MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Now that he’s locked down the starting job for the Miami Dolphins, rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill has passed some elite company.
Neither Dan Marino or Bob Griese cracked the opening day starting lineup as Dolphins quarterback. It’s something that the media and fans pay attention to, but Tannehill isn’t even thinking about.
“I don’t think that’s an indicator,” Tannehill said. “I’m just going to go out one day at a time. Every situation is different. I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I just want to make the most out of it.”
Tannehill’s ascension to the starting job was made easier when David Garrard went down with an injury. But this is Tannehill’s team now and even though he has only 19 college starts, head coach Joe Philbin and many of the veteran players are behind him.
“We’re looking No. 1 for a guy to make excellent decisions. I think that’s the No. 1 thing we’re looking for. No. 2, we’re looking for a guy who throws the ball accurately,” Coach Philbin said. “That’s going to be important. No. 3, we’re looking for a guy that can make a play in a critical situation, be it third-down or red zone or those areas. No. 4, we’re looking for a guy that can get us out of a bad play if one presents itself.”
Tannehill’s college numbers were not overwhelming. His Aggies team was rated in the Top 10 in 2011 preseason polls but plummeted after several second-half meltdowns. Last season, he completed 62 percent of his passes for 3,744 yards and 29 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions.
But, despite coming from a pass-happy spread offense at Texas A&M, Tannehill fell like he could be the starter from day one.
“I wanted to be. As a competitor, that’s just human nature,” Tannehill said. “As a competitor, to want to be the guy. I was going out there every day trying to prove that I could be the guy to win games for this football team and, right now, that’s the case. So just got to continue to get better and win games.”
Tannehill’s first job was to not give it away to the media Monday that he had been named the starting quarterback. When he met with the media, Tannehill knew of the decision, but didn’t give it away.
“I was excited,” Tannehill said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to go out and play. It was a tight battle obviously. We have great guys in that room, great competitors. I appreciate everything that they’ve done along the way to help me out.”
While Tannehill may have the physical tools to become the starting quarterback, he’s not going to have a lot of truly dynamic weapons to work with. Outside of Davone Bess and Anthony Fasano, the rest of the receivers and tight ends on the Dolphins roster may not have even made another team’s roster.
Currently, the Dolphins starting wide receiving corps is Davone Bess, Legedu Naanee, and possibly Roberto Wallace. The one thing that could save Tannehill is if the Dolphins can get a good running game going. If the Fins can run the ball, it alleviates the pressure on Tannehill and that could help him play better.
All that will matter in the end is if Tannehill can produce the W’s.