Wednesday, October 2, 2013
QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill
By James Walker
A weekly analysis of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.
Rewind: After playing like an MVP candidate through the first three weeks, Miami second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill laid his first egg of the season. Tannehill threw for 249 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 38-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Tannehill made some mistakes early, such as an early fumble, and was never able to recover. Games like that one remind you that Tannehill has only 20 NFL starts under his belt. Growing pains remain.
Fast-forward: The tough slate continues for Tannehill and the Dolphins. Next up is the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens (2-2) struggled in Sunday's upset loss to the Buffalo Bills. But that means they will come to Miami hungry and motivated. Tannehill most likely will have to outduel defending Super Bowl champion quarterback Joe Flacco for the Dolphins to be successful.
Pass pro: Miami has allowed more quarterback sacks (18) than any team in the NFL. Tannehill was able to play through the protection issues through the first three weeks. However, New Orleans' pressure (four sacks) was too much for Tannehill to overcome. The Dolphins have to fix their protection issues if they want to be successful over the course of 16 games. Tannehill must stay upright and healthy this year for Miami to make a playoff run.
Prediction: The Ravens are ranked 16th in pass defense and 17th against the run, which is the definition of average in the NFL. Statistically, it appears Tannehill could have a lot of success, especially at home. However, it’s too early to write Baltimore off as an average defense. The Ravens are going through a transition period after losing longtime leaders like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe also left Baltimore in free agency and signed with Miami. But you still see flashes of good defense from the Ravens, and I think they will play better after struggling Sunday.