Adam Gase is not just a passenger aboard the Ryan Tannehill hype train.
He’s the engineer, the conductor and the beverage cart attendant.
And two weeks into training camp, Tannehill has held up his end of the bargain.
He’s been largely mistake free. While his backups have been victimized for interceptions, Tannehill has kept a clean stat sheet.
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It’s just a continuation of what Tannehill did in the spring, and what prompted Gase to say then that his quarterback was performing at the highest level since he took over as coach in 2016.
So we know Gase is really happy with Tannehill.
What we did not know, until Friday, was why exactly.
What is Tannehill doing better than ever?
“[In 2016,] we were all trying to learn the offense and I was trying to learn them,” Gase said. “That was the early stages of the offense. Really, once we hit the spring last year, he was just trying to fine-tune more the throws, the pinpoint accuracy. Instead of missing the throws a little bit, he was trying to put it exactly where he wanted it.”
That’s why Gase was so bullish on his team’s chances last year.
Those hopes fizzled in August of 2017, when Tannehill re-injured his left knee, costing him the entire season.
As a result, Tannehill has not played a snap of live-action NFL football in 19 months.
And yet, Gase has never been more pleased with his quarterback.
“I think this year, it’s even the next step,” Gase said. “He’s trying to see things and get us out of plays and make sure everybody’s on the same page. It’s slowed down for him mentally, as far as being able to communicate with guys, and if guys have questions, that’s not going to mess him up for what else he has to do. When you first get in an offense, sometimes you can get your mind all jumbled up and next thing you know, you’re not paying attention to coverage and you make a mistake and don’t see the guy drop in there. I don’t think that stuff really gets him anymore.”
So the mental game is clicking. But we will not truly know if Tannehill’s body will respond to what his mind tells it to until we get to the games — regular season games.
Still, Gase is not worried about that either (at least publicly).
“He’s done the same (in games), at least in my experience, of what I’ve seen in practice,” Gase said. “From what I’ve seen, it’s almost a better version. Because when you throw in tackling. Sometimes in practice, you’re like, ‘Yeah, we wouldn’t have got that throw off,’ and then in a game, he stands in there and takes a good hit. He doesn’t shy away from stepping into the throw and completes the ball. Some of the things that you think aren’t going to be real, they end up being real. He ends up making the throws that you don’t expect him to make. At the same time, I think his size and his ability to move, that’s beneficial to us because he gets us out of a lot of trouble and helps the run game as well.”