Wednesday, October 16, 2013
QB Watch: Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill
By James Walker
A weekly examination of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback play.
Rewind: Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins enjoyed their bye week. It was a chance to rest, recuperate and make some tweaks to Miami's offense. Tannehill is playing relatively well this season. However, his running game and offensive line have fallen apart around him. Tannehill has been sacked 24 times in five games this season. Miami’s running game also is ranked among the bottom teams in the NFL. Both issues need to be fixed for Tannehill's sake. He is the biggest thing holding the Dolphins' offense afloat.
Fast-forward: After playing two very tough defenses (New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens) in back-to-back weeks, Tannehill gets an easier matchup Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have struggled at times this year stopping both the run and the pass. The Dolphins had plenty of time to prepare for the Bills and should have the edge at home. The biggest concern is pass protection. Buffalo’s biggest strength is blitzing and defensive end Mario Williams is one of the NFL’s most dangerous pass-rushers. Keeping Williams off Tannehill will be key.
Same page: The growing rapport between Tannehill and new No. 1 receiver Mike Wallace has been a storyline all season. Some weeks, both players look dynamic and are on the same page. Other weeks, not so much. Wallace is coming off one of his better games two weeks ago against the Ravens. He had seven receptions for 105 yards in the 26-23 loss. It was another good step in the right direction for Wallace and Tannehill. Both players need to be productive for Miami’s offense to reach its full potential after the bye.
Prediction: Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will look to confuse Tannehill with various blitz packages. But with two weeks to prepare and get everyone healthy, the advantage goes to Tannehill and Miami’s offense. Buffalo’s secondary has been banged-up all season. If Miami’s offense can have at least an average game, Tannehill should be in good shape.