The Miami Dolphins have had a successful offseason, including the NFL Draft and free agency, especially upgrading the offensive line. None of that matters, however, if quarterback Ryan Tannehill can't improve in his third year.
In Tannehill's first year with the Dolphins offense, he had trouble with consistency in a week-to-week routine. The 25-year-old man under center really didn't have anything to with aside from a versatile running back in Reggie Bush and rising playmaker Brian Hartline.
Tannehill's second year was all about improvements from a turnover and distributing perspective. The former Texas A&M Aggie finished with 17 interceptions, but reached the end zone 24 touchdowns.
While it's easy to get caught up in his 60-percent completion raste, his pocket presence was irrelevant. Tannehill was sacked -- as you all know by now -- 58 times in the 2013 campaign. Most of the those were due to to a lack of cohesiveness in the offensive line, but it does not eliminate his struggling consistency in making correct decisions on the path to success.
Tannehill, who posted 3,913 yards last season, will have no excuse but to succeed in 2014. Unlike former general manager Jeff Ireland, newly named GM Dennis Hickey has set up his quarterback to bring a winning mentality to the Dolphins.
Third time's a charm is an overused cliche, but in this instance, Tannehill's time has got to be now. His first year was a feel out year with his former college coach Mike Sherman, his second year was a debacle due to his protection's lack of chemistry. This year, aided by depth on offensive line, viable weapons on the outside as well in the backfield and a revamped defense who look to give their quarterback some rest, must be the turning point for the signal caller.
Knowshon Moreno was arguably the sleeper pickup for Hickey thus far. He will become Tannehill's best friend early and often. It was evident in Denver that this running back is more than just a ground-and-pound type of back, he is a security blanket to give his quarterback some options.
The offensive line has new faces in new places. Branden Albert moves in to solidify Tannehill's blindside, Shelley Smith has been a talked-about player ever since going to South Beach, Mike Pouncey is a preeminent center in the NFL, Billy Turner has an edge in the open field and zone-blocking schemes and Ja'Wuan James was simply picked to fortify the right side.
Part of the problem with Tannehill's lesser production was injuries to his impact receivers. Veteran tight end Dustin Keller experienced a season-ending injury in the third week of the preseason, Brandon Gibson left October's clash with the New England Patriots with a torn patella tendon and Hartline exited the season finale with a torn PCL against the New York Jets. But with an explosive receiver in Mike Wallace, a young and talented receiver waiting in the wings in Jarvis Landry and an versatile, do-it-all type of tight end in Charles Clay, signs should be headed in the positive direction -- if health does not play a role.
Tannehill's ceiling has yet to have been met. But with all expectations considered, Hickey and head coach Joe Philbin will see what he really brings to the table in the 2014 season.