Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Verdict is still out on Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) signals in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. on Sunday, November 8, 2015.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) signals in the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, N.Y. on Sunday, November 8, 2015. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said six words Thursday that spoke volumes. He had been asked whether he wanted to throw more passes than his 19 last week and cut to the bottom line in saying it didn’t matter, explaining: “I’m in the business of winning.”

He is, indeed.

So when is it going to start?

It is fair to ask this week — almost unavoidable, in fact — as the 50 greatest players in Dolphins franchise history are in town to be honored at halftime of Monday night’s game vs. the Giants in a ceremony marking the club’s 50th season. Two of those greatest players are named Dan Marino and Bob Griese.

So we are reminded of better days and better players, almost all of them in the past.

It isn’t that anyone expects Tannehill to be a Hall of Famer. But is also is fair to say we expected more of the No. 1 draft pick by now than a four-year record of 7-9, 8-8, 8-8, 5-7 and no playoff appearances.

Has he taken a step forward this season?

“I don’t know.”

Does he think 2016 will be his breakout season?

“I hope so.”

He called this “a crazy year for us for a lot of different reasons.”

Yes, when the in-season tumult includes the coach being fired and then the offensive coordinator, too, that’s crazy. The thing is, both moves are due in part to the quarterback underperforming.

As the Dolphins celebrate their past, the frustration of the present isn’t just a seventh consecutive season out of the playoffs. It is that we still aren’t sure what we have at the most important position.

We still aren’t sure if Tannehill is the franchise quarterback who will lead Miami to new glory days.

▪ Our King Sport Third Quarter Awards as we enter final month of NFL regular season: MVP — Panthers QB Cam Newton. Offensive Player of Year — Patriots QB Tom Brady. Defensive POY —T exans DE J.J. Watt. Offensive rookie: Bucs QB Jameis Winston. Defensive rookie — Chiefs CB Marcus Peters. Coach of the Year — Panthers’ Ron Rivera. Dolphins MVP — tie, WR Jarvis Landry and S Reshad Jones.

▪ Unbeaten Carolina is the new Super Bowl betting favorite for first time all season at 4-1 odds, via Bovada. New England is now second at 9-2, followed by Arizona at 11-2. Panthers are 5-2 to finish 16-0, and 8-1 longs hots to end perfect at 19-0.

▪ Five Dolphins are top 10 at their position in final week of Pro Bowl voting. C Mike Pouncey, DT Ndamukong Suh, SS Reshad Jones and return man Jarvis Landry all are sixth. P Matt Darr is 10th.

▪ Jets’ Brandon Marshall (another guy Miami may have erred in letting go) became first WR to have 1,000-yard seasons for four different clubs: Broncos, Dolphins, Bears, now Jets.

▪ Jaguars’ Blake Bortles (27 TDs) can become only fourth QB to top 30 in a season at age 23 or younger, joining Dan Marino, Daunte Culpepper and Matthew Stafford.

▪ Looking ahead to Dolphins-Giants here Monday night, seven consecutive MNF games have been decided by eight points or less, the longest Monday streak since 1974.

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