Ryan Tannehill closed out the Dolphins spring session with a bang.
In the final moments of the team's final practice until training camp, Tannehill on Thursday ripped off a perfect deep pass to DeVante Parker, who freed himself from coverage for a touchdown.
It was a fitting way to end an important two months for Tannehill, who has not taken a regular-season snap since December of 2016.
He has shown accuracy, touch, command of Adam Gase's offense and — perhaps most importantly — mobility on his surgically repaired left knee. That was on display Thursday when he tucked the ball and ran, showing no fear of the two major knee injuries he suffered in the span of eight months.
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Gase has been more than pleased with the guy who will largely determine whether the Dolphins get back to the playoffs in 2018.
Gase was similarly pumped this time last year with Tannehill's play, and on Thursday was asked to compare then and now with his starting quarterback.
“He’s gotten better," Gase said. "He’s good. I really think that both Dowell [Loggains] and Bo [Hardegree] have done a good job. We’ve been working a lot of pocket movement things, getting him comfortable in that aspect. It doesn’t seem like he’s really changed much, as far as worrying about bodies around him. He’s out there playing and he’s throwing the ball well. You can tell that he spent a lot of time with these guys in the offseason."
Intentional or not, that last sentence serves as a rebuttal to the noise coming out of Cleveland.
Ex-Dolphin Jarvis Landry has been on a bit of a roll lately, ripping the Dolphins' quarterback play in general, and Tannehill in particular. Landry suggested that Tannehill did not do a good enough job working with his receivers away from Dolphins HQ, and stated flatly this week that: "I have not heard from Tannehill. I’m not surprised. We didn’t really have a good relationship.”
Dolphins tight end MarQueis Gray spent 2016 and 2017 with both Tannehill and Landry, and seemed a bit puzzled by the criticism.
"It’s kind of hard for him to say something like that, but we’re moving forward," Gray said. "Tannehill’s our guy, he’s our leader. It’s a new season. We’ve got new guys here. We’re just focused on what we have to do here and wish Jarvis the best."
Added tackle Laremy Tunsil: "That’s the QB. I love having him back. He came off an ACL injury and we missed his leadership last year. Having him back is big for the offense."