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Criticism made Tannehill ‘better,’ is ‘leader of our team’

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Dolphins safety Michael Thomas spoke about the Miami quarterback this week.

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Certain member the Miami Dolphins’ fan base and media have been harsh when it comes to their views of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. From calling him a “reach” when he was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft to questioning his “pocket presence” to his “inability” to audible, there has been a never ending string of criticism directed toward Tannehill.

This morning alone, after an article about the ability to get a Tannehill Elite Nike Jersey for about 50 percent of its normal price, I immediately received a tweet that the jersey “looks great 1Q, falls apart in 4th quarter.” Why? Because it is Tannehill.

Dolphins safety and special teams captain Michael Thomas discussed the constant criticism of Tannehill on Monday during an appearance on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show with host Damon Amendolara (as relayed by the Miami Herald’s Adam Beasley). “I’d say it’s fair to say that, but I definitely say it’s helped him,” Thomas said on the high level of criticism Tannehill has received, starting early in his career. “He’s learned from it and now I feel like he is that leader. He is that leader in the locker room. He is that leader of our team and it’s made him better.”

He continued, “I definitely think a lot of people, they ride him a little too much, but I see the grind that he puts in every single day staying late. He’s even helping us out trying to decipher what offenses are trying to do to us. So I think he is taking that next step to be an elite quarterback.”

Tannehill appeared to be settling into first-year head coach Adam Gase’s offensive system last year before a knee injury ended the Texas A&M product’s season. He finished the year with 2,995 passing yards, with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His completion percentage (67.1 percent), yards per attempt (7.7 yards), and passer rating (93.5) were all career highs.

The Dolphins were 8-5 in the 13 games in which Tannehill started, putting the team in position to earn their first winning season and playoff berth since 2008. The Dolphins finished the year 10-6 before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wildcard round of the playoffs.

Throughout the team’s offseason training program, Tannehill has worn a knee brace, something he has said will continue throughout the regular season, but he has not appeared to have any issues with mobility, either in the pocket or during designed runs. The real test will come, obviously, once training camp practices next month transition to full pads and the preseason games begin, but Tannehill appears to be fully healthy and ready to pick up where he left off last year.

According to Thomas, a part of that includes being the team’s leader in the locker room and taking that next step toward becoming an elite quarterback in the NFL.

No matter how much the criticism seems to say he is nothing more than an average quarterback.