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Andy Cohen: Tannehill Had A Nice Debut

Posted Aug 10, 2012

Opinions and observations from the first preseason game.

• The big story, as expected, was the first playing time for rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Way too early to form conclusions. But I will say this: I like his pocket presence. I like his arm strength. I like the way this stage doesn’t appear too big for him.

• And I especially liked what he did on one third-quarter drive, completing seven of eight passes, culminating with an 11-yard scoring strike to Charles Clay. On that one drive, Tannehill showed so many things you are looking for in a young quarterback. Accuracy. Poise. Consistency. A nice zip on his passes. And the ability to lead his offense in a variety of ways. Granted, he was facing a very vanilla Tampa Bay back-up defense. But he was impressive, nonetheless.

• What I want to see now from Tannehill is continued improvement. Build next week on what he accomplished this week. There will be miss-steps along the way; there always are for a young quarterback. But at least on this rainy night we got to see the promise of a first-round quarterback and so many of the things that made him a Top Ten draft pick.

• Tannehill’s final numbers: 14 of 21 for 167 yards and a 106.6 quarterback rating. Way to go kid.

• With David Garrard now out, I expect Tannehill to get even more playing time this preseason, which can do nothing but help his progress.

• I was surprised, as everyone was, to find out Garrard will miss a few weeks with a “wear and tear” injury to his knee. The good news is that, barring a setback following arthroscopic surgery, he’ll be ready for the regular season; the bad news is that he’s in a new offense where continuity is so important.

• The Dolphins starters did not look particularly sharp on either side of the ball, but what do you expect from the first preseason game, a masterpiece? I expect to see the starters play considerably more in the next preseason game and at least three quarters in the third preseason game.

• Still, down 14-0 to the Tampa Bay starters probably isn’t what Joe Philbin had in mind.

• Absolutely love watching a preseason game at Sun Life Stadium without that awful baseball infield dirt to make footing a nightmare. It will now actually look like a football field all season.

• Joe Philbin was the picture of calm walking up and down the sideline. You wouldn’t have known it was his first game as a head coach on any level.

Jimmy Wilson has a chance to be a quality free safety, but it’s going to take time. Example: He was waiting for a sure interception against the Bucs, but waited for the ball to get to his body instead of grabbing it with his hands. That allowed the Tampa Bay receiver the chance to steal the reception. Bottom line: This is what the preseason is for.

• Got a feeling this is going to be a breakout season for defensive end Jared Odrick, his third season in the league. Odrick seems to have adjusted well to the new 4-3 scheme.

• We saw early in this game – three passes to Anthony Fasano – the importance of the tight end in a Philbin offense.

• Is there anything more graceful than a Reggie Bush move on a linebacker, who could do nothing but tackle air? The result of this play was a 12-yard gain.

• Weird seeing Vontae Davis coming in as the nickel back. He had better find another gear if that’s going to change.

• You could just see that tight end Charley Clay is much more polished in his second season.

• The cut down to the 53-man regular season limit isn’t that far off and the Dolphins will have some tough decisions, especially at wide receiver and defensive back.

• You want a couple of unheralded linebackers doing some nice things early in camp? How about Gary Guyton and Jason Trusnik?

• Next Friday: At Carolina. And hopefully more questions answered.

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