Ryan Tannehill’s first three NFL seasons have defied the laws of football.
Since 2012, he leads the league in number of times being sacked: 139.
And he also leads the league in fewest games missed because of injury: Zero.
Tannehill’s durability is a credit to his toughness. But it also might be a credit to incredible luck. He was sacked a team-record 58 times in 2013; he was under center for all but seven of Miami’s offensive snaps that year.
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But every body has its limit. And despite all the resources thrown at it, the Dolphins’ offensive line still is a mess.
The latest evidence came Tuesday morning. During team drills, safety Michael Thomas blitzed untouched around the offensive line’s left edge and had a free run at Tannehill.
Thomas held up; contact on quarterbacks is prohibited in camp. But come Thursday, when the Dolphins open their preseason in Chicago, the Bears will not be so polite.
So if the line has a similar breakdown, Tannehill will get blasted.
But if he’s worried that he might be playing on borrowed time, the Dolphins’ $96 million quarterback — and the franchise’s best hope of snapping a playoff drought at six years — does a good job of hiding it.
“I don’t feel like I’m borrowing time from anybody,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I’m living my life and trying to make the best of it.”
Added Tannehill: “I feel very confident, not only in the pass protection, but in my ability to get the ball out on time and in the right location.”
The practice tape backs that up. He has been excellent in camp, unlike a year ago.
Tannehill finished with a flourish in 2014, so it’s easy to forget how much he struggled early, particularly in practice. The last two weeks couldn’t have been more different.
“I think he’s throwing the ball better this camp than he ever has overall,” coach Joe Philbin said this week.
A big reason why: Tannehill is supremely confident in Year 2 with offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
And he might have even solved his issues with the deep ball. Tannehill’s struggles on throws 20 yards or longer are well documented; he has completed just 31 percent of such attempts in his career.
Although that’s not a great average, it’s also far from the worst in the league.
A bit of perspective: Since 2012, Tom Brady has the exact same deep-ball completion percentage as Tannehill.
“It’s not an issue,” Tannehill said. “It’s an area of the game that we work on. It’s something that we want to be good at when the season comes, it’ll open up the passing game for us and it’s something that’s going to be a factor for us.”
Added Tannehill: “I think that not only am I better at it, but our receivers are doing a great job of adjusting to the football and making plays on it when it’s in the air. I’m excited about that and the potential that we have.”
Particularly when he gets back arguably his best two deep targets.
Kenny Stills was supposed to be the speedster to replace Mike Wallace. DeVante Parker was supposed to be the big target who would come down with 50-50 balls.
But both are injured. Stills has a pesky calf injury, and Parker’s surgically repaired foot still isn’t ready for practice, let alone a game.
“It hurts,” Tannehill said. “They’re two guys that you expect to be a big part of our offense throughout the season and to not have them out here, it definitely hurts, but somebody is going to have to step up.”
He added: “I think that’s what you’re seeing right now is other guys stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity and guys like Rishard Matthews probably wouldn’t be getting the reps that he has been getting right now, but he’s turning heads every day. He’s making plays on the football, and I have a lot of confidence throwing the ball his way.”