The foreseeable future of Miami Dolphins football was set on a path a year ago when the team took Ryan Tannehill in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft -- for better or for worse.
Much rides on Tannehill's ability to ascend into the upper echelons of professional quarterbacking, and the guy who calls the plays in Miami has all the faith in the world that he will be able to do so, starting this upcoming season.
"This young man will be the most improved quarterback in the National Football League from year one to year two this year – I promise you that," Dolphins' offensive coordinator Mike Sherman told The Finsiders on Wednesday morning. "He’s working extremely hard."
That is precisely what Dolphins fans want to hear, as the unavoidable truth of the NFL is that a team can only go as far as their quarterback can take them. Tannehill played exactly how you'd expect a rookie to play in 2012, with plenty of mistakes while at-times displaying the talent worthy of a first round pick. That up-and-down play resulted in a pedestrian 7-9 record in his rookie season, which in reality is slightly impressive considering the team simultaneously reshaped the roster while he was taking his first NFL snaps.
But now, with a year under his belt and a full armory of new offensive weapons, Tannehill is poised to approach his potential as Miami's franchise quarterback.
"I thought he had a good rookie year for what we asked him to do," Sherman said. "Now, with us building up some more weaponry around him, I think he’ll be even better this upcoming year."
Of course, you wouldn't expect Sherman to say anything else. His career in Miami, as well as head coach Joe Philbin's and general manager Jeff Ireland's, is directly and inexorably tied to Tannehill's fulfillment of these very expectations. So the pessimistic view of these words is that Sherman would say them regardless.
But for now, those words are all we have to go on until the players get back on the field, the practices start and this much-anticipated season gets closer.
Which is a sentiment shared by fans and coaches alike.
"We’re excited to get on the field and start practices, OTA’ s and mini-camp, and see where we’re at," Sherman added.