How good was Ryan Tannehill’s rookie season with the Dolphins?

The Miami Dolphins are in full offseason mode….meaning, just like the rest of us, the Dolphins are at home watching the playoffs.  Unfortunately, for the 4th straight season, the Miami Dolphins missed the playoffs.  By doing so, the Dolphins also extended their winless streak in the postseason to 12 years.  Yes Dolphins fans, that playoff win in January of 2001 over the Colts was the last time the Dolphins won a playoff game.  It seems like even longer than that, doesn’t it?  The Dolphins know they need to change things and change them fast if they want to get a crack at breaking that streak.  They’re hoping the moves made in 2012 and the moves they will make this offseason, will get them there quickly.

Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com

Photo Courtesy of Dolphins.com

The fast track to ending that playoff drought will be for Ryan Tannehill to take the next step in his development into a franchise quarterback.  We’re going to start our reflections on the 2012 season with the most important position on the football field, quarterback.  This year, Ryan Tannehill won the starting job against Matt Moore, after David Garrard was lost for the season with a knee injury.  All Tannehill did was start all 16 games for the Dolphins and lead the team to a 7-9 record.  Comparing Tannehill’s 2012 to Andrew Luck, RG3, or Russell Wilson, is fair, although the argument can be made that each of those QBs had more help from their teammates.  All 3 of those QBs made the playoffs this season and one of them is still playing on divisional weekend.

Overall, Tannehill seemed to play better as the season went on, although he reminded us, at times, that he was a rookie with some simple mistakes.  For the season, Tannehill completed 58.3% of his passes for 3,294 yards, 12 TDs and 13 INTs, good for a QB rating of 76.1.  We’re going to run down what Tannehill did well in 2012 and what he can improve on as he moves forward.  At the end of this post, we’ll ask for your grade on Tannehill, so please be sure to vote!

What Tannehill did well

Red Zone – Inside the opponents 20 yard line, Tannehill completed just 47.7% of his passes, but he threw for 8 TDs and just 1 INT, good for a 86.5 passer rating.  Inside of the opponents 10, Tannehill posted a QB rating of 95.8 with 5 TDs and 0 INTs.  That’s what you want to see out of your quarterback, protecting the football in the red zone.  Now, the Dolphins kicked too many field goals in the red zone, but ball security was the #1 priority that Joe Philbin stressed to his young QB…and it showed.

Middle of the Field – Tannehill posted his highest QB rating when throwing the ball in the middle of the field.  He completed 61% of his passes for 2 TDs and 0 INTs, good for an 89.8 QB rating.  What makes this important is the fact that many scouts said the middle of the field was the place that Tannehill struggled with.  He made adjustments and utilized this part of the field the most effectively, despite lacking a go-to target at TE or WR.  (cont’d on page 2, click below)

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