By Jeremiah Thermidor
Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck have done incredible jobs as first-year quarterbacks thrust into the spotlight, both now boasting 4-3 records. A shot at the playoffs is a strong possibility for these young stars, and they’re proving teams can achieve success starting rookie quarterbacks, just as long as they select the ones with legitimate potential and put the right pieces around them.
Tannehill practiced Thursday, taking all the first team drills during the session. There remains doubt whether he will play this weekend after suffering knee and quadriceps injuries in the first quarter of Miami’s game against the Jets last Sunday. Tannehill, of course, left the contest and didn’t return. He was replaced by backup QB Matt Moore who did an excellent job in his absence. Tannehill hadn’t practiced all week up until Thursday. He’s had his knee drained twice this week, but finally getting some reps in increases the likelihood that he may get on the field when the Dolphins face off against the Colts.
Meanwhile, Luck is seeking to help his team win its third straight game. The Colts knocked off the Browns and Titans in Weeks 7 and 8 respectively. In Indy’s win against the Titans, Luck passed for 297 yards with a touchdown and an interception. In the matchup versus Cleveland, Luck not only put forth a respectable passing performance with 186 yards but he also used his legs to lift his team to victory. In fact, Luck ran the ball three times totaling 12 yards as he became the third QB in franchise history to have two rushing touchdowns in a single game.
What’s great about watching Luck, though, is his ability to spread the ball around to numerous pass catchers like he did versus Tennessee, in which nine different guys had receptions. He has the innate quality to make receivers who probably wouldn’t shine on other teams a whole lot better, which is why he’s definitely going to be a force in the league for years to come.
“He’s a very competitive guy. He has good awareness for a rookie,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said Thursday. “He’s got the arm we all thought he did. He’s really good. It’s going to be a great challenge for our defense.”
Luck has done a great job running the no-huddle offense, so, the Colts definitely have the goods to put up points early, which is what they’ll need to do in order to be competitive with this Miami team. The Dolphins will need to put pressure on Luck as soon as possible, considering he’s hard to defend once he gets in a rhythm. Miami sure has a weapon to do just that in defensive end Cameron Wake. Wake was recently announced as October’s AFC defensive player of the month. He’s totaled 7.5 sacks this season which is fourth in the league. He’s certainly the leader of Miami’s defense, with the energy he brings and the example he sets for the younger guys.
The Indianapolis Colts (4-3) will play host to the Miami Dolphins (4-3) on Sunday at 1 p.m. eastern. You can watch full coverage of the game right here on CBS 4.
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Jeremiah Thermidor is a freelance writer covering all things Miami Dolphins. His work can be found on Examiner.com.