The Miami Dolphins are banking on the medical reports that Ryan Tannehill will be able to return to 100% and continue his growth without any setbacks in his knee.
Many wonder if Tannehill will be cautious with his return to the field but apparently that hasn’t been the case and apparently it isn’t what head coach Adam Gase wants. Tannehill has been taking the ball down and running with it throughout camp so far. He has pivoted, stopped, and cut on his repaired knee but until he takes a few “real” hits, we just won’t know.
To recap Tannehill sustained a stage II MCL tear last year against the Arizona Cardinals. He missed the rest of the season but his knee did not require ACL surgery despite a small tear. Now Tannehill wears a brace but he still doesn’t go half-speed.
Throughout camp Tannehill has been taking some other risks too, like throwing the ball into tight coverage. According to Tannehill, who spoke with the media following today’s practice, it’s all part of a bigger plan or at least a bigger push from Gase. According to Tannehill, Gase wants him to push himself and test the “boundaries” of himself and his receivers.
There is a lot riding on Tannehill’s growth this season as he will now have had two back to back seasons in the same system since Mike Sherman was fired. Growth expectations are high as he enters his 5th season in the NFL. Miami has invested a lot of time in Tannehill and it seems that maybe he may be ready to take that next step.
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Today Tannenill spoke with the media following the teams practice and he discussed what Gase expects and more. The full transcript of Tannehill’s press conference is below courtesy of MiamiDophins.com.
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
QB Ryan Tannehill
(So is your son, Steel, going to make the 53-man roster?) – “It’s a long shot at this point. He worked hard. He comes out here every day, but I don’t know if the talent level is quite high enough yet. (laughter)”
(What’s he going to play? What position?) – “I don’t know. Kicker or something. (laughter)”
(How nice is it to have your family out here though on a day like this?) – “It’s cool. They don’t make it out every day but on the days they do make it out here, it’s cool. I’ve seen it for years. Older guys have their kids out here and I always thought it was so cool to be able to play catch with your kid. Especially this time of year, it’s the only time of year they’re out here after practice. You go through a hard practice, whether it’s up or down – whatever happened at practice – you can see the joy on the faces of these dads when they play with their kids, and I’m being able to experience that now. So it’s a pretty cool feeling.”
(This is like a process, these practices. But Saturday you have a scrimmage. Do you look forward to that specifically and for you, what you went through, coming back like this just to test yourself a little bit?) – “Honestly, it’s just another step in our preparation for the season. Obviously we will have more live periods in that practice, so the intensity of that practice is up more than just your standard practice; but I go about it the same way that I prepare for every other practice – go out and learn and push yourself and see how we can get better.”
(So no different for you considering the brace and wondering what I can do?) – “Yes, it’s not a lot different. I push myself out here like I will on Saturday, so it’s not a whole lot different.”
(A couple guys have said you’ve taken particularly chances with your throws being more aggressive in training camp. Do you agree with that at all?) – “Yes, I mean early in training camp – throughout the spring and early in training camp – (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase wants me to push myself. He wants me to take chances and test my limits, test our receivers limits and find those boundaries. Then the closer we get to games, the more we’ll tighten things up and start protecting the football a little bit more. But right now, we’re in the part of the preseason where we’re finding those boundaries. We’re figuring out what those boundaries are and we want to push those limits.”
(Would you say that as far as you, is it throws in the middle of the field, throws outside the hash mark, deep throws? Where do you test yourself specifically?) – “Just any situation where it is tight coverage and guys are one-on-one and you try to give them a chance and see what happens. We have a lot of talented guys on the outside and it’s finding the right balance of giving them a shot and protecting the football. That’s what it comes down to is each guy plays it a little differently; finding those guys strengths and how they attack the football in certain situations and we’ll go from there.”
(Do you have to be really quite confident and secure in your situation to get to this level? Was that a process getting to that level? Like testing yourself in tight spaces and stuff as opposed to in years past when you had to prove yourself more?) – “Yes, I think that’s just the progression of the offense. It’s Year 2 and we’re fine-tuning now as opposed to learning overall concepts. That’s part of the fine-tuning process is testing ourselves and pushing the limits and finding our boundaries.”
(There was a moment in Monday’s practice where guys were tackling each other. That was fun. But you pulled aside like 30 guys. You were right in the middle I noticed and you were pretty vocal and delivering some type of message. I hope you remember this. Why did you decide to do that and if you could share some of the messaging.) – “There was just a lull in practice. I felt the energy drop. We had a strong first period as an offense and I felt the energy drop on the offensive side of the ball and we can’t have that. We can’t have the ups and downs throughout practice and throughout games. We have to establish habits of pushing ourselves and keeping the energy high, the intensity high. Things get tough. I think we went from a live to an un-live period and kind of felt everyone relax a little bit. We don’t have time to relax. We have to keep pushing ourselves to keep the intensity high and keep the pressure on the defense. You saw it. The defense was playing fast and flying around and I didn’t feel like, as an offense, that we were playing the way we needed to play. I think we were able to respond the second half of practice and come back with energy and execute the way we need to do it.”
(Is that the residual effect of maybe a 1-4 start last year that maybe you weren’t ready to jump out of the gate and you’re trying to stress that this year? Maybe you need to get out of the gate quicker?) – “I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it that deeply. It’s just a matter of establishing practice habits this time of year, throughout the spring and throughout the preseason, that we’re not going to accept the up and down flows of tempo, energy. It’s a tough league. It’s tough to win in this league and to win consistently, and we need our best each and every day – not part of the day, not half of the day. We need our best the whole day. It’s just establishing those habits as a team, where it doesn’t really matter what’s going, we just keep pushing each other, lifting each other up and moving forward in the right direction, then good things are going to happen for us.”
(You’re such a pleasant, even-keeled guy. Was there a moment over the last two years where you’ve said to yourself “I need to be comfortable being tough on teammates when needed in the position I’m in as starting quarterback?”) – “I’m even-keeled with you guys most of the time. I’m not always even-keeled (laughter). I have a fire and a competitive spirit and a drive to win. There are certain situations where I have to get on my guys. I don’t think there was a moment where I just sat and realized that. It’s always been a part of me. I think (Head) Coach (Adam) Gase has given me the freedom and the confidence to be myself and to lead in the way that I want to lead. He has my back and we’re in this thing together. He knows how my heart is in this thing so he’s giving me the freedom to go out and lead the way that I want to lead. It’s been really fun for me. I think I’ve seen our team grow because of that.”
(How much have you guys brought on the makeup of Head Coach Adam Gase – that competitive spirit and the aggressiveness of the coach – how much have you brought that on and also the offense this year?) – “Well, I think you take after your head coach. I think no matter what it is and who it is in the league, what head coach, I think the building kind of takes on his mindset and the way he goes about things. That’s definitely true in this building. The fire he has and the competitive spirit, the will to win, relational – I think you see a closer, tightknit building than we’ve had in the past.”
(So you better keep that going by signing Head Coach Adam Gase’s kids’ autographs and stuff. You can’t reject that. It’s very important for the relationship, right?) – “(Laughter) Yes, I don’t know. We’ll see. (laughter)”
(There was a red zone touchdown pass to TE Anthony Fasano where I think you rolled out to the right today. I know you threw several touchdowns. But you rolled out to the right, it might have been play action. Last year that was such a successful part of the offense, the play-action roll out. Getting into X’s and O’s a little bit, what does that do to a defense? Why was that effective? Can it be effective moving forward?) – “I think it all starts with the run game. If you have an effective run game and are gaining yards on the ground then they have to honor it. If you can get the linebackers flowing downhill then you’re able to have the play action and roll out. Everybody has to change directions and go back the other way, so you’re able to get leverage and get guys open just because of the aggressiveness of the defense. But it all starts with the run game. If you’re not running the football effectively, you’re not going to get the same pull out of the defense. That’s part of it is having a good running back and having a good run game and we’ll need to use the play pass and the play actions to counteract that.”