Miami Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill to battle ex-Big 12 foe Brandon Weeden

Ryan Tannehill will duel with Brandon Weeden in the season opener as he tries to reshuffle the perceived pecking order of the NFL’s young QBs.

09/06/2013 12:01 AM

09/06/2013 12:52 AM

From the Pro Football Hall of Fame to the cover of Sports Illustrated, there is no escaping the hype surrounding Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

But what about the other highly drafted quarterbacks from that 2012 class — the Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill and Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden?

Sort of lost in the national mix, no?

“Well, I didn’t forget myself, so I know that,” Tannehill said when asked that question this week. “Those guys get a lot of attention, and it’s deserved. They did a great job, and I’m happy for those guys. [But] definitely didn’t forget about myself.”

For Tannehill, one of the least controversial players in football, that’s as close to self-promotion as he will get. And it shows, however slightly, that there’s a bit of a chip on the shoulder of last year’s eighth overall pick.

In the next two weeks, Tannehill has a chance to reshuffle the perceived pecking order of the league’s young quarterbacks.

He faces Weeden, who had a statistically similar rookie season, in Week 1 and Luck in Week 2 — both on the road. Tannehill’s coach couldn’t care less, though.

“Really, what I’m looking for from Ryan Tannehill this year is, No. 1, improved decision-making, No. 2, better ball accuracy and, No. 3, playmaking abilities at critical times in a game,” Joe Philbin said. “Beyond that, I’m not concerned about how other people compare him to Andrew Luck, RG III or anybody else. I am concerned about how well he plays for the Miami Dolphins though.”

Tannehill and Weeden have ties that extend beyond their low national profiles.

Weeden, taken 14 spots after Tannehill in the draft, went to Oklahoma State. Tannehill preceded Johnny Manziel as Texas A&M’s quarterback.

The Cowboys and Aggies were Big 12 foes (Texas A&M is now in the SEC), but Tannehill only went head-to-head with Weeden once as a starting quarterback, a 30-29 victory by Oklahoma State.

“It wasn’t a good game,” Tannehill recalled.

Foes became casual friends over the following couple of months, during draft week and at the Manning Passing Academy.

“He’s a great guy, a lot like me, and I know he wants to be good,” Tannehill said.

In his last season at Oklahoma State, Weeden broke school records for passing yards (4,727) and completion percentage (72.3).

He is big and strong. Even still, the first thing most everyone brings up about Weeden is his age: He will be 30 next month but is only entering his second pro season.

The reason: Weeden tried his hand at pro baseball first. He was a standout high school pitcher and a second-round pick of the Yankees. But he never panned out in the minors.

Despite his age, Weeden’s skill set was enough to draw the attention of several quarterback-hungry teams in the draft — the Dolphins included.

“He’s a guy we studied intensively when he came out of college,” Philbin said. “The guy’s got a lot of skill and a lot of talent.

“He’s kind of an old-fashioned quarterback,” Philbin added. “He can sling the ball. He’s got velocity and touch. We’re going to have to be on top of our game, no question.”

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