Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill
will look you in the eye and tell you that “last year wasn’t good enough,” that he simply must improve his completion percentage (23rd in the league) and third-down performance (30th).
But there is so much encouragement in his voice now, optimism rooted in the personal growth he expects from studying “every one of my [rookie] snaps more than once” during the past two months, from identifying his shortcomings and correcting them, and from the shiny new toys general manager Jeff Ireland
has given him.
Quick story: Receiver Mike Wallace
was running routes recently when Tannehill – impressed by his blazing speed - told him he should go only half speed.
“I am going half speed,” Wallace responded, according to Tannehill.
“Everything I heard about him coming in has proved to be true – he’s as advertised,” Tannehill said. “He’s the fastest guy I’ve ever thrown to. It’s exciting.”
Tannehill’s rookie metrics offer promising signs about his ability to hit Wallace on deep routes.
Consider: According to ProFootballFocus.com, Tannehill completed 43.1 percent of passes thrown 20 yards or more, which was seventh best in the league, trailing only Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson
and Matt Ryan
The caveat is only 10.5 percent of his passes were so-called deep passes – compared with 17.3 for Joe Flacco
and 16.3 for Wilson. Among starters, only Ryan Fitzpatrick
and Matt Schaub
threw a lower percentage of deep balls among all their attempts. But with Wallace on board, those deep throws will increase.
And what about his other new receiver, Brandon Gibson
“I really like Brandon,” Tannehill said. “He moves well. He’s a really natural pass catcher, catches with his hands [not his body]. Smooth in and out of routes. I’m excited we got him. And he really understands, so that you’re able to make a correction the first time and not worry about it again.”
So what did Tannehill notice from studying every one of his rookie snaps?
“There were a lot of throws where my feet were not set, fundamentally not sound, and the ball isn’t as accurate as you want it to be,” he said. “You look at the reasons for that and I hope to correct it, so it’s not an issue going forward.”
There’s no sugarcoating this: His 65.3 rating on third down was lowest among qualifying quarterbacks – a number driven down by seven interceptions. He said that must improve.
He also expects more of himself in the red zone, where Miami scored touchdowns on 55.3 percent of its trips. That was 13th best, but well behind the Patriots’ 70 percent.
But there are some encouraging under-the-radar numbers:
### Tannehill ranked seventh in completion percentage when under pressure, at 50.8.
### Pro Football Focus said that if you take away drops, spikes, batted passes and throwaways, Tannehill had a 72.1 accuracy percentage – 13th in the league and well ahead of Eli Manning
, Flacco and Andrew Luck
, among others. Keep in mind Tannehill had 36 passes dropped (11th most) and 13 batted down (tied for fifth most).
“This young man will be the most improved quarterback in the NFL from year one to year two this year,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman
told WINZ-940. “I promise you that.”
Teammates rave about how he ran off-season voluntary workouts.
“He’s becoming a leader,” receiver Brian Tyms
said. “He would take us into the bubble [throughout March], for an hour and a half or so every day, and we would go through our route tree. He works like hasn’t made it yet.”
### Amid the disappointment of the stadium setback, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross
tells us he has received no inquiries to sell the team and has “no interest in selling.” If he changes his mind, a group led by Panthers minority owner Jordan Zimmerman
, who owns one of the nation’s largest ad agencies, remains very interested, according to an associate.
### After Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford
helped torpedo the Dolphins stadium bill by not allowing the House to vote on it, ProFootballTalk.com speculated that Weatherford has statewide political aspirations and stadium opponent Norman Braman
may have promised to assist him.
We asked Braman if he offered such assistance, and he declined to answer, saying it’s “over and done” and that commissioner Roger Goodell’s
belief that the stadium needs major upgrades “is nonsense. The stadium is not third rate.”
### The Dolphins were very impressed by how rookie rookie cornerbacks Jamar Taylor
and Will Davis
looked in rookie minicamp. One source said they appeared more polished than Vontae Davis
and Sean Smith
in their first minicamps.