Ryan Tannehill's step up
September, 18, 2013
By Mike Sando | ESPN Insider
Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesRyan Tannehill's improvement in Year 2 has helped the Dolphins to a 2-0 start.Those wondering how quickly NFL teams move on to the next game will appreciate this little aside with Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. We spoke on the phone at 2:40 p.m. ET Monday, less than 24 hours after the Dolphins' 24-20 victory at Indianapolis. Sherman was already so deep into preparations for a Week 3 game against Atlanta that he could not immediately produce a short list of QB Ryan Tannehill's top plays from Sunday. He instantly recalled a couple of bad ones -- coaches rarely forget those -- before pointing to a field goal drive right before halftime as an underrated highlight.
"That drive was a pretty defining moment," Sherman said. "They had just scored. The place was going crazy. [Tannehill] was one, two, three completions in a row. That was the difference in the ballgame. Without that, they could have kicked a field goal late in the game."
Another game-defining moment came later. Trailing by a field goal deep into the third quarter, the Dolphins needed an explosive play to change the game. The need for personnel who can contribute such plays is precisely why the Dolphins drafted quarterback Tannehill in 2012 and signed receiver Mike Wallace this offseason. On Sunday, we saw those acquisitions pay off. Wallace beat his man with a double move. Tannehill threw deep. The 34-yard connection set up the winning 1-yard touchdown run.
This single play offers multiple entry points into a discussion about where Tannehill stands as a starting quarterback two games into his second season. The Dolphins are 2-0 and have already matched their 2012 total for road victories. Wallace is coming off a nine-catch, 115-yard game as the team's most dangerous receiver. For Tannehill, improvements in completion rate and yards per attempt have driven up his passer rating from 76.1 last season to 94.2 through two games. And his overall ascent figures to continue, if he can just cure one key glitch in his game.