NFL Nation: ryan tannehill

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

September, 30, 2014
Sep 30
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A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

It is hard to criticize the Dolphins this week following a 38-14 blowout victory over the Oakland Raiders. Miami did nearly everything right and played a full 60 minutes of winning football for the first time this year. Most important, Dolphins third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill (278 yards, two touchdowns) responded with his best game of the season to quiet critics about his status as the starter.

But even with the big victory, the Dolphins remain sloppy with ball security. Miami had three turnovers -- two fumbles, one interception -- and still beat the Raiders in London’s Wembley Stadium by 24 points. The Dolphins (2-2) can get away with a trio of turnovers against the awful and winless Raiders (0-4). But Miami can’t expect sustained success when turning over the football, especially against the better teams.

Miami's three turnovers came from Tannehill's fourth-quarter interception and a pair of fumbles by tailback Lamar Miller and rookie receiver Jarvis Landry on punt returns. You're not going to bench Tannehill or Miller for making errors. But one potential solution is to replace Landry at punt return after the bye week. Landry's had two fumbles on punt returns, and the Dolphins have veteran returner Marcus Thigpen back on the roster.

The Dolphins have nine turnovers in four games. Interestingly, all of Miami's games so far have been decided by 13 points or more. Turnovers were a factor in the two losses to the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, but were a non-factor in wins over the Raiders and New England Patriots.

According to data from ESPN Stats and Information, 36.2 percent of teams that start 2-2 make the playoffs. The Dolphins must reduce turnovers in order to increase that probability of getting into the postseason.
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LONDON -- Quarterback Ryan Tannehill stood on the sideline without his helmet while the Miami Dolphins' offense was on the field with five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

With backup Matt Moore leading Miami's offense, Tannehill was screaming words of encouragement toward his teammates. But the late quarterback change wasn't what many expected.

After a rocky week, Tannehill was pulled from Sunday's game about halfway through the fourth quarter -- but it was because he had turned in one of the strongest performances of his career. He completed 21 of 31 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns in Miami's 38-14 blowout victory over the Oakland Raiders in London.

Perhaps motivated by recent questions about his status as Miami's starter, Tannehill was essentially lights-out for one of the few times in his career. At one point, he completed a career-high 14 straight passes to help the Dolphins (2-2) take a 17-point lead at intermission that they never relinquished.

The irony of Tannehill sitting on the bench in the fourth quarter because of a blowout -- not a benching -- wasn't lost on Miami's backup quarterback.

"It was kind of funny, you know," Moore said. "I'm so proud of Ryan with the way he played. I'm proud of the whole team. But Ryan, being my guy in the quarterback room, I thought he came out and played well.

"There shouldn't have been any questions. But if there was, he answered them. He played great."

Even Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, who created last week's controversy with his non-endorsement of Tannehill, was able to joke about pulling Tannehill about midway through the fourth quarter.

"You guys predicted it," Philbin deadpanned with a sly grin to the media.

Intentionally or not, Philbin motivated and challenged Tannehill this week in ways the quarterback never experienced. Miami's starter admitted this was the toughest week of his two-plus seasons in the NFL.

The perception Philbin created -- at least publicly -- was that the kid gloves were off; Tannehill could lose his job at any second with another poor performance. He was 1-4 in his previous five starts dating to last season, and that created a sense of urgency and focus. Tannehill was locked in from the beginning on Sunday and completed 17 of his first 19 passes. That sparked Miami's offense to score a season-high 38 points.

"As the week went on and everything, all the distractions, to finally leave the country, have a long flight and come over here and get ready for the game, I think I was more excited for this game than I've been for a game in a long time," Tannehill said.

Perhaps Tannehill's biggest asset is his physical toughness -- he's proved it on a weekly basis. Tannehill has been the NFL's most-sacked quarterback since 2012, and he has never complained or missed a start.

But Tannehill showed a different side of himself to coaches and teammates Sunday with his mental toughness. The pressure on Tannehill had never been higher, and Tannehill answered the call. Overcoming adversity is a major plus for any starting quarterback.

There will be no debating Tannehill's status as the Dolphins enter their bye week.

"I'm excited about the step that I took and that the offense took this week," Tannehill said. "But we have to build off of it. It's just a step."

Moore said the two quarterbacks understood the situation the entire week and they did their best to block the outside distractions. The results showed Sunday.

"I think the sky is the limit," Moore said when asked how good the Dolphins can be this season if Tannehill plays up to his potential. "It is Week 4. We've had some mishaps early in the season. But I think this proves when we're clicking, we can do some big things. I think this game gives guys some positive vibes."

And no one needed more positive vibes than Tannehill.

A few Dolphins thoughts from London

September, 27, 2014
Sep 27
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LONDON -- The Miami Dolphins (1-2) have arrived in England to face the winless Oakland Raiders (0-3) on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

ESPN.com's Dolphins blog also is overseas in London with the team. Here are some thoughts on Miami just one day away from an important game.
    Tannehill
  • In being around Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill throughout the week, it's clear that he realizes this is a huge game for him. Tannehill seemed genuinely bothered by Miami head coach Joe Philbin's noncommittal comments to Tannehill this week. That had never been an issue in Tannehill in his two-plus seasons. But after five straight mediocre games dating to last season, Tannehill is officially on the hot seat. It will be interesting to see if he responds to the adversity or goes in the tank and has another bad game.
  • It appears Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey will not reach his goal of returning to the field in Week 4 to play in London. Sunday was the target date Pouncey set for himself this summer following major hip surgery. He made the trip but is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Pouncey could benefit from the next two weeks of rest and preparation. The Dolphins will have a bye in Week 5 before returning to the field in Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers.
  • Do you want proof that the Dolphins need a bye week? Consider Miami had a whopping 22 players listed on their injury report Friday. About half of those injuries are minor nicks and bruises, but the other 10-12 players could definitely use the extra time to heal. Many teams and players often do not like early byes; the Dolphins will now play 12 straight games to finish the season. But Miami is in position to take advantage.
  • I thought the team, overall, was a pretty relaxed and loose bunch. A lot of players were smiling and joking during Friday's open portion of practice. Tannehill also mentioned players performed various pranks during the long team flight. Being loose can help as long as the Dolphins had a good week of preparation.

Dolphins vs. Raiders preview

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
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Two struggling teams, the Miami Dolphins (1-2) and Oakland Raiders (0-3), traveled across the Atlantic Ocean for Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium in London. This is the first of three NFL games in London this season.

Both the Dolphins and Raiders are searching for answers and an identity. But only one can get on track in this Week 4 matchup.

Who will prevail? ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker and ESPN Raiders reporter Bill Williamson discuss.

Walker: Bill, Oakland has played its best football on the road so far this season. How do you explain that coming from a rebuilding team?

Williamson: Really, James, the Raiders have been competitive only once this season and it was Sunday at New England. The 19-14 loss at the New York Jets in Week 1 was not nearly as close as the score indicated. At New England, the Raiders were more competitive on defense than on offense. Still, the team did have a chance to win this game late and there is a sense of confidence with Oakland. We will see if that translates into being competitive against Miami.

James, do you think the Dolphins, who have been struggling as well, have confidence going into this game?

Walker: The Dolphins have a lot of issues, Bill. It would be much easier if the team could say, "Let's fix this one problem and turn it around." But I can name at least a half-dozen issues that hurt the Dolphins the past two weeks. I wouldn't say their confidence is shot. That's probably going too far. But for the first time this season doubt is starting to creep in -- and it's only Week 4. It's questionable whether Miami is good enough to fix all its issues quickly to win enough games. The Dolphins need a win to erase some doubt internally.

I'm intrigued by Oakland rookie quarterback Derek Carr. What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Williamson: His strengths are his leadership and poise. He is very comfortable in his role at the age of 23. Carr has not been great, but the Raiders are not 0-3 because of him and the job does not look to be too big for him. He has been solid on third down and has handled pressure well at times. But the issues are typical of a rookie. His accuracy hasn't been great, defenses stifle him sometimes and execution at times stalls. But I think Carr will get better as he gets more experience and more talent around him.

What have been Ryan Tannehill's biggest problems?

Walker: Similar to the team, leaks in Tannehill's game are springing up in several areas. That's why there are major questions if he can get everything fixed in time to save his job long term. If I had to pick two issues, I would say his lack of accuracy and the fact he doesn't make quick enough decisions in Bill Lazor's offense. Tannehill's footwork has been off and his ball placement isn't consistent.

Miami has a long trip to London, but Oakland has an even longer journey. What are the Raiders doing to make it work?

Williamson: I don't think this long trip will be an issue for Oakland, as the Raiders have been in England all week. They flew directly to London on Sunday night after the New England game. They have time to rest and adjust their body clocks Monday and Tuesday. They practiced (using their same time routine) during the week. I think the Raiders will be rested come game time.

What are the Dolphins' travel plans and how will it affect them?

Walker: The Dolphins took a different approach. Head coach Joe Philbin wants this game to feel as close to their normal routine as possible. They are considered the "road team," so that offered more flexibility and fewer media obligations in London. The Dolphins didn't leave South Florida until Thursday night. Therefore, they had practices at their own training facility Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Miami will have a light walk-through in London on Friday and meetings in the hotel Saturday, just like a normal game. The time change could be a factor traveling so late in the week. But we will find out on Sunday.

Joe Philbin fine with QB criticism

September, 25, 2014
Sep 25
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is aware that many people -- including his own quarterback -- disagreed with his decision to not publicly endorse Ryan Tannehill this week. The Dolphins are starting Tannehill in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Yet, Philbin is dodging the topic publicly, which caused an unnecessary distraction for an already struggling team.

Tannehill
Plenty of people in South Florida, including former Dolphins greats Jason Taylor and Bob Griese, have voiced their displeasure with the way Philbin is handling his quarterbacks. In fact, it gets more and more difficult to find support for Philbin on this issue with each passing day.

Still, Philbin isn't concerned with critics and remains steadfast that he did the right thing.

"I think that's totally fair. I think everybody is entitled to their opinion," Philbin said of the backlash. "They certainly can feel free to express it, and just like you said, at the end of the day, I have to go to sleep and put my head on the pillow and do what I think is the right thing. I have no issues with any of that."

In other words, Philbin is not budging. He has turned down multiple opportunities to publicly support Tannehill. There is a good chance Philbin will continue to handle Tannehill this way, especially if the third-year quarterback continues to struggle in games.

Tannehill said he received clarity on the situation from Philbin behind the scenes. But it is curious that Philbin couldn't back Tannehill in front of the media.

How Philbin handles Tannehill going forward -- including Sunday's game in London against Oakland -- certainly is worth monitoring.
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins (1-2) continue their preparation for the Oakland Raiders (0-3).

Misi
Here are some notes and observations from Wednesday's practice:
  • Miami’s defense received some good news. Starting middle linebacker Koa Misi returned to practice from an ankle injury. Misi was injured in Week 1 against the New England Patriots and missed the past two games. Backup linebacker Jason Trusnik has filled in.
  • Dolphins starting defensive lineman Randy Starks was not practicing Wednesday in the portion open to the media. He also left practice early on Tuesday. Miami will release the nature of Starks’ absence later this afternoon. Also, guard Shelley Smith didn’t practice for the second day in a row. Smith missed last week’s game with a knee injury.
  • Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is on the hot seat, is making an emphasis on improving his footwork this week. Tannehill went through individual and position drills Wednesday concentrating on footwork to improve his accuracy. Tannehill currently has a career-low 56.5 completion percentage.

The Film Don't Lie: Dolphins

September, 23, 2014
Sep 23
11:00
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A weekly look at what the Miami Dolphins must fix:

The Miami Dolphins have a lot of issues. But one silent killer has been dropped passes by wide receivers and tight ends, and it needs to stop immediately when Miami (1-2) travels to London to play the winless Oakland Raiders (0-3).

According to Pro Football Focus research, the Dolphins are second in the NFL with 11 drops after three games. Only the Baltimore Ravens (12) have more dropped passes. Miami had three drops in Sunday's 34-15 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs all the help he can get. He's on the hot seat and struggling with his accuracy (56.5 completion percentage) early in the season. On Sunday, Tannehill threw the ball well in the first half, but tight end Charles Clay and receivers Brian Hartline and Jarvis Landry all failed to bring in receptions that could have moved the chains early and potentially put points on the board.

Miami’s sloppiness on offense early led to a 14-3 halftime deficit against Kansas City, and the Dolphins weren’t able to overcome in the second half. The best solution is for receivers and tight ends to continue to do extra work during and after practice catching the football. It’s a group-wide issue -- not just one or two players -- so lineup changes wouldn't work.
DAVIE, Fla. -- It could be nothing now. But it could mean something later.

Tannehill
That was my general takeaway from Monday’s cryptic news conference by Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Miami’s coach -- on four separate occasions -- declined to answer whether quarterback Ryan Tannehill will remain the starter.

In all likelihood, Ryan Tannehill will be the starting quarterback this weekend when the Dolphins take the field in London against the Oakland Raiders. Miami is 1-2 and has a chance to get back to .500, which would put it back in the mix entering its bye week. Making a quarterback change to Matt Moore in Week 4 would be drastic and knee-jerk. It also should be noted that Philbin rarely answers questions about his starting lineups.

"We’re going to get our 46 best players in the game, and we’re going to utilize them the best way possible," Philbin said.

But what if this is a prelude to something? What if Tannehill, who is 16-19 as a starter, is rapidly running out of time? In many ways he has regressed in his first three games this season. Tannehill’s statistics are on pace for career lows in completion percentage (56.5) and passer rating (74.1).

The Dolphins might not pull the plug on Tannehill this week. But if he struggles for the fourth straight game and the Dolphins cannot beat the winless Oakland Raiders (0-3) in London, anything and everything should be on the table, especially entering the bye week.

Philbin is entering a must-win Year 3 in Miami. Tannehill has been pretty much untouchable in his first two seasons as a former first-round draft pick. But Philbin cannot afford to stick to that approach this season if Tannehill can’t turn things around.

The kid gloves are off. It's now or never for Tannehill.

Offensive malaise continues for Miami

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
9:21
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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- There was a lot of hype and hoopla surrounding the Miami Dolphins' new-look offense this offseason.

First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, who came from the Chip Kelly school of offense, was expected to bring an innovative style to Miami that was up-tempo and able to quickly put points on the board. Even Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said in training camp that he viewed 25 points per game -- or 400 points in a season -- as a successful bar for his team.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Wilfredo LeeProtecting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was again an issue for Miami in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs.
But after three games, the Dolphins’ new offense is mostly firing blanks. As a result, Miami (1-2) suffered a 34-15 blowout loss at home to the previously winless Kansas City Chiefs (1-2).

The Dolphins have averaged just 12.5 points per game in the past two weeks. The "new look" is showing some of the same old mistakes that were made previously under former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman.

Many people in Miami have their jobs on the line this season, and the Dolphins can't win many games with the offense unable to consistently move the football.

Why is the offense struggling? There are myriad reasons. Here are a few worth noting:

  • Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not making the proper strides in Year 3. Lazor is asking a lot of Tannehill, and so far he’s proving to be unable to carry the team. Tannehill currently has a career-low completion percentage of 56.5 percent in three games. His passer rating of 74.1 also is a career low. The Dolphins can only go as far as Tannehill can lead them, and so far it’s not looking promising. "It's still early in the season, so I have confidence that we can get this thing turned around," Tannehill said. "But it has to happen now. I said that last week and we didn't get it done."
  • There have been questionable play calling by Lazor and poor clock management by Philbin. On Sunday, the Dolphins called passes on second-and-1 and third-and-1 early in the fourth quarter, which resulted in an incomplete deep pass to Mike Wallace and a quarterback sack. Miami had the running game going -- Lamar Miller rushed for 108 yards -- and went away from it at a curious time. The game went downhill from there.
  • The offense has been unable to sustain scoring drives. The Dolphins' longest touchdown drive was for 19 yards, which followed a Chiefs turnover. In fact, 12 of Miami's 15 points were set up by the defense and special teams. Defensive tackle Jared Odrick forced a fumble on Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith to set up a short touchdown. Miami's defense also got a safety and rookie Jarvis Landry returned a kick 75 yards to set up a field goal.
  • The Dolphins had three drops in the first quarter, which killed any momentum in the first half.
  • Pass protection, which was the offense's biggest issue last season, remains a problem. The Dolphins allowed four quarterback sacks for the second week in a row. Tannehill has been sacked nine times in three games.

There are no easy fixes. Leaks are springing up in various areas and Philbin said "everything" is on the table in terms of making improvements.

The good news is Miami will play another winless team, the Oakland Raiders. The game will be played in London, where the Dolphins hope to find their identity.

"We have to determine what we're going to do," Philbin said. "We have to go back to work. We gotta go across the Atlantic Ocean and we have to play better."

Ryan Tannehill: 'I have to do better'

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
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DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is trying to put on the best face possible after his slow start to the regular season.

"It’s better to struggle in September than December," Tannehill deadpanned following Wednesday’s practice.

Tannehill
Tannehill is fully aware that he’s not meeting expectations at the start of an important third season. Miami drafted Tannehill No. 8 overall in 2012 and expected him to be the engine that drives the offense at this stage in his career. Instead, three seasons later, Tannehill is having some of the same struggles with accuracy and inconsistency he had in Year 1 and Year 2.

The Dolphins' passing game is ranked 24th in the NFL, and Tannehill is averaging just 209.5 passing yards per game. He also has a passer rating of 76.1. Miami was fortunate enough to split the first two games with its starting quarterback playing mediocre in that span.

Tannehill knows he must be more consistent as Dolphins (1-1) host the Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) Sunday at Sun Life Stadium.

“I haven’t been playing up to my standards and up to my standards as a team,” Tannehill said. “I just have to do better. ... Obviously, I want it to change. I’m not sitting here happy with the way I played.”

Miami’s coaches remain behind Tannehill. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said the struggles on offense aren't on one person, and Miami offensive coordinator Bill Lazor also said Tannehill has shown encouraging signs in practice.

But so far not much has translated into the games as Tannehill tries to adjust to a new offense. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Tannehill was 0-of-6 on throws of 15 yards or more downfield in last week’s loss to the Buffalo Bills. Miami’s passing game hasn’t been much of a threat through two weeks of the season. Much of that falls on the starting quarterback.

Tannehill has received strong support from Dolphins fans in South Florida. But some of that is starting to change. According to an ESPN.com poll this week, nearly half (49 percent) of Dolphins fans are now convinced Tannehill is not the long-term solution in Miami. About 22 percent believe Tannehill will be the Dolphins’ franchise quarterback and 29 percent remain undecided.

The only way Tannehill can silence the doubters is with consistent play. He has 14 games remaining to have a strong third season.

“Obviously, I don’t want to struggle at all,” Tannehill said. “But there’s a lot of football ahead of us and I’m excited about the opportunity we have.”

Philbin, Lazor support Ryan Tannehill

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
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DAVIE, Fla. -- It's no secret that this is an important Year 3 for Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former first-round pick received nearly unanimous support from Dolphins fans in South Florida in his first two seasons, but expectations are higher in 2014.

So far, in two games, Tannehill has not met those expectations. The Dolphins beat the New England Patriots in Week 1 mostly because of their running game and lost to the Buffalo Bills Sunday because of a lack of running game. Tannehill was average in both contests.

This is the time in Tannehill's career when he must prove he can carry an offense. That hasn't been the case early this season, and some are starting to wonder about Miami's struggling passing game.

"The issue is our passing game is not at the level it needs to be," Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said in defense of Tannehill. "Those are the facts. But it's a unit issue. It's not one player causing all the problems in the passing game."

Miami first-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor has been candid in his critiques of Tannehill. A big reason Lazor was brought to Miami was to take Tannehill's game to a new level. Therefore, Lazor has been very demanding with the expectation that Tannehill will respond.

Sunday was an ideal opportunity for Tannehill to step up. The Dolphins were on the road against an energized Buffalo team that has had Miami's number. The Dolphins could have used a dominant passing performance from Tannehill to stem the tide, especially after leading rusher Knowshon Moreno went down in the first quarter.

Instead, Tannehill had another mediocre performance (73.6 passer rating) and struggled with his accuracy and ball placement. The Dolphins lost by 19 points, and Tannehill fell to 1-4 against the Bills in his career.

"There's no doubt Ryan will tell you it needs to improve," Lazor said of his accuracy. "I thought Thursday was the best day that Ryan's had throwing the football since I've been here. So I'm very encouraged about Ryan. I'm very discouraged by the job I've done in the passing game. I'm very encouraged by where we're heading."

This is a no-excuse year for Tannehill. By all accounts, he has better weapons and a better offensive scheme. Yet some of the same issues we have seen with Tannehill in Year 1 and Year 2 are showing up early in his third season.

Tannehill must turn things around quickly to silence the doubters, starting with Sunday's game against the winless Kansas City Chiefs (0-2).
DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins botched a lot of plays during Sunday's ugly, 29-10, loss to the Buffalo Bills. But the one set of circumstances people continue to discuss 24 hours later in South Florida is Miami's ultra-conservative play calling at the end of the first half.

[+] EnlargeRyan Tannehill
AP Photo/Gary WiepertThe Dolphins took a conservative approach at the end of Sunday's first half as the offense struggled.
Miami trailed 9-0 with all three timeouts and 2:21 remaining in the first half. Instead of putting the ball in quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s hands to see if he could put points on the board, Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin elected to run the ball six consecutive times to run out the clock. Buffalo was more than happy to go into the locker room without Miami threatening to score.

One day later, after watching the film, Philbin stood behind his decision.

“At that point in time I believe we had 45 yards of offense and three sacks in the first half,” Philbin explained during his Monday news conference. “The last thing I wanted to do was go in the half down 16-0. So I told [offensive coordinator] Bill [Lazor] I wanted to run the ball every single play and get to the locker room and make some adjustments and get it to a one-possession game, which is exactly what we did twice in the third quarter. That was the reason we did it.”

Lazor, who deferred to Philbin at the end of the half, also supported his head coach on Monday.

“It has nothing to do with my wishes,” Lazor said. “I thought what Coach Philbin decided to do worked. Because when you think about it, we had our struggles in the first half. He decided to run the football. At halftime we talked. I think we got settled down in some ways. We made a couple adjustments, not that many, and we came out with two straight scoring drives.”

Many disagree with Philbin’s rationale. The Dolphins practice their two-minute drill a lot for those very situations and didn't take advantage. It potentially sends a bad message that Philbin didn’t have enough confidence in his offensive players to get points in that situation.

The Dolphins will see plenty of two-minute situations this season, and it's worth keeping an eye on how Philbin handles it moving forward.

“My job is to give the team a chance to win the game and put the team in position to win the game,” Philbin said. “I’m not pounding my chest, but I feel like in the third quarter we were exactly where we needed to be in that game. We had a chance. ... Somebody else could have a different opinion. That’s OK. I was very comfortable with that.”

Questions emerge for Ryan Tannehill

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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We are two games into an important Year 3 for Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

That presents an important question: How do you feel about the long-term prospects of the third-year quarterback?

Are you willing to say Tannehill is the future of the franchise for the Dolphins (1-1) after Sunday's 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills (2-0)? Tannehill threw for 246 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the loss, while falling to 1-4 against Buffalo in his career.

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Is QB Ryan Tannehill the Dolphins' long-term solution?

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    22%
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    49%
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    29%

Discuss (Total votes: 4,779)

“We didn’t win so it’s not good enough,” a frustrated Tannehill said Sunday evening. “No part of our offensive performance was good enough. My play, our running game, our passing game, none of it was enough.”

Truth be told, Tannehill is off to a mediocre start this season. In two games he has 419 passing yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He has a 76.1 passer rating and averages 5.2 yards per attempt.

Perhaps the biggest concern for Miami is Tannehill appears closer to a "game manager" than a dominant quarterback. In two-plus seasons, Tannehill has yet to prove he can take over games with any consistency. The previous two weeks provided another strong warning sign.

In Week 1, the Dolphins rushed for 191 yards as a team and Tannehill filled in the blanks. He made a few good throws here and there to help Miami to a 33-20 victory over the Patriots. But there were some concerns with accuracy and his interception, which were masked by Miami's victory.

In Week 2, the Dolphins couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Running back Knowshon Moreno suffered an elbow injury in the first quarter and Miami's offense fell apart. This was a perfect opportunity for Tannehill to take over an important game -- on the road -- with his arm. Yet, Tannehill failed to produce and the lead only increased in the second half.

Questions are starting to emerge about Tannehill – and deservedly so. Dolphins coach Joe Philbin came to the defense of his young quarterback Sunday night.

“I don’t think it’s all Ryan Tannehill,” Philbin said. “I don’t think our offense played well. We didn’t protect him very well, especially in the first half, so we got behind. … I think it’s easy to point to one player, but it was the team.”

The good news is Tannehill has 14 more games to prove he is Miami’s franchise quarterback. It’s still premature to write off Tannehill as the long-term solution entirely after 34 starts. But there are some concerning signs to begin this 2014 season.

Tannehill knows this is a no-excuse year. He admitted as much during training camp.

It’s time for Tannehill to live up to his potential this year before it is too late.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- After the Miami Dolphins looked flat in a 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Miami head coach Joe Philbin had some explaining to do. Perhaps the biggest mystery was why the Dolphins got ultra-conservative when down nine points at the end of the first half.

Here is the situation: Miami's defense kept the team in the game early by holding Buffalo to three field goals in the first half. The Dolphins were outplayed and, in many ways, fortunate to be down by only single digits.

The Dolphins got the ball back at their 12-yard line with 2:21 remaining and all three timeouts. It was a good opportunity for quarterback Ryan Tannehill & Co. to put together a two-minute drive to get their first points on the board before intermission.

Instead, the Dolphins chose to run the ball six consecutive times -- gaining 20 yards -- to go into the half down 9-0. It was a baffling and passive decision that had many confused.

Here was Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin's explanation:

"Well, it I’m not mistaken, we got the ball around the 15-yard line and we had, up to that point, 48 or 49 yards of offense. I wanted to come into halftime and give our team a chance to get back into the game. I think we did exactly what I was hoping we would do: Not give them the ball back and get an opportunity to make it a one-possession game. That’s what we did."

Philbin essentially lost confidence in his offense and his quarterback. That sent a poor message to his entire team before halftime.

The Dolphins have practiced two-minute drills constantly since training camp, and it's actually an area of strength for Miami's offense. Even New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick praised Miami’s two-minute offense before their Week 1 matchup.

In a close game, Philbin essentially took a strength away from his own team, and the second half went downhill for the Dolphins.

Reading between the lines, it didn’t appear quarterback Ryan Tannehill agreed with the first-half decision.

“As a competitor you know I obviously want to go down and score, but it is coach Philbin’s call and he wanted to do that,” Tannehill said candidly. “He knew we were getting the ball at the end of halftime. Obviously, as an offense we feel like we want to get going. But we hadn’t done much up to that point to give him any confidence in us.”

We will never know if Miami’s offense could have added points to bring momentum to the Dolphins before halftime. But the issue is Philbin opted not to try and give his team a chance, which proved to be a mistake.
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins' 29-10 loss to the Buffalo Bills:

Frustration: The overall theme in the locker room Sunday evening was frustration. Nearly every player who addressed the media felt he could have played better to help avoid a blowout loss. The Dolphins were beaten on offense, defense and special teams. “We made some mistakes that we usually don’t make,” Dolphins Pro Bowl cornerback Brent Grimes said. Miami is 1-4 against the Bills in its past five meetings.

Tannehill
Tannehill owns up: Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill owned up to his shaky performance against the Bills. Although the loss wasn’t on one player, Tannehill didn’t do his part and finished with 246 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. “We didn’t win so it’s not good enough,” Tannehill said. “No part of our offensive performance was good enough.”

No Moreno: One key player who was missing in the locker room Sunday was Dolphins running back Knowshon Moreno. He injured his elbow in the first quarter and never returned.

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