The Miami Dolphins believe they will return to their 2016 form, when the team finished 10-6 and in the playoffs, in large part because they will see Ryan Tannehill on the field for the first time since December 2016. Tannehill returns to the helm of head coach Adam Gase’s offense, ready to pick up where he left off when Calais Campbell hit him in the knee and costing him the end of 2016, and ultimately all of 2017.
All across the media, prior to the NFL Draft, there was talk about how Miami needed to pick one of the top quarterbacks in this year’s selection process, replacing the oft-injured Tannehill. The Dolphins, however, looked forward to Tannehill’s return, realizing that the quarterback who would play with blood in his urine and had not missed a game, prior to the knee injury, since being drafted in 2012, would be the right choice to lead the team in 2018. That decision has led to months of speculation that Miami is in trouble this season and that Tannehill is the biggest concern on the roster.
NFL.com’s Gil Brandt released a list of the top five most and least enviable QB situations in the NFL on Thursday, and the Dolphins made the list among the least enviable.
But not because of Tannehill.
“Tannehill was playing the best football of his career when he went down with an ACL injury in late 2016,” Brandt explained. “Based on their decision not to draft a quarterback this year, the Dolphins must be confident Tannehill -- who was also robbed of his 2017 campaign -- can thrive running an up-tempo attack this season. I love Tannehill, and I think he’s better than people give him credit for; he’s athletic, smart and capable of winning.”
Brandt’s comment about Tannehill playing his best football just prior to the injury is correct, with the quarterback coming up three games short that season, but finishing the year with career highs in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating. The Dolphins appeared to be finding their groove with Tannehill and head coach Adam Gase, only to see it ripped away when Tannehill’s ACL partially tore.
The Dolphins in 2018, however, have a giant question mark at the backup quarterback position. David Fales appears to be the favorite to win the role as the second-string passer, but Brock Osweiler is also in the competition. The Dolphins have Bryce Petty on the roster as well, but he has not worked his way up the depth chart mid-way through the preseason. This is where Brandt has issues with Miami’s quarterback situation.
“However, the backup situation is dicey, to put it delicately,” Brandt continued. “Osweiler seems to be a mess. He throws a lot of interceptions (27 in 29 games over the last three seasons) and, perhaps more troublingly, hasn’t looked good this preseason despite having been reunited with coach Adam Gase, who was his offensive coordinator during his time in Denver. Fales and Petty (who is dealing with an oblique injury) do not inspire much confidence, either.”
It seems like an accurate representation of Miami’s quarterback situation - Tannehill is solidly the starter and should be better than most people seem to think he will be, while the rest of the position is still a question mark.