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NOTEBOOK: Tannehill’s Toughness An Admirable Trait; Other Notes

Posted Dec 27, 2013

Second-year quarterback will make his 32nd consecutive start.



One look at the total number of sacks Ryan Tannehill has taken in his brief career as quarterback of the Miami Dolphins would lead one to believe he had to miss some playing time. That theory would be emphatically incorrect.

The 6-foot-4, 222-pound Texan is set to make his 32nd consecutive start Sunday against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium, despite having been sacked 93 times. He has yet to miss a game since being taken with the eighth overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft and has only left a game twice, most recently last week at Buffalo in the fourth quarter after injuring his knee when he was sacked. Tannehill returned to the field for seven snaps on two series after sitting out one series and then was pulled in the final minutes when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

“Availability is a real important commodity for a National Football League player, so you have to love the fact that this guy shows up to work virtually every single day,” Head Coach Joe Philbin said. “He’s a very steady individual and he works extremely hard and it’s been great that he’s been able to be out there every single week. He’s a tough guy and he works at his body, he works mentally at his craft and he works at his fundamentals and his skills.”

Tannehill’s demeanor in the huddle and his ability to bounce off the ground and brush himself off has inspired his teammates on both sides of the ball, but especially on the offensive side. They see a young quarterback focused on the next down rather than dwelling on or complaining about the sack that just happened.

Miami’s veteran tackles, Bryant McKinnie and Tyson Clabo, have been around their fair share of quarterbacks during their careers and both see in Tannehill someone they like to play for and get motivated to protect.

“That tells you a lot that that he hasn’t missed any games and he’s been through a lot as far as getting hit,” said McKinnie, who won a Super Bowl last year with the Baltimore Ravens. “It shows you that he’s pretty tough and it’s almost like it doesn’t even faze him, even though you don’t want that to happen. He just jumps right back up and gets right back into the game and that makes you want to work a little harder to keep him off the ground.”

Clabo, like McKinnie, is in his first season with the Dolphins and eighth overall and he also had plenty of praise for Tannehill.

“That’s a physically demanding position,” he said. “He’s gotten hit quite a bit and he just keeps getting up and you’ve got to commend him for that. You can tell he just has that determination about him and that he’s going to finish whatever he started. There’s no panic and that’s good because panic is never good, so he’s done a really good job of keeping his composure and it rubs off. You want to do a good job for him because you can tell he wants to do a good job for you and it’s important to him.”

All anybody had to do was listen to Tannehill on Thursday talk about Sunday’s game and what it means in terms of this season to realize that Clabo and McKinnie know are accurate with their descriptions.

“Obviously, we know it’s a big game and we realize the implications of this game, we’re not stupid,” Tannehill said. “We have to approach it 1-0 because if we don’t win this game then there’s nothing else, or no chance of anything else. We’re approaching this game 100 percent focused on the task at hand. We know that a talented Jets team that can make big plays is coming to town and we’ll have to be ready to play.”

Clearly, that’s something Tannehill has taken to heart.

THIS AND THAT

Two days after Christmas, the team was back outside for its last practice of the week, taking advantage of a slight breeze and comfortable temperatures. … Every single player was working on the field and there was nobody to the side with the trainers, which is a good sign this late in the season. It means the Dolphins will take a healthy squad to Sun Life Stadium against the Jets. … Prior to Sunday’s game, the newest members of the Walk of Fame will officially be inducted at the Joe Robbie Alumni Plaza at Gate C at 11 a.m. Linebacker/defensive end Kim Bokamper will be joined by wide receiver O.J. McDuffie, running back Eugene “Mercury” Morris and guard Keith Sims.

DOUBLE SHOT FRIDAY

Since Friday practices are typically shorter than the rest, there was only time for two songs during warm-ups and stretching. T.I. got things started with “Bring ‘Em Out,” and the classic “Hip Hop Hooray,” by Naughty By Nature closed out the set.

THE LAST WORD

“We obviously know we have a tough matchup ahead. It’s a rivalry game. We know we’re going to get their best shot and it’s just a matter of going out and not making any mistakes, just not beating ourselves.” – tight end Charles Clay on facing the Jets
Game Pass: Miami Dolphins