Year Three Brings Different Challenges For Tannehill

Posted Mar 10, 2014

Young quarterback has new offensive coordinator to learn from.


Ever since being drafted in the first round with the eighth overall pick by the Miami Dolphins two years ago, quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been tested. His third season will be no different.

Tannehill has a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, who was the Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach last year, and will be learning a new system. Last year he broke in two new wide receivers – Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson – and endured 58 sacks behind a constantly changing offensive line, so the Texas native isn’t averse to facing tough challenges.

“It will definitely be different with a different system, but I’m excited,” said Tannehill, who can’t officially meet with Lazor about the playbook until next month. “He’s going to be a fun guy to work with and just his personality coming in seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve just had some casual conversations right now because we can’t get into the football stuff just yet, but I’ve been getting to know him as a person and his style. I’m really looking forward to when we can actually get into the football and get into learning the offense. I’m kind of held back at this point but I’m just eager to learn and just waiting on that day.”

Tannehill made significant strides from his rookie campaign to his second season in just about every category and left zero doubts about his toughness by never missing a start. His 3,913 passing yards were the most by any Dolphins quarterback not named Dan Marino and he doubled his number of touchdown passes from 12 to 24, while improving his completion percentage from 58.3 to 60.4 and his passer rating from 76.1 to 81.7.

In between Tannehill’s first and second seasons, he famously spent time in the film room watching every single one of his 484 pass attempts in an effort to identify any flawed tendencies so that he could eliminate them in 2013. Since he knew he would be playing in the same system under former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman that made his film breakdown a little more comprehensive. This time around Tannehill is approaching it a little differently – and he has 104 more pass attempts to break down.

“I’ll definitely go back in and watch more but I guess since we’re changing schemes not from a scheme standpoint but just from a fundamental standpoint and situational standpoint,” he said. “Last year I was looking through not only fundamentals and not only situations but also scheme and this year I think the first thing I’ll do is go focus on those other things.”

That tireless work ethic is something that immediately caught the eye of new General Manager Dennis Hickey. He saw a lot of Tannehill’s highlights on film and also was left with a good impression in their face-to-face meetings.

“He’s a young quarterback that has made good jumps in each year,” Hickey said. “We want to see continued progression with him just like all of our players, but under Coach Lazor and adding him to the mix we’re excited about that.”

Count Tannehill among the most excited to work with Lazor and to implement his offensive system, especially knowing the weapons he already has on the roster. He has a basic understanding of what’s in store and how much more effective the offense can be as a whole.

Tannehill’s most memorable performance of last season came at home against the New England Patriots when he completed 25-of-37 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns. He had a solid grasp of Sherman’s system by then and from what little he knows about Lazor’s he doesn’t sound too worried about making the transition.

“It’s a completely different system as far as Bill runs a numbers system and Coach Sherman ran a West Coast style system,” said Tannehill, who also rushed for 238 yards and a touchdown last season. “So everything’s going to have a different name, it’s going to be reprogramming my brain to work in a different way, so it’s a big task at hand but it’s exciting at the same time.”

Tannehill has already proven that no task is really too big for him.

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