Ryan Tannehill: A 2013 Season in Review
Tannehill had an average rookie season in 2012, throwing for just 12 touchdowns and having his fair share of ups and downs. He had a few games that made you cringe, and a few that made him look like the next young star. While he wasn't able to cash in as a rookie, the outlook for 2013 looked promising.
As the season began, Tannehill played solid. He hit the throws that he needed to and didn't make any crucial mistakes. The problem for the young gun-slinger, and the entire team for that matter, was the dismal performance of the offensive line. He was pressured from all sides and the tackles were unable to hold and protect their quarterback. The team eventually was able to add Bryant McKinnie mid-season, but it was a mess for most of the way.
Tannehill had to battle with pressure for much of the season, but held his own and showed something that many of us overlook--his athleticism. Surprisingly, Tannehill has long legs that help him when he's on the run. I counted several times that he was able to avoid the pocket collapsing and use his above-average speed to earn some first downs when it counted most.
It wasn't always pretty, and the stats won't show this, but Tannehill did a good job on 3rd downs. He showed a veteran poise when put in tough situations throughout the year and stood tall when he needed to get the first down.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the Dolphins entire year was the poor play of Mike Wallace. I can't state enough how many times Wallace failed to do his job and help Tannehill. Whether it was dropped passes, lack of aggression, or poor vision, Wallace under-performed in almost every aspect of the game in 2013. His stats may look good, but that's due in part to the fact that Tannehill almost had to throw to him. When his other options were Brian Hartline and Charles Clay, Wallace had to seem like the best bet.
Hartline and Clay led a group of second-tier weapons that were average at best. Clay can play, but he shouldn't be relied upon as a starting tight end.
Tannehill showed the ability to throw fairly well on every route. He used the curl route for much of the season, but was able to hit 'slant' and 'in' routes with precision. His deep ball needs improvement, but that should come with time. With improvement around him, I think Tannehill becomes a very good quarterback. Unfortunately, he hit countless bad breaks in 2013. Whether it was an un-blocked defensive end, an interception off the shoulder of a receiver, or simply a drop by one of his backs, the Dolphins quarterback struggled to receive the help around him.
Miami was ranked 26th in the league with their rushing attack, another factor that contributed to Tannehill's mistakes. Forced to throw more often than not, Miami's offense wasn't able to be a consistently balance attack. If the coaching staff can either find or groom a number-one back, Tannehill's success will sky-rocket.
Overall, Ryan Tannehill is showing steps of improvement. The team needs to stick with him and continue to build the team around him. As a start, drafting depth at the offensive-line and picking up a veteran play-maker wouldn't be a bad start.