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Miami Dolphins: Is This the Best We’ll See of Ryan Tannehill?

Now that the Miami Dolphins are off to their first 3-0 start since 2013 the annual Ryan Tannehill debate rages on. On the surface, Tannehill hasn’t blown anyone out of the water. Through three games, however, he’s looked more in control than ever. Still, every week on social media, the war rages on. Tanne-haters point out they haven’t faced anyone yet. Stat hawks will point to his completion percentage (73%) and his ten wins in his last 11 starts, adding his 11-5 record under Adam Gase.

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If anything throughout his career Ryan Tannehill has been inconsistent for the Miami Dolphins. No one is willing to throw him into an elite quarterback class. Some won’t even go as far as to say he’s above average. However, under Gase, the doors of his potential have been blown off. Quietly Tannehill has improved every part of his game critics have blasted him for.

Can he throw the deep ball? His connections with Kenny Stills has quieted that debate.

Can he spread the ball out and make his receivers better? He hit eight different receivers against the Raiders, seven against the Jets, and six against the Titans. Its safe to say he’s finding the open man.

His quarterback rating shows he’s not doing enough to win games? Before Gase, he was in the low 80’s. Under Gase, he’s had his best year of 93.5 in 2016. This year is at 121.8 and looks as consistent as ever.

Can he come back from injury and return to 2016 form? Flashback to last week against the New York Jets where he out-rushed their entire team 44-42.

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There might be some evidence to support Ryan Tannehill isn’t an elite quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, but those people might be grasping at straws. The largest area of his game to assist him in those types of talks and its ability to run the hurry-up offense. If you shrink the sample size down to the hurry-up offense then Ryan Tannehill needs to be considered one of the best.

Take for instance late in last weeks game against the Jets. Twice late in the game, Tannehill read defenses and decided to take the ball himself and pick up extra yardage. He can run with the best of them. If it weren’t for penalties for offensive pass interference, the Dolphins were carving up the Raiders on their way into halftime driving for a lead. That drive was picking up anywhere from 9-12 yards through the air. He’s got that sense of urgency. 

There are two areas of his game that fans and analysts alike rip him apart for. First, his tendency to hold onto the football for too long often leads to unnecessary sacks and fumbles. The second is the red zone offense. If drives wouldn’t stall out in the red zone and points consistently added on the board, no one would doubt his ability. 

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Then, of course, there are the wins.

Everyone has pointed to how awful the Miami Dolphins have looked under Ryan Tannehill’s tenure. He’s taken the criticism even with a Swiss cheese offensive line, with teammates gave up on the team, and with a handful of new offensive coordinators in just seven years on the field. Tannehill has stepped up again and again for the Miami Dolphins, and after Jay Cutler last year, this might be the year fans appreciate his drive. Ryan Tannehill might not be an “elite” quarterback, and that’s okay, but he’s the type of quarterback the Dolphins have waited on.

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