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Fins On 4: Ryan Tannehill Ready To Take Next Step

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Miami Dolphins

DAVIE (CBSMiami) — This season, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is ready to take the team to a different level with a new and exciting offense and a renewed focus.

After a disappointing 2013 season in which Miami’s offense was one of the worst in football, the Dolphins hired former Eagles’ quarterback coach Bill Lazor to be their new offensive coordinator.

Throughout minicamps, organized team activities (OTAs) and now training camp, the Dolphins new offense is getting rave reviews from both players and coaches.

The first test for the Dolphins new offense came in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons last Friday.

The starting offense played as a whole for just one series, a 10-play drive that resulted in a Brandon Gibson touchdown reception from Tannehill.  Needless to say, despite the small sample size, the quarterback was pleased with how his unit performed.

“It felt really good,” Tannehill said. “We’ve been going against our defense for a while now so it felt good to go against some other competition, to see some game speed, plays from both our offense and our defense.  I felt our offense moved the ball well on the first drive that I was in. I felt we were effective both in running and throwing the football.”

While early signs indicate that the Dolphins may finally have a strong offense, experts outside of Miami will need to see a bit more before they start buying in.

Low expectations are never ideal, but that doesn’t bother Tannehill one bit.

“I’m comfortable where I’m at and striving to be better. I think that if I get to see a victory and the ultimate result as a quarterback is to win games, then the team will get the recognition that I think we deserve and you don’t deserve it if you’re not winning games so that’s our goal this year is to win games.”

Coming off of a season in which Miami had two separate three-game winning streaks and needed one win in their final two games (both of which were against non-playoff teams) to make the playoffs, Dolphins players are very enthusiastic about the team’s chances in 2014.

The bullying scandal that ripped through the Dolphins locker room last year was something that had a very negative effect on their season.  It was impressive to see the team rally around one another and play some good football but ultimately there were just too many issues to overcome.

The positive thing that has stemmed from the scandal is how the players have responded.  There is a new level of camaraderie and accountability amongst the players.  Leaders have emerged and are setting good examples both on and off the field.

“I think it’s a strong point of our locker room right now,” Tannehill explained. “I think we grew through the scandal last year. It was tough times, you know, something no one wanted to go through. I felt like this team grew through that. We’re in a great spot of leadership with communication with coach and the other parts of the coaching staff.”

The proof is certainly in the pudding.  Look no further than the game against Atlanta.  Every time there was a big play, whether it was Tannehill’s touchdown pass to Gibson or rookie Jarvis Landry’s big punt return, the entire sideline came over to high-five the players coming off the field.

There is a sense of unity between the players that is great to see.  It’s something that the coaching staff has been emphasizing and the players are embracing.

“Coach Philbin is always preaching ‘We’re in this thing together’ and we are,” said Tannehill. “I think we looked at the 1st clip today of the game [against Atlanta], it was the pass I threw to Lamar Miller that we got about five or six yards. At the end of the clip you see five linemen all run down to him and help him off the ground.  And that’s a little thing, something that gets overlooked almost every play, but when you have that kind of effort from your offensive lineman, blocking and then going down the field to help the guy off the ground, that just shows what kind of team we have.”

Watch Miami Take On Tampa Bay This Saturday On CBS4, Your Official Dolphins Station!

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