clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Miami Dolphins Spotlight: Is Ryan Tannehill a Franchise Quarterback?

2014 will be Ryan Tannehill’s third year in the NFL, in what is a make or break season for both the young quarterback and the franchise. Is Tannehill the player to take the Dolphins to the next level? Lets check it out.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In today's passing league, every team in the NFL longs for that franchise signal-caller to lead the team to glory. It can be the difference between consistently making the playoffs, and consistently not making the playoffs. One player can truly turn the tide.

But what attributes make a franchise quarterback?

Accuracy and Efficiency

While quarterbacks grab the headlines for big, splashy plays, the best quarterbacks need to be accurate and efficient. Limiting mistakes in the NFL is huge; know when to throw the ball out of play rather than taking the sack, don't fumble the football, make smart plays to get your team to the first down. These are all situations a quarterback must negotiate in the NFL.

Being a Winner

Imagine your team having possession of the football on their own 20 yard line with two minutes left on the clock and five points down. Can your quarterback pick up the team and drive the football down the field for a touchdown? Having the respect of your teammates and the confidence to lead a team to victory under the most pressurized environments is a rare commodity in the NFL.

Decision Making

Do you run the football? Do you throw the football? Which wide receiver do you throw the football to? How will you beat the opposing defense based on the skill-set of the team? While the offensive coordinator and the head coach help design the plays and prepare the team for the game ahead, the decision making on game day comes down to the quarterback when the plays are executed.


Respect. Confidence. Arrogance. Swagger. Being vocal. A quarterback needs as many of these attributes as possible. The team, the coaches and the fans have to believe that the quarterback can win games. The quarterback has to believe in himself to win games. Without leadership, the franchise can quickly nose-dive and descend into mediocrity.


Of course a quarterback can have all of the above characteristics, but at the end of the day skill-set means everything. Can your quarterback throw on the run? What about his foot work? And arm strength? To be elite, your skill-set has to be elite. Fail this, and the opposing team can quickly take advantage of your weaknesses.

Where does all of this leave Ryan Tannehill?

This much is clear. From the 2012 season to the 2013 season, progress has been made even under the most difficult of circumstances. In 2012, Tannehill had a dearth of wide receivers to throw the football to, while in 2013 the offensive line allowed the most sacks in team history.

Also, consider this. Tannehill's completion rate (2012: 58.3%; 2013 60.4%) was up. Passing touchdowns were doubled (2012: 12; 2013: 24). The ability to make plays in excess of 20 (2012: 40; 2013: 46) and 40 yards (2012: 3; 2013: 20) also increased, while total passing yards in 2013 (3,913) were the ninth most in franchise history.

Moreover, Tannehill also made great progress in reading coverages and spreading the ball among his receivers, two key attributes in any west coast offense. Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Charles Clay all caught at least 65 passes on the season.

And leading the team to victories under the most pressurized games? Wins against New England, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Indianapolis were defining moments.

Finally, Ryan Tannehill did all the above despite getting sacked 58 times. Improvements were made despite the team garnering the attention of the national media via ‘bully-gate'.

Is Ryan Tannehill a franchise quarterback now? In all honesty, he's not there yet. Will he be a franchise signal caller in the future? I'll let you decide.

Do you think Ryan Tannehill has the ability to be a franchise quarterback? How many of the above attributes has he got under his arsenal? Lets hear your thoughts.