Wednesday, September 18, 2013
QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill
By James Walker
A weekly analysis of the Dolphins' quarterback play.
Rewind: Miami Dolphins second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill picked up a marquee, 24-20 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Not only was it a big road win that improved Miami’s record to 2-0, but it was Tannehill’s first victory over Colts franchise quarterback Andrew Luck. Both players were in the same draft class, with Luck being the No. 1 overall pick and Tannehill being selected at No. 8. Tannehill outdueled Luck by throwing for 319 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Tannehill improved to 3-1 against quarterbacks from the famed 2012 draft class.
Fast-forward: The opposing quarterbacks do not get any easier for Tannehill. After beating Brandon Weeden in Week 1 and Luck in Week 2, Tannehill now must match throws with Atlanta Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan. Atlanta is the most complete team Miami has faced so far this season. But Tannehill and the Dolphins have several things going for them. First, the Falcons are banged up, which includes a thigh injury to starting tailback Steven Jackson that reportedly will sideline him Sunday. Second, this is Miami’s home opener after playing two straight on the road.
Wallace factor: The Dolphins got top receiver Mike Wallace involved in Week 2, and it paid dividends. Wallace had nine receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 11 times after getting one catch against Cleveland. The Dolphins found creative ways to get Wallace the football, and that’s something the coaching staff must continue to do.
Prediction: Tannehill was 5-3 at home during his rookie season. He has played well on the road so far this year. But I think playing in the friendly confines of Sun Life Stadium helps in terms of avoiding crowd noise. I don’t expect Tannehill to throw for 400 yards, but he needs to play an efficient, mistake-free game if Miami wants to improve to 3-0.