The upcoming season is a year of change for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Not only is the former first-round pick going into the all important third season for a quarterback, but it’s the first time he’s experienced a coaching shake-up at the highest levels of his football career. Former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who coached Tannehill during his four years at Texas A&M and his first two seasons in the NFL, is gone. Tannehill now gets to experience a new offensive system run by Bill Lazor. That offense could be more suited to his athleticism and skill set. It is that change that has pundits around the league predicting big things from the man behind center for Miami.
NFL Network’s Heath Evans is one of those analysts that sees the coaching change having a definite positive impact on Tannehill. He says it will bring a fresh face and new style to his game. It will take the quarterback out of his routine he’s been in for the past six years and challenge him to become even better.
“The one thing I love about the move with Bill is that it’s going to bring a new level of accountability,” said Evans. “With Sherman it was probably a lot of the same coaching patterns and habits for years. When you get with a new voice, you get different things that coaches are challenging you with.”
Evans has always been a big supporter of Tannehill because of his sound work ethic and high football intelligence. He sees him as a guy that’s smart from his pre-snaps reads on, and someone that can break down defenses well, which not all young quarterbacks can do at a high level.
“Ryan Tannehill sees the field well,” said Evans. “The reason why I’ve praised Ryan so thoroughly is that’s what you see. You don’t see the same mistakes twice. You see his ability to kind of grasp what defenses are throwing at him, and that’s really what separates quarterbacks.”
While Tannehill will have to continue to grow as a player, it will help that he’ll have people in front of him that can protect him now. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport also sees Tannehill improving in year three, and thinks it will be partially because the offensive line will be much stronger than it was just a year ago.
“It’s certainly a critical year, and we’ve seen improvement since he’s gotten into the league, and I feel like this year will be a big step forward for him,” said Rapoport. “The offensive line will be better, so that helps. You want to go out and spend money in free agency, go out and spend money to make sure you’re quarterback is protected. I like what the Dolphins did there signing the premier left tackle on the market in Branden Albert.”
Coming out of A&M, Tannehill was still somewhat green at the quarterback position, with only 19 starts in his college career. Originally starting off the wide receiver position, his speed and quickness is still evident in his game today, and NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks sees that as a potential trump card in the young quarterback’s arsenal. That kind of skill set blends perfectly into Bill Lazor’s spread system, and he believes it makes Tannehill more suited to the offense than Nick Foles was to it in Philadelphia last year.
“I think Ryan Tannehill is a better athlete than Nick Foles, so he gives them a better dynamic playmaker at that position in terms of when they run some of that read option stuff, when they do some of the screen game, and when they do some of the things that are tenants of the spread offense,” said Brooks.
It will be all well and good to see Tannehill show off some of his flashier and more crowd-pleasing talent. In the end, it will all come down to his growth as a player in this exciting new offense. Brooks thinks that this offense will do that. He sees the spread system as the key to unlocking his full potential.
“This will actually accelerate his development because it will put him in a very easy comfort zone in terms of making it a friendly quarterback system,” said Brooks. “If he can handle it particularly operating at that pace, I think we can finally see Ryan Tannehill flourish as the starting quarterback of the Dolphins.”
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The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.