Over the past few weeks, local and national media have been coming out in full force to tear down the Miami Dolphins. After offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was fired, one reporter said that the one constant with the firing of former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, former head coach Joe Philbin and now Lazor was quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Other media members jumped in and just as easily blamed Tannehill. It's easy to do that. With that in mind though, I'm going to take you around the NFL and show you three constants that should open your eyes just a tad bit more.
Since 2007, the Detroit Lions have a record of 47-81, which translates into a 0.367 winning percentage. They have been to the playoffs just twice in the past eight years and have not advanced past the Wild Card Round. The one constant on that team? Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson, who was drafted in 2007. Now, you don't hear anyone saying that he is the reason why the Lions have not been very successful. They blame it on the coaching staff, front office structure, defense, quarterback, lack of support around him and pretty much anything else you can think of. Why? It's because Johnson produces and it's hard to pin something on him.
Since 2006 and not counting this season, the Dallas Cowboys have a record of 84-60, which translates into a 0.583 winning percentage. Over the past nine years, they have made the playoffs just four times and have lost in the Divisional Round each time, with the exception of 2006 when they lost in the Wild Card. The one constant during that time? Quarterback Tony Romo. However, you won't hear the media harp on Romo. Why? It's because he has produced and you can't simply just sit there and nail him for all that has gone wrong.
Our own Miami Dolphins made it to the Super Bowl just once in Dan Marino's career, which was in 1984. Yes, they made the playoffs year after year but could never make that final leap to get back to the big game. The one constant during that time? Dan Marino. However, no one went after him because he was producing and setting records left and right. They blamed the defense and rightly so. They blamed the lack of a run game and rightly so. They blamed the poor drafting by head coach Don Shula and the rest of the front office and rightly so.
I know what you're thinking. It's easy for you to say that Tannehill hasn't produced at the same level Calvin Johnson, Tony Romo and Dan Marino has. You're right - he hasn't. However, that's why it is so easy and so lazy for local and national media to pin all of the troubles on Tannehill. They won't go in-depth and point out that the Dolphins have two of the worst starting offensive guards in the NFL. They won't go out of the way to break down film and show you that Kelvin Sheppard, the starting linebacker for the Dolphins, just isn't simply getting the job done.
They won't go and show you that Tannehill has been hit basically more than any other quarterback since he came into the league in 2012. They won't go out of the way to show you that he has been hindered by Sherman and Lazor. Remember go and go-go? Remember that Tannehill had no ability to audible under Lazor? Those two things is what you do with high school players, not NFL players.
They won't show you the Dolphins cornerbacks get beat on a regular basis and aren't very good. They won't dive in deeper and tell you that the vast majority of the Dolphins coaching staff is not good and in fact, some are not even qualified to be coaching in the NFL.
Am I completely absolving Tannehill of all blame? Absolutely not. He still has a lot of work to do. This includes sharpening his awareness in his pocket, putting better touch on some of his passes, like the one he overthrew to Jarvis Landry on Monday night against the New York Giants. He needs to show consistency over a several-week span instead of having one good game and then one bad game.
But, to say that the Dolphins are not a good team and to say that the reason why Philbin, Sherman and Lazor have been fired because of Tannehill is baseless and lazy.
The fact is that if you look hard enough, you can find that one constant and spin it any way you want. You can also decide not to look hard enough, like the local and national media have done, and simply find the scapegoat that everyone knows.
Yes, the Dolphins haven't had a winning record since 2012 and because of that, they haven't made the playoffs. Yes, one of the constants has been Tannehill. But to say it's his fault that this is the reason why the Dolphins are who they are? That's crazy.
This column was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter! Follow @FinsInsider