"Today was not our best day," Ryan Tannehill said. "I want us to be crisp. I want everything to work like a well-oiled machine. What happened today was unacceptable."
Sounds like the words of a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady after a disappointing practice from their respective offenses, doesn't it? These words echo the sentiments of a veteran and a leader, two things that Tannehill is quickly becoming.
Tannehill seems much more comfortable in his role as the Miami Dolphins franchise quarterback as he begins the most important year of his young career.
Tannehill enters 2014, the third season of his career, set to play in a new offense for the first time since he was a teenager under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
The offense that Lazor is implementing is a direct counter to the bland, outdated system that former OC Mike Sherman ran. This new offense will test Tannehill as there are a ton of motions which means he is responsible for making sure everyone lines up correctly.
Also, Lazor has been credited as a "QB guru" after his work with Nick Foles last season. Lazor (with help from Philadelphia Eagles HC Chip Kelly) turned Foles, a 2012 third-round draft pick, into the top rated passer of the 2013 season with a historic touchdown-interception ratio.
Lazor knows what he wants, teaches it and then demands it. Lazor, a former college QB, is a leader and a very smart man and some of these successful qualities seem to be rubbing off on Tannehill.
Tannehill showed in the first day of mini camp that he will not stand for receivers lining up in the wrong places or quitting on a play. Tannehill laid into two receivers on the first day of mini camp, Rishard Matthews and Gerald Ford (who has been on the team for a week).
Matthews was scolded after a Tannehill pass floated hopelessly to the ground with no receiver in the area. "Keep playing!" Tannehill screamed at Matthews, who had quit on the route.
Ford being chewed out is a bit on the curious side because, as I previously stated, he has only been on the team for a week. It seems that simply explaining rather than yelling would have been sufficient, but when you are new to something (Tannehill with leadership) you don't always perform perfectly. As with everything, you get better with experience.
With that being said, it's encouraging to see Tannehill step up in these ways. I can say confidently that we would not have seen this same Tannehill last year. The combination of experience and comfort are the biggest factors in Tannehill's transition to an escalated leadership role.
Tannehill has been viewed as the future and leader of the team since he was drafted in 2012, but he had not always performed that way. One of Tannehill's least documented pitfalls is his inability to pull his team out of the dumps when things aren't going the Dolphins' way.
The hope is that this step up in Tannehill's leadership will allow him to pull this team out of the depths of defeat when the situation warrants.
We do know for sure, however, that Tannehill will be in control of this offense and team as he tries to prove to the world (or South Florida) that he is indeed deserving of the title of "franchise quarterback".
Whether he succeeds is still up in the air, but I'd put my money on a prosperous development. The positives far outweigh the negatives at this point.