Ryan Tannehill might as well adopt the motto: Have legs, will run.
On a conference call with Dolphins fans Wednesday evening, Tannehill all but begged offensive coordinator Mike Sherman to let him use his mobility more this season — before acknowledging that he will never be Mia-mi’s version of RGIII.
“I like throwing on the run,” Tannehill said. “Whether it’s designed, a naked bootleg, or something that’s spontaneous, I think it adds an element where defensive linemen just aren’t teeing up.”
But Tannehill later added: “It will always be a small part of our offense. I don’t think we’re going to rely heavily on my feet. … I don’t think it’ll be a pillar of our offense.”
Never miss a local story.
Athleticism shouldn’t be a problem. The onetime collegiate wide receiver ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. And he had 211 yards on the ground in 2012 — 10th-most among NFL quarterbacks.
Plus, Tannehill is empirically best when he keeps defenses off balance.
His quarterback rating while throwing off play-action was 121.2 — second-highest in the league — according to Pro Football Focus. By comparison, his rating when he didn’t play-fake was 67.7 — worst among quarterbacks who took at least half of their team’s snaps.
Plus, his quarterback rating was a full 10 points higher in situations where he felt no pressure, as opposed to plays in which he was harassed.
Tannehill didn’t have to worry much about blitzers while dropping back Wednesday evening, as he lobbed passes to local kids at an event promoting the team’s home opener.
The Dolphins announced that anyone aged 15 and under will be able to buy a $15 ticket for the Sept. 22 game against Atlanta (with any purchase of a full-price adult ticket). The “Kids Kickoff” promotion also includes a free Dolphins Fathead, popcorn and a chance to play on the field after the game.
The event was the latest in a series of programs intended to jump-start enthusiasm among the team’s long-suffering fan base. Tannehill’s Q&A with Dolphins supporters was another.
Among the other nuggets in his half hour conference call:
When asked specifically what needs to improve in his second year, Tannehill cited third-down effectiveness and completion percentage.
Tannehill always wanted to be an NFL player growing up, back when he was a kid playing tackle football in the street. (“I don’t recommend that at all, but that’s what we did,” he joked.)
His childhood heroes were NFL quarterbacks: Dan Marino, Troy Aikman and Steve Young, among them.
He has been weight training four times a week in preparation for training camp, which begins in earnest Sunday morning.
“It’s been a long time coming since the Patriots game,” Tannehill said. “I took some time away, but I’m very exciting about the opportunity this team has coming up. Now it’s time to put the pieces together and make the puzzle.”
Paul Soliai, Miami’s starting defensive tackle who is entering the final year of his contract, has no plans to hold out of training camp.
The Dolphins have yet to offer an extension to the seventh-year run-stopper, and those close to the situation do not believe a deal will happen soon.
Randy Starks, who skipped the Dolphins’ voluntary spring workouts to protest being given the franchise tag, also will report to camp on time.
Rookie cornerback Jamar Taylor, who underwent surgery for a sports hernia this spring, should be ready to go for the start of camp, according to a league source. The Dolphins might choose to ease him along the first few weeks, however.