Miami Dolphins

Ten things we will remember about Ryan Tannehill’s time as Dolphins quarterback

Ryan Tannehill’s remaining time with the Dolphins can now be counted in hours, not years.

Barring a trade, the team is expected to cut Tannehill this week. The Dolphins are already eying potential replacements, including Tyrod Taylor, as Armando Salguero reports.

But before we officially turn the page on Tannehill’s seven seasons in Miami, let’s take one final look on the good, the bad and the unlucky moments we will remember long after he has left town.

10. Hard Knocks life: Tannehill’s time in the fishbowl began earlier than most rookie quarterbacks, with HBO cameras inside his huddle, meeting room and even apartment during his first training camp in 2012. After David Garrard got hurt, Tannehill won the starting job over Matt Moore. Seven years later, one thing we can safely say: Tannehill knows what teams are in which divisions. He didn’t as a rookie.

9. Welcome to the NFL: There was no storybook ending to Tannehill’s time with the Dolphins. And the beginning was no picnic either. Tannehill looked overwhelmed in his NFL debut, throwing three interceptions in a blowout loss in Houston. It was a sign of things to come. Tannehilll’s career passer rating on the road is a full 10 points lower on the road than at home.

8. Backing the ‘bully:’ At the height of Bullygate, when Richie Incognito was a national pariah, Tannehill rallied to his defense. In perhaps his most fascinating news conference as a pro (we have included the other candidate later on in this list), a bemused Tannehill basically backed the bus over Jonathan Martin and called Incognito “the best teammate I could ask for.”

7. Almost perfect: For a while Tannehill was an NFL record-holder. By connecting on 18 of 19 passes (for 282 yards and a career-high four touchdowns) in the Dolphins’ 2015 victory over the Texans, he posted what was at the time the highest single-game completion percentage in NFL history (94.7 percent). The number now ranks third behind Philip Rivers (96.6 percent) and Marcus Mariota (95.7 percent).

6. Family man: Tannehill has no greater ally than his wife Lauren. They were married three months before the Dolphins drafted him, and have been inseparable ever since. She picked him up during his lowest moments as a pro and was a mainstay at games and training camp practices. The couple has two adorable kids: Steel and Stella.

5. California dream: For a brief moment, it all clicked. In Adam Gase, Tannehill finally had a coach who believed in him. And Tannehill justified the faith in November 2016 by carrying the Dolphins to consecutive wins in Southern California. The highlight? When he directed back-to-back touchdown drives to close out the Rams game, including the game-winner to DeVante Parker.

4. Say it ain’t so, Joe: Tannehill never had the perfect marriage with Joe Philbin. But the beginning of the end of their relationship probably can be traced to Week 4 of the 2014 season. That’s when Philbin failed to back Tannehill after a slow start to the season. But Tannehill pushed back, telling reporters he wasn’t pleased that Philbin unnecessary caused a “distraction.” It was a refreshing moment of candor from a usually straight-laced Tannehill.

3. It’s not how you start ...: ... but how you finish. No one knows that better than Tannehill, who never appeared in a playoff game during his seven seasons as a Dolphin. Yes, he likely would have in 2016, if not for the knee injury. But we will never know for sure. We do know this: He essentially controlled his destiny in 2013 and 2018, but face-planted down the stretch. In five pivotal late-season games, he was awful (51.4 percent, two touchdowns, six interceptions and a 52.1 passer rating).

2. ‘Miracle’ finish: Tannehill will forever be part of Dolphins folklore. He officially was credited for a touchdown pass on the final play of the Dolphins’ win over the Patriots in late 2018. Of course, he was just a small cog in the hook-and-lateral mayhem. But the magic was only possible because Tannehill’s pass to Kenny Stills was on the money.

1. This ends in tears: The Dolphins don’t just make Darius Rucker cry. Tannehill’s eyes welled up too during a heartbreaking moment on the sidelines, and who could blame him? Cameras captured an emotional Tannehill during the Cardinals game in 2016 shortly after he learned that he sustained a significant knee injury. He would not play again until 2018.

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Adam Beasley has covered the Dolphins for the Miami Herald since 2012, and has worked for the newspaper since 2006. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Communications and has written about sports professionally since 1996.
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