Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Wednesday, October 9, 2013
QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill

By James Walker

A weekly examination of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.

Tannehill
Rewind: Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was under major duress, but he still managed to have a solid performance in a 26-23 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Tannehill threw for 307 yards, one touchdown and zero turnovers. He had an 86.1 passer rating and nearly set up the game-tying field goal in the final seconds, which was wide left. What’s even more impressive is Tannehill had virtually no running game -- the Dolphins had 22 rushing yards -- and he was sacked a season-high six times. Tannehill is still performing up to expectations despite a lot of issues going on around him.

Fast-forward: Tannehill and the Dolphins get to breathe and take a step back this week during the bye. This comes at a good time. Miami is banged up and sputtering after two straight losses. There are various issues on offense. The Dolphins are 27th in the NFL in rushing and the pass protection has been horrid. Tannehill has been sacked 24 times in five games, which is the most in the NFL. Miami needs to fix these problems as quickly as possible if it plans to make a playoff run after the bye.

Throwing deep: Tannehill has proved in his 21 career starts that he has a strong arm and can make nearly every throw. But one throw he hasn’t been very good on is the deep ball. Tannehill’s passes beyond 40 yards have been off. Last year, the Dolphins didn’t have deep threats, so much of the blame was put on the supporting cast. This year, new No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace has gotten open deep several times and Tannehill either threw too short or connected once Wallace slowed down and came back for the ball. Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman has known Tannehill since college, when they were together at Texas A&M. According to Sherman, the deep ball is in Tannehill’s arsenal. “There’s no question about that,” Sherman said. “It’s just getting the rhythm and timing.” Throwing deep is one area Tannehill must improve on after the bye.

Prediction: There is no prediction this week. The Dolphins will try to take full advantage of their bye to rest and get healthy. Miami (3-2) will host the Buffalo Bills (2-3) on Oct. 20 in a big AFC East matchup. The Dolphins are the only AFC East team yet to play a division game.