It may only be the first week of the Dolphins’ Offseason Program, but you can already feel the buzz surrounding the 2014 season. It’s primed to be a big year for the ‘Fins, as Miami has retooled and altered their roster in hopes of a more consistent and successful season than last year. But all of the additions and eventual draft selections come May may mean nothing if one man doesn’t make the proverbial “jump” this season, in 3rd year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Texas A&M product has steadily grown and improved through his first two seasons in the league, and if that trend continues, it could spell trouble for defenses around the NFL.
In an interview with Greg Likens of the Finsiders, Tannehill talked about what he’s trying to do in order to become a top tier quarterback, and what his expectations are for this upcoming season. He says he’s worked on a lot of different things so far this offseason to try to become a more complete quarterback, but there’s one skill that he’s focused on in particular: the all-important deep ball.
“That’s one thing I’ve really been working on is just being more consistent on my deep throws,” said Tannehill. “We have a guy in Mike Wallace who can really stretch the field vertically, as well as some other guys too. But when you think deep ball, you think Mike Wallace.”
The Wallace and Tannehill pairing had their moments last season, as the two connected on some pretty passes down the field from time to time. But there were points in games where the two were just a fraction off, meaning that some points that could’ve been easy scores fell by the wayside. Tannehill is hoping that he and the always competitive and explosive Wallace can continue to get better as a tandem and create more big plays for the ‘Fins, not leaving any points off the scoreboard this time around.
“I love Mike. He’s a great guy, he’s a competitor,” said Tannehill. “We look forward to having him back and continue to build that relationship on and off the field.”
This season will also be a bit of a departure from the norm for Tannehill, as it will be the first time ever in his time at the highest levels of football that he has a new offensive coordinator. He’s very excited at the prospect of new ‘Fins OC Bill Lazor, and he believes that Lazor is the man who can get the best out of his game.
“I think Coach Lazor, our new offensive coordinator, is a guy that can help me take the next step as far as preparation, and in the fundamentals of playing the quarterback position,” said Tannehill. “We start install meetings (Tuesday), and as a person I really enjoy being around him, and he brings a lot of intensity and passion to the game. He’s very thorough and detailed in his preparation and I think that’ll translate to all the guys on offense.”
With all the optimism surrounding this upcoming season, Tannehill knows that the pressure is on in his third season at the helm of the Miami offense. He realizes that there’s only one eventual goal in this game, and has high expectations for this upcoming year.
“We’re here to win games and win championships. Obviously last year didn’t end up the way we wanted to but can’t do anything about that now. We look back, we learn from our mistakes, learn where we went wrong, and then move forward,” said Tannehill. “We can use that as a springboard, we have a lot of guys coming back this year, and we can use that moving forward to build that championship team this year.”
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