The Miami Dolphins shut down quarterback Ryan Tannehill for the week before the team’s bye, hoping that not throwing would allow the capsule injury in his throwing shoulder to heal enough that the team could get him back in Week 12 when they visit the Indianapolis Colts. With both teams 5-5 on the year and a part of a five-way tie for the sixth-and-final playoff spot, Tannehill returning to the starting lineup in Indianapolis could be a huge boost for the Dolphins, who have seen Brock Osweiler regress over the past few weeks. As the team now comes out of the bye and gets ready for the Colts, how is Tannehill’s shoulder and his rehab progression?
“We just increased his throwing program,” head coach Adam Gase explained on Monday. “Really, it’s kind of, ‘Did we cover this? Did we do on the move, awkward throws?’ That’s the next step. We just kept trying to spitball things off each other and make sure we’re covering everything before we would get him out to practice, where all of a sudden, something comes up and he hasn’t done it yet.”
Gase described the program Tannehill has done over the last several days, starting with stationary targets, working at 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, 30-, 40, and 50-yards. The then added some moving targets to the mix, using the trainers as receivers since the rest of the team was off for the bye week.
Asked if Tannehill was able to reach those 50-yard targets, Gase responded, “Yeah, he can throw it down the field now. It looks good. It’s just all about how many times. It’s always just constantly that conversation of ‘How are you feeling?’ I’m sure it’s annoying him. I’ll ask the same question so many times where’s like, ‘Enough.’ But, I don’t know how he feels. I’ve just got to go off what he tells me.”
“He looks like what I remember,” Gase continued. “I feel like it’s forever since I’ve seen him throw, but to me, he looks what he once looked like. Now, it’s about the next day. And then how much can we do the next day. Then, after a day off, how does he feel after that? Really, it’s going to be a test. When we go out to practice, and now it’s a different intensity, it’s different throws. You have bodies in front of you and now your arm angle has to chance. There’s some things we can’t do with him on air that we’re going to be able to do with him at practice. “
The Dolphins are hoping that Tannehill will be able to practice on Tuesday when the team reports back from the bye week. They adjusted their practice schedule this week due to the bye and Thanksgiving day, with practices scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.
As for Tannehill actually being back on the field on Sunday against the Colts, Gase said, “I don’t know. I’ll find out here in a little bit. I really don’t know. I’m not going to rule him out because if comes to me and is like, ‘I feel great,’ we can’t be wrong starting the week one way and then flipping back, or vice versa, if we get to Friday and all of the sudden it’s, ‘I feel like I can go.’ It just doesn’t work. It’s just hard enough for a quarterback as it is when you get all the reps during a week of practice. We’ll kind of see how it goes.”
The good news is, the Dolphins are not yet ruling out Tannehill. There is hope for his return. Tuesday’s practice - and maybe more importantly Wednesday’s - should give us all a better feeling of if Miami sees their starting quarterback return for a potential run towards the playoffs.