Is Ryan Tannehill in a slump?

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
9:30
AM ET
DAVIE, Fla. – It's the elephant in the room with the Miami Dolphins: quarterback Ryan Tannehill, based on statistics, is hitting a wall as we near the midpoint of his second season.

The young, exciting gunslinger we saw during Miami’s 3-0 start has been missing in action. Lately, Tannehill has looked like a battered, mistake-prone quarterback during Miami’s three-game losing streak.

Tannehill has seven turnovers (five interceptions and two lost fumbles) during the slide, and over the past two games his completion percentage has dropped to just 51.9 percent.

Is Tannehill in a slump?

“He’s one member of the offense,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said this week. “The decision-making has to improve. The protection time has to improve. It’s not all on him. It’s easy to point it at one person and say, ‘That’s the reason we have all of these [turnovers].'”

Dolphins coaches have come to Tannehill’s defense this week. The last thing Miami needs is its starting quarterback thinking about past games and losing confidence.

Miami’s coaches have rightfully pointed out that Tannehill isn’t the only struggling player on offense. The offensive line has allowed 26 sacks, and the run game has been inconsistent.

Tannehill was carrying the offense through its struggles earlier in the season. But now it appears to be catching up with the young quarterback, who is facing his own struggles. Tannehill was put on the injury report this week with a right (throwing) shoulder injury. The hits are starting to take a physical toll.

Things don’t get much easier for Tannehill and the Dolphins this week against the first-place New England Patriots. Tannehill will return to Foxborough, where he had one of the worst performances of his rookie season. Tannehill threw for 235 yards, with one interception, and was sacked seven times in a 28-0 loss.

That game, in part, forced Miami to make a lot of offseason upgrades in an effort to close the gap with the Patriots. Getting Tannehill out of his current funk and back on the right track will be key for Miami if it plans to pull off the upset. Miami hasn’t won in Foxborough since 2008.

“Well, there are definitely tough venues, and usually a tough venue is made by a tough team,” Tannehill said of the Patriots. “Of course the fans, the elements are a part of a venue. When you think about the toughest places to play, usually there’s a good team that goes along with it, and I think New England fits that bill.”

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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