I predicted that Ryan Tannehill would have a career year in 2014 and that the Dolphins could be a dark horse to win the AFC East.
Instead, rumors are floating around that the third-year quarterback could be headed for the bench as the team has dropped two straight after stunning the Patriots in the opener.
Most likely the rumors are just that … rumors, but nevertheless, it’s a situation that deserves a little digging into.
For the most part, Head Coach Joe Philbin has been “mum’s the word” about the team’s plans at QB when they travel this weekend to London for an international game against the Oakland Raiders, but several players have reported that Tannehill will indeed get the nod.
But to me it’s more than just a little surprising that Philbin’s not outwardly squashing the rumors with a 10 lb. sledgehammer.
A change of standards
I get that the Dolphins want to win now.
Miami has only tasted the post-season once in the past twelve years and they weren’t even there long enough to hand out autographs, quickly dispatched in 2008 by the Ravens to the tune of 27-9.
But rushing to shit-can the team’s best shot at a true franchise quarterback because of a slow start would be a huge mistake.
Back-up Matt Moore is solid, but he’s not a long-term solution, so why even look there?
Tannehill’s start is disappointing but not abysmal. He’s averaging 200-plus yards per game and has a 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio (4 TDs, 2 INTs). These are hardly benchable numbers.
He’s struggled to consistently move the ball and completed less than half of his passes last weekend at home against the Chiefs, but whatever happened to having a little patience with your young quarterback?
I’m not a huge Rex Ryan fan, but I like how he’s standing behind Geno Smith in New York. He made his decision and is sticking with his guy to help him improve and have a real shot at being a steady starter.
That’s not to say that standing behind a young QB always pans out. It doesn’t. But pulling the plug too early and hoping to pull a diamond out of the scrapheap has an even lower success rate, unless you’re talking about Kerry Collins in 2008.
Growing pains hurt and patience pays off
In his third season in 2003, Drew Brees threw for 2,108 yards in 11 starts.
He had 11 TDs to 15 INTs, was sacked 21 times and completed just 57.6 per cent of his passes.
And everyone in San Diego was certain that they’d drafted a dud, so much so that they eventually released him.
Brees’ story is hardly an anomaly.
While not every quarterback drafted in the first round automatically deserves a five-year running start to get things going, I do believe that Tannehill is one of those guys that does.
If the Fins decide to cut him loose and try again in the draft lottery, they may very well end up watching him win a Super Bowl elsewhere, just like the Chargers watched the guy they jettisoned lift a Lombardi in New Orleans.
Follow Commentary Box Sports on Social Media!