Ryan Tannehill talks to the local media every Wednesday during football season when the Miami Dolphins play on Sunday. And this Wednesday’s meeting between the starting quarterback and the local media was much like many others ...
Tannehill talked of the problems the offense had last week.
He talked of the issues he personally has to get cleaned up moving forward.
He discussed the opponent, which included a good amount of compliments and show of respect for the defense he’s about to face on game day.
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And during Wednesday’s chat it occurred to me we’ve been here before.
After five games in 2018, this Ryan Tannehill press conference played out just as the one he held after five games in 2016 — the Dolphins’ first year under head coach Adam Gase.
I mean, this was a spooky twin of that long ago meet with reporters, right down to questions about a new family addition — back then of new son Steel and this time of new baby girl Stella.
Back then, after a poor Tannehill performance in the fifth game against Tennessee, the quarterback spoke of how he would go home at night and the family dog would still show him love. And Wednesday he talked of how he goes home at night and Steel makes his life feel worthwhile.
“My little guy runs up to me and says, ‘daddy, daddy.‘ It warms your heart and puts a smile on your face and puts things in perspective,” Tannehill said.
Except it’s not. Because that’s how things are now for the Miami Dolphins.
Groundhog Day, folks.
While other AFC East teams have made moves to upgrade their quarterbacks since 2016, the Dolphins have stood still with Tannehill. They’ve been content with Tannehill.
The Dolphins have done nothing significant at quarterback because they believe Tannehill is improving and he’s going to be more than good enough to win with and maybe reach the postseason in the future.
Except that isn’t happening so far. Consider:
In all his 2016 games -- the example I’m using to give Tannehill the benefit of more experience through that first season -- Tannehill completed 65.3 percent of his passes. He’s currently completing 65.9 percent of his passes.
In 2016, Tannehill threw an average of one interception per game. He’s currently throwing an average of one interception per game.
In 2016, Tannehill threw an average of 1.5 touchdowns per game. He’s currently averaging 1.6 touchdowns passes per game.
His interception percentage in 2016 was 3.1 percent. His interception percentage today is worse, at 3.9 percent.
He averaged 250 passing yards per game in 2016. He’s averaging 195 passing yards per game now.
Ryan Tannehill, amazingly, is playing like Ryan Tannehill.
That’s not a criticism. I make this point because the Dolphins are extremely sensitive of anything written or said about their starting quarterback that doesn’t suggest he’s awesome. That starts with Gase, who is a pitbull about his QB.
But the numbers are simply facts.
Stone cold, unfeeling facts.
And those facts suggest one thing that is indeed a criticism: The Dolphins, this head coach and front office that guide the team’s direction, find themselves in no better a spot at quarterback than they had two seasons ago.
The Dolphins have the same quarterback, delivering at about the same level he did in 2016.
This after they promised improvement. This after they admitted they needed improvement at the sport’s most important position.
Unless Tannehill in the next 11 games turns into the player the Dolphins have promised, then the team wasted the past two seasons doing nothing to upgrade the quarterback position. That’s not good news.
And it’s not a good look.
It means the Dolphins wasted time. It means they burned good will. It means patience among fans has thinned and credibility awarded freely two years ago is a fleeting commodity now.
The Dolphins have elected to ride or die with Tannehill, betting on marked improvement they’ve virtually guaranteed will happen.
But, so far, Ryan Tannehill is playing like ... Ryan Tannehill.