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Jeff Darlington: 'This is Ryan Tannehill's team'

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Former Miami Dolphins beat writer and current NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Jeff Darlington joined Jess Agler on the Dolphins' radio show The Finsiders this week.

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NFL Network reported Jeff Darlington hung around Miami last week, taking in all things Miami Dolphins.

This is Ryan Tannehill's team. There's no question in my mind. -Jeff Darlington

During his time on the team's radio show, The Finsiders, Darlington addressed several aspects of the team, including the maturation of General Manager Jeff Ireland, the running back position, and the Dolphins' biggest move in the offseason.

He was also asked about the Dolphins needs going into the offseason and second year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

In his article on NFL.com, Darlingon wrote that the Dolphins had three clear flaws in 2012:

1) Aside from Cameron Wake's production, they didn't have enough sacks.

2) They dropped far too many interceptions, which factored into the decision to let Smith walk during free agency.

3) And they didn't have enough weapons for Ryan Tannehill, who has every single quality -- from leadership to ability to commitment -- that you look for in a franchise quarterback.

Asked about those three items, Darlington responded:

"That is what the team believes. They didn't have enough sacks. They dropped too many interceptions last year. They did not have enough weapons for big explosive plays. They had to be too perfect on offense and sustain these long drives with a lot of plays in order to succeed. Those are three major factors that contributed to a mediocre season last year. So, that's what they came into the offseason trying to do.

"They got Mike Wallace. Sean Smith was a huge contributor to the dropped interceptions, despite his skill set otherwise. They believe that they are improving those areas. Whether they did enough, we will see, but they did make moves to try to improve those areas."

John Congemi asked Darlington about the room for growth for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Coming into his second season, Tannehill was lost in the gushing over fellow 2012 draft class members Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, and Russell Wilson.

Look at what Tannehill did, that's a good year for a rookie quarterback. I mean, a really good year -Jeff Darlington

"Tannehill should, and they hope will be, the most improved quarterback in that rookie class," Darlington replied. "It's such an absurd rookie class that you look at. When you take out Luck and RG3 and Russell Wilson, and just put Ryan Tannehill, just remove all of that and just put your blinders on and look at what Tannehill did, that's a good year for a rookie quarterback. I mean, a really good year.

"I think Tannehill has a huge amount of growth ahead of him. And, I've seen a maturation process with him too. He's comfortable with the players in this locker room. He's becoming a leader. He's a guy who will be voted a captain of this team, not just because it's a default situation, but because they really are looking at him as a leader of this year."

Agler responded that he is not quite ready to call this Ryan Tannehill's team, but it soon will be. Darlington immediately stated, "No, no. Forget it. This is Ryan Tannehill's team. Right now. This is Ryan Tannehill's team. There's no question in my mind."

Check out the entire interview on Dolphins.com.

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