Following Monday morning’s practice – Tannehill’s second since returning – Jesse Agler caught up with the rookie quarterback to talk about his reinsertion into the fold.
As the final details of his contract were being ironed out by Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland and his agent, Pat Dye, Tannehill was “itching” to hit the field.
“It felt like two weeks. Every second seemed to tick by slowly,” Tannehill said. “I was busy doing things – throwing, running, lifting. But at the end of the day, there’s some down time in there. Every second of the down time felt like it was a year.”
Missing two days of camp is going to set back any NFL player in the midst of a position battle, especially a rookie quarterback. Tannehill admitted he’s had to play a bit of catch up, deferring to the other quarterbacks when in need. But he’s confident that he’ll be able to shake off any rust quickly with a few reps.
“I don’t feel like I’m so far behind it’s going to take me a long time. I do know the offense, so that really helps,” Tannehill said. “If I was coming in not knowing the offense beforehand, it would really hurt me more. Where I really missed was just working on timing and being with the guys and going through plays.”
An easy way to gauge Tannehill’s progression is to see how he adjusts to the speed of the professional game. Throughout the off-season, it was fairly evident that Tannehill was feeling out the Dolphins defense. Now, though, he said it’s time to pick up the pace of his reads, his cadence, etc.
“Just speed everything up a little bit,” Tannehill said. “It that extra tenth of a second, two tenths of a second, that can make a huge difference in the play.”
Thus far Tannehill has impressed, making quick reads against the Dolphins’ second-team defense during team drills. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to putting in some extra time with a few Dolphins receivers – guys like Chad Johnson, Legedu Naanee and Davone Bess – during the one-month hiatus in between mini-camp and training camp.
“We worked a few times a week,” Tannehill said. “The more that I work with those guys, the closer and more connected we get.”
Judging by the way reality television operates you had to figure that Hard Knocks would give a behind-the-scenes look at Tannehill’s absence. But the rookie quarterback said that when he worked out in Bradenton, no cameras followed.
What followed was an even bigger upset, though, given how well HBO and NFL Films are embedded at the Dolphins’ facility.
When he arrived to sign his contract late Saturday night, the HBO camera crew – who may be tougher to beat than any defender Tannehill faces his rookie season – didn’t know that he had arrived. Tannehill just walked right in going completely unnoticed.
Eventually, though, they finally caught up with the man of the hour.
“I was kind of surprised. I didn’t even know they were in here waiting for me, just kind of slipped in the front door. I didn’t think you could slip in the front door of a building,” Tannehill joked. “I was in the locker room getting dressed and I turned around and the whole crew is there saying that I ducked them.
“I was like, ‘Man, it takes skill to duck you if I didn’t even know you were there.”
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