Ryan Tannehill was the NFL’s most-sacked quarterback his first four seasons in the NFL, and he never once complained about terrible protection or taking too many hits. He also never said this about those offensive lines:
“I’m more confident in this offensive line than I’ve ever been.”
But that’s exactly what Tannehill said Wednesday as the Dolphins continued their preparations for their regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans.
Tannehill, on the wrong end of 184 sacks from 2012 to 2015, is going to be playing behind a revamped offensive line in 2018.
Left tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Left guard Josh Sitton.
Center Daniel Kilgore.
Right guard Jesse Davis.
Right tackle Ja’Wuan James.
And Tannehill is convinced he’s in good hands.
“I think they do a great job and have done a great job over the course of camp of gelling, coming together as a unit, starting with five individual guys and coming together as a unit and working as a unit,” Tannehill said.
“And once you start seeing that happen and they’re passing off twists and games up front, it gives you a lot of confidence as a passer to stand in the pocket and make the throw.”
Tannehill obviously believes this offensive line will protect him better than any has before. The lowest number of sacks he has suffered in any season was 29 in 2016 — although that was through only 13 games because he missed the final three games with his well-chronicled knee injury.
This line’s job is to keep the number of sacks well south of 29. And they seem excited about the prospects of keeping Tannehill’s confidence in them at a high level.
“Well when your starting quarterback says that, that’s probably the highest compliment that you can get as an offensive lineman,” Kilgore said. “We’ve not even played one game yet, but this line has the potential to be a great offensive line.
“We got some young guys, some veteran guys. It’s not just the starting five but the guys behind us as well. We got, really, too good of a group of men not to be good.”
Interestingly, the Miami offensive line that could do well protecting Tannehill could also prosper with its run-blocking. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore have been complimentary of the unit in the preseason, and Drake finished that early span averaging 6.8 yards per carry.
“We work well together,” Kilgore said. “There’s an open-door policy. When you got something to say you can say it. Any group that works together, I think that’s the No. 1 priority, and this group does that. We work well together.”
Obviously, this is everyone projecting. Kilgore recognizes that. But that doesn’t change his thinking.
“We’ve not played our first game yet so the verdict is still out,” he said. “But we’ve got a group that comes to work every day. And that’s all you can ask for.”