USA TODAY Sports
The Miami Dolphins have started a rookie quarterback all season long, dealing with the rookie mistakes while reveling in the flashes of great play that have appeared. While other rookie quarterbacks, like Indianapolis' Andrew Luck or Washington's Robert Griffin III, have gotten all the accolades, Ryan Tannehill has simply looked good on a team with limited weaponry around him.
Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill was a "reach" when he was selected with the eighth overall pick in last April's NFL Draft. Tannehill was ill prepared to be a starting NFL quarterback when he was thrust into the role during the preseason. He would not be able to handle NFL defenses, and would struggle all year, even to the point of harming his future development.
Yet, Tannehill has set Miami rookie passing yardage and completion records. He's been poised throughout the year, standing up in the face of pressure and learning from his mistakes. Tannehill has shown that he has the potential to be the answer to the Dolphins' 13 year search for a franchise quarterback.
Is he a sure thing? Of course not. But, he is looking like he could become a sure thing.
ESPN's Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl winning quarterback and one of the top analysts on TV, spoke with the Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin about Tannehill yesterday, "Just because an offense doesn't look good doesn't mean they didn't hit on the rookie quarterback. Sometimes you almost laugh at that stuff, because you're going to struggle. You look at the Luck and RG3 thing - you can't compare every other one to them. Really different circumstances.
"[Tannehill's] a fantastic player. I think he's going to be an absolute rock star in this league, but it may take a little bit longer than some other places."
Dilfer clearly likes what he sees in Tannehill. "When you have a quarter like they have in Tannehill, they can mask some flaws for awhile while you rebuild the roster. He has handled the job incredibly well. What he's been able to accomplish tells me his ceiling his very high."
The simple fact that the Dolphins have Tannehill will mean this offseason is an entirely new frontier. The Dolphins are no longer looking for a quarterback. There are not any questions about whether or not the team has to replace Chad Henne, Matt Moore, Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington, Cleo Lemon, Trent Greem, John Beck, Joey Harrington, Daunte Culpepper, Gus Frerotte, Sage Rosenfels, Jay Fiedler, Brian Griese, Ray Lucas, or Damon Huard. The team, for better or for worse, has the quarterback around which to build this team. Now, it's just a matter of getting him the weapons to succeed, so Tannehill no longer is asked to "mask some flaws."