Armando Salguero

The reason the next week is a milestone for Ryan Tannehill

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in a November 2016 game against San Francisco. He has had two major knee injuries since, and he's at the center of everything the Dolphins offense is planning for the 2018 season.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in a November 2016 game against San Francisco. He has had two major knee injuries since, and he's at the center of everything the Dolphins offense is planning for the 2018 season.

Miami Dolphins doctors, coaches and Ryan Tannehill will meet this week to decide how much work the quarterback will do during the onfield "organized team activity" sessions that begin next Tuesday and run into mid-June.

According to Dolphins sources the expectation is Tannehill — who missed the final month of 2016 with a partially torn ACL and all of last season when he further tore the same ligament — will be able to participate in the OTAs with little or no limitations.

That would be the medical decision. But coaches might still opt to limit the quarterback in some form not only to work Tannehill in methodically but also to give backup quarterbacks Brock Osweiler and David Fales ample work — including perhaps some snaps with the first-team offense.

All that will be settled by Tuesday when the work begins in earnest, and will be on display to reporters for the first time on Wednesday when the Dolphins open that day's OTA practice to media scrutiny.

So next week Ryan Tannehill will get the closest taste to football he has gotten since last August when he was injured in a training camp practice. The next seven days are a milestone in his return.

And what are the Dolphins expecting? What are we about to see?

"It’s been impressive to watch Ryan really throw the football and the command he has of the offense," said offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, who has seen glimpses of Tannehill's throwing on tape and in the early part of the current offseason conditioning program.

"The 2016 season, he had such a good year. For me, the first thing I did was turn on the [2017] OTAs and the training camp right before he got hurt and got to watch how much improvement and how much jump he had taken in Year 2, and it was unfortunate that he got hurt because obviously the offense was affected by it."

Miami Dolphins VP Mike Tannenbaum and GM Chris Grier, say they are happy with QB Ryan Tannehill as they talk to the media about the upcoming 2018 Draft Day.

Loggains and the Dolphins are optimistic, indeed enthusiastic, about what Tannehill is about to show throughout 2018. Loggains, coach Adam Gase, owner Stephen Ross and practically anyone else drawing a paycheck from the organization think Tannehill is going to be excellent.

There are those within the Dolphins organization that even think Tannehill is about to prove he's an elite NFL quarterback.

(I know this because I have had the debate with them.)

And, like Loggains, everyone points to Tannehill's grand possibilities because he's getting a reboot opportunity to be in Gase's offense a second year.

Tannehill's first year in the offense was 2016. Last year was washed away by that torn ligament. So 2018 is Year 2.

"You guys know in Year 2, a lot of players take huge jumps, especially in the same offense," Loggains said. "Ryan’s had to go through a lot of different systems. He’s a really intelligent guy. He works his tail off. The one thing that I didn’t know about Ryan until I got here is how much he loves football. He throws the ball really well. I was excited to see that. You see the tape and you’re like, ‘Hey, this guy can sling it around a little bit.'

"You just see the growth in the offense from Year 1 to Year 2, especially in OTAs and training camp, that second year going into it before he got hurt."

Miami Dolphins new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is excited about working with quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the upcoming season.

The Dolphins were expecting that jump to manifest itself in the '17 regular season. Obviously Tannehill never got there. So the Dolphins are projecting how high Tannehill's second-year-in-the-offense leap is going to be.

The Dolphins see him jumping into orbit. But that being the case, this isn't the first time Tannehill has been in an NFL offense for Year 2. He has actually done it twice before, and the results are uneven.

Tannehill was in Mike Sherman's offense in his first two NFL seasons. And he was in Bill Lazor's offense the next two seasons, in 2014-15.

Tannehill improved from his rookie to his second season. His completion percentage was better, his touchdown to interception ratio was better. He threw for more yards and his quarterback rating jumped five points.

But Tannehill went the opposite direction under Lazor. He had perhaps his best season in 2014 with 27 TD passes and 12 interceptions. He threw for more than 4,000 yards for the first time in his career and his quarterback rating was 92.8.

And both Lazor and Tannehill were effusive about the possibilities of a grand jump for Year 2.

But Tannehill regressed in 2015. He threw three fewer touchdown passes. His completion percent declined from 66.4 to 61.9 percent.

That season marked Tannehill's first in the NFL in which he retreated from the previous year. Perhaps the reason included other factors within the team — the offensive line was poor and the coaching staff ultimately got fired.

But the tape is the tape.

That is not, however, a concern shared by the current coaching staff.

"We’re in the process of putting together a good plan for him coming up with OTAs," Loggains said. "What I’ve been able to see from him is that he’s a good thrower that can make all of the throws. He can attack you 53 1/3 [yards across the field] and push the ball down the field the way we need him to do.

"There’s not a throw he can’t make, and we’re just in the process of cleaning up the communication things. There’s some fundamental stuff that we’re working hard on. As far as throwing, I haven’t seen any limitations in anything.”

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero
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