Armando Salguero

Black and white answers to questions about Ryan Tannehill’s shoulder. And gray areas that might have to be considered

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the best thing QB Brock Osweiler did in the victory over the Chicago Bears.

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the best thing QB Brock Osweiler did in the victory over the Chicago Bears.
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Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase on the best thing QB Brock Osweiler did in the victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Ryan Tannehill shoulder injury questions you’re wanting answers to? Here you go ...

Tannehill, nursing a throwing shoulder injury, is day to day, according to head coach Adam Gase. The quarterback is resting Monday and Tuesday and the team will evaluate Wednesday morning whether he should try practicing and if so to what degree.

“It’s just an unusual situation because last week we started the week and he was sore but then it got worse as the week went on,” Gase said Monday.

“That’s why we found ourselves in the position we weren’t thinking we were really going to be in. And normally, anytime he’s been banged up or had some kind of injury he’s always progressed positively. That’s why we probably thought we’d get the same thing.

“That didn’t happen. That’s why we waited until the last minute. And that’s where we’re at right now. We’ll see how this week goes.”

Gase said Tannehill definitely is not out for the entire rest of the season. The Dolphins expect Tannehill to play again in 2018. But Gase could not guarantee the injury is not a long-term issue.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I really don’t. I don’t know the answer. It’s day to day and it’s really going to be about how he feels. I’ll know when I see him throw again.”

I’m told Gase defines anything beyond this week as long-term -- hence his reference to day-to-day. Otherwise he’d be talking about the issue as a week-to-week problem. So Tannehill could actually play on Sunday if he feels better.

“It’s really more about rest now,” Gase said. “He might wake up on Wednesday and feel great. And then go out and throw and feel good. And then it’s going to be about how he feels the next day.”

When Tannehill is fully healthy again, he is the starter ahead of Brock Osweiler.

“Yes, he’ll be the starter,” Gase said. “Yes. Yes.”

So that is the black and white of the Tannehill shoulder situation. The quarterback’s status for the coming week against the Detroit Lions will be settled probably by Thursday at the earliest if he feels right.

But as with most things about the NFL, there are gray areas. And operating successfully within those areas of nuance is where teams can salvage wins in difficult times.

Consider:

Suppose Tannehill isn’t 100 percent but he’s 85 or 90 percent. What then? Does Gase play him against the Lions? Or does Osweiler, who threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns against Chicago, get another start?

My assumption is Tannehill is going to sit until he’s 100 percent as long as Osweiler is performing. And so far, Osweiler is performing.

Now if we’re three weeks down the road (unlikely) and Tannehill is still only 90 percent and the Dolphins are 1-2 under Osweiler, that’s a different question. That might lead to Tannehill starting.

But that’s not the situation now. So Tannehill has to be comfortable and be able to make all the throws before he plays.

“I want him to be healthy. I want him to be right,” Gase said. “I don’t want him to put himself in a situation where he goes to do something and it’s not there. Like if he needs to throw a ball a certain way and he can’t juice it up the way he thinks he can and then you throw a ball that doesn’t come out right. That was my biggest thing going into this game of, ‘Can you make the throws the way you want to make them?’

“And that was where we were having a lot of discussions and he was too. That was his main concern -- of what if I can’t throw it the way I want to?

There’s another gray area scenario that must be considered ...

What happens if Osweiler continues to play well after Sunday’s win over Chicago? What happens if he plays better than Tannehill did before the injury?

What if the Dolphins win the next three games under Osweiler before Tannehill gets totally “right?”

Gase could not possibly hand the job back to his starter without a thoughtful process that considers the best interest of the team.

And so in that regard, Gase’s “yes, yes, yes,” answer Monday might come with a caveat.

That is obviously not where the Dolphins are now, however. That’s four or five steps down a road no one might ever have to travel.

Right now, there is hope Tannehill can be ready to go against the Lions and if he cannot, then Osweiler will get the call.

The next three days will be key.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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