"With the eighth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins select Ryan Tannehill, Quarterback, Texas A&M." Back in April, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made that announcement on the stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. And, from that moment, the ridicule of the Dolphins selecting a player with just 19 career college starts at quarterback, a player that started more games at wide receiver (30) than at quarterback, a player that "needed development time" started.
Now, five weeks into the NFL season, Tannehill has turned the heads of many of those critics as he sets Dolphins franchise records, and does things no one in NFL history has done. Last week, against the Arizona Cardinals, Tannehill threw for 431 yards, passing Dan Marino's franchise rookie record of 322 yards from 1983, and coming up one yard shy of Cam Newton's NFL record from last season.
Yesterday, Tannehill threw for 233 yards. making his season total 1,269 yards, as the Dolphins moved to 2-3 on the season. And that establishes Tannehill as the first player in NFL history to reach those milestones:
Ryan Tannehill is the first rookie in NFL history to pass for 1,250+ yards and record at least two wins in his team’s 1st 5 games.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) October 8, 2012
Tannehill's performance this season has been better than most Dolphins fans even hoped. He has shown the situation is not to big for him. He has been poised in the pocket. And, when he does make a rookie mistake, he learns from it, puts it behind him, and moves on to the next play, the next series, or the next game.
In five games this season, Tannehill's passer ratings have been 39.0, 91.0, 50.2, 86.5, 92.3. If you accept that the 91.0 passer rating was simply a dominating performance by the entire Miami team over the Oakland Raiders, leading to that high rating, Tannehill is progressing every single week.
But it was something from yesterday's game that showed me exactly how well Tannehill is developing. It was not one of his 26 passes. It was not one of his four runs. It was actually one of the two sacks he took on the day.
There are two moments in that play where Tannehill could have made a bad decision and tried to force the ball into coverage. Instead, he realized it was better to just take the sack, get up and keep fighting. That's not a decision a rookie quarterback who is not ready for the NFL would make. If Tannehill were not ready for the game, he would have tried to throw that ball, and probably would have had it intercepted, or intentional grounding called.
Instead, he tucked the ball away, and ate the sack yardage. And, that's exactly what he should have done.
Every game, Tannehill has impressed me. Is he a sure thing? Of course not. But, he's getting better and better every week, and he's looking more and more like the guy the Dolphins have been searching for since 1999. If his development continues like this, the Dolphins, and Dolphins fans, are going to be happy for a long time.