy, and it all starts with the feet. Being able to get the ball out, playing fast and understanding where the ball is supposed to go. Being the second year in the offense, it’s much easier for me to have that understanding of where the ball is supposed to go and be able to move through my progressions quicker and get the ball out on time.”

(WR Kenny Stills asks: Did you get anything special for your birthday?) – “I got nothing special so far.”

(WR Kenny Stills asks: You guys told him happy birthday right?) – “No, they didn’t! (laughter) That’s your answer. I got no birthday wishes. (laughter) I got to see my little guy at practice, so that was a good birthday gift for me. It’s fun. Last year, he was just born, just a few days old. This time, to be able to bring him out here and have a smile with him, see him running around a little bit, it’s really fun for me.”

(How’s his arm?) – “He’s not throwing yet. (laughter) We’re trying to decide which … His throw is more like a spike, so he’s got the spike down. The throw, not so much. We’re working backwards there.”

(If I can bring you back to the accomplishment thing, what’s a good year for Ryan Tannehill?) – “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to me on individual stats. I want to win games, put us in the playoffs and win the division, be in the Super Bowl. That’s our goal. That’s what we set out each and every year to do is to win games, make the playoffs first, win the division and be in the Super Bowl. It’s tough to say what exactly is success; but for me, that’s my goal right now is to put this team in position to win and win a lot of games and compete for a championship.”

(I have to ask even though I know you’re sick of talking about it, but how’s the knee doing? Are you still feeling positive with that?) – “The knee is really good. It feels really good. I haven’t had any changes since the spring. I was a full participant in the spring and still going really well. Now we don’t have to address that anymore, right? (laughter) We’re good?”

(How’s your other knee?) – “The other knee is feeling really good, too. (laughter) I appreciate you asking. (laughter) It has been a journey. I think dealing with an injury like that for the first time, it was a tough process for me. But the building, everyone around me, really supported me throughout that whole process. I’m glad to be back out here and feeling really healthy again.”

(In terms of running in your career, we’ve seen you run a lot and then other years not so much. What can we expect this year in terms of you running?) – “I like to use my feet. I think that’s something that we’ve talked about throughout this offseason and I’d like to see myself do a little bit more is use my feet as a weapon. When things aren’t happening downfield, be able to escape, put pressure on the defense and make them honor my feet. That’ll be something that we’ll work on throughout the year.”

(How nice is it not to hear questions about getting the long ball completions? You don’t hear that anymore.) – “I guess it’s nice. I honestly never doubted myself in that regard. It’s nice to be able to go play.”

(Have you talked to anyone else – maybe like Ravens QB Joe Flacco, kind of was in a similar situation – when he took off running, his knee brace would dig into the turf and that kind of became an issue. Have you thought about that a little bit?) – “I’ve worn a brace before, so I understand that issue. It does happen. It happened to me in college when I wore a brace. When you do slide, you put your weight on your left leg and it does catch and can bend. I had one bend on me in college, and I had to hop off the field awkwardly and get the thing off. That is something that can happen, but you can’t think about that. You just have to go play. You’re not thinking about how you’re going to slide or, ‘I might have to slide at the end of this play.’ Just go play and get down and move on to the next play.”

(It’s reactionary?) – “Yes.”

(With you having trust in the offensive line, whoever lines up in front of you, is there something to be said – because you’ve had inconsistency there – is there something to be said about continuity?) – “You’d like for those five guys to play together. Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had a full season of five guys playing together. It’s probably not going to happen, that’s just the nature of the business; but the more consistency we can get from those guys … It’s a unit. It’s not five individual positions. It’s a five-man unit. They have to work together – pass-off game, combo blocks and stuff like that. The more that they can work together and know how each other plays, the better we’re going to be.”