Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase met with the media on Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. While much of his 15-minute press conference featured questions about the status of wide receiver Jarvis Landry and the growth of several of the younger players, a portion of it was focused on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is returning from a torn ACL that cost him to miss the last 19 games for the team.
Gase left no doubt that he is planning on Tannehill running the team’s offense in 2018, and probably after that, despite rampant speculation that the Dolphins are in the market for a new quarterback this year.
“I’m extremely excited,” Gase replied when asked about his reaction to Tannehill returning. “I know really our entire roster is. The guys that I talk to at the end of the year, everybody appreciated what he brought to the table in years past. Sometimes you lose perspective of what somebody does for your team and what he did for us in 2016 when we lost him and going through an entire season without having him. I think the appreciation for him, not only for the coaching staff but other players is very high.”
Tannehill threw for 2,995 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 13 games in 2016. He partially tore his ACL near the end of the season, with doctors recommending rest and rehab on the injury. He was ultimately cleared to resume football activities in the offseason, participating in the offseason training program and the start of training camp. During camp, however, as he ran along the sideline in a practice, Tannehill injured the knee again, this time leading to surgery and a missed season. He is, however, expected to be ready for the offseason program and training camp this year. Asked about Tannehill’s recovery, Gase responded, “Well, as far as what the trainers and doctors have told me, everything has progressed extremely well. He’s always going to be ahead of where he’s supposed to be. He’s a physical freak and we’ll just kind of play this one as the week goes on, throughout the offseason. Really for me, I won’t personally know until we get into those stages to where we can be out at practice, throwing. All I can do is hear things are going good, he’s moving around well, he’s able to do what he needs to do to play quarterback.”
The Dolphins are expected to be in the quarterback market this year, with only Tannehill and currently Brandon Doughty on the roster for next season. Will that quarterback come in the draft? “I’d love to draft a quarterback every year,” Gase explained. “It doesn’t always work out that way. We’ll see how the board falls for us. That first year, we felt like Brandon was a guy that there was a lot of us were very interested to see what we could do with him, and he had a lot of success in college. We’re still working through things to try to help him get better and we’ll see how this year goes. It’s hard to predict.”
The speculation has been Miami looking at one of the top quarterbacks in the Draft this year, with Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield the most often mentioned name. If the Dolphins were to select one of those quarterbacks, using a first-round pick to make that addition, how would Tannehill react to that move? Gase would not expect any negative reaction, but also does not see the need to plan for a new starting quarterback in Miami, either. “Ryan would never shy away from anybody coming in at that position,” the coach stated. “Ryan is going to be our starting quarterback. And I don’t see that changing anytime soon. And I think that when we get back out there in spring and get going, I just know it’s going to be really good to have him back.”
Gase sounds like a coach who knows who he wants under center, and it is a guy already wearing aqua. The team will likely add a quarterback, giving them a young, backup to develop, and they could even add a veteran to be the starter if injuries sideline Tannehill again (though, as Gase said, Tannehill is a freak and had not missed a game before the knee injury). It sounds like, no matter what the speculation, nor how many analysts say the Dolphins have questions at the position, Gase sees Tannehill as the starter for the Dolphins - and there is no plan to change that anytime soon.