By Dayna O’Gorman // @DaynaOG
When Ryan Tannehill was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the first round of the 2012 draft, fans were very excited. Then, after a few years, that excitement started to wear off as most thought Tannehill wasn’t living up to his promise.
Fast forward to 2019 and he is on a new team and playing fantastic football. The questions become; was the problem in Miami Tannehill’s ability, was it coaching, and what does the future hold for him?
Tannehill played for Miami for 7 seasons but missed 2017 due to injury. In that time, his best years came in 2014 and 2015 when he threw for over 4,000 yards a season. He was a consistently average quarterback, dependable, but not the star many thought he could be, leading the team to the playoffs just one time.
However, during Tannehill’s 7 years in Miami, he had three different head coaches, Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell, and Adam Gase. All coaches with very different philosophies and styles. Coaches who, for one reason or another, never really seemed to click with or have respect for Tannehill’s strengths. The fourth head coach, current HC Brian Flores, came into Miami and traded Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans before the 2019 season.
Tannehill was to be the back up to Titans starting QB, Marcus Mariota, and back up he was for the first half of the season. Then in October, in a game against the Denver Broncos, the Titans benched a struggling Mariota, who had only thrown for 63 yards and thrown 2 interceptions by the third quarter, and put Tannehill in. Mariota hasn’t started since.
Since that day, Tennessee has won 6 of 7 games, are on a 5 game winning streak, and have over a 60% chance of making the playoffs. Tannehill is currently the NFL leader in yards per attempt. He is also the leader in passer rating. This is the same guy who was ranked in the mid-30s in those categories over his career. Could the move to Tennessee allowed Tannehill to become the guy the Dolphins thought he was in the beginning?
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 8, 2019
Sunday, the Titans beat the Oakland Raiders 42-21. Tannehill had one of the best days of his career, throwing for 391 yards and 3 touchdowns. He threw one interception, but then made the tackle that stopped the return. He has grown to be a leader on this team, someone who his teammates trust. It’s trust he never got in Miami, and that Mariota couldn’t manage to garner from his teammates in Nashville. It looks to be the perfect fit for both player and team.
So back to our original questions…what to make of all of this. Is Tannehill a much better quarterback than he was a few years ago? Maybe, although the question “who have they played” has been asked. Were all those coaches in Miami unable to get the most from their team? Definitely. That is obvious by the constant turn over and huge rebuild they are going through now.
As for the future for Ryan, I’d say it’s pretty bright. The Titans have a lot of great pieces on their team, and if they continue to build around him, and he continues to play as well as he has been, the AFC South could have their hands full.
I wonder if Brian Flores wishes he had kept him around.
Follow Dayna on Twitter // @DaynaOG