Despite a lackluster season in Miami, the Dolphins' front office reportedly views Ryan Tannehill as an elite quarterback. But the team's coaching staff apparently doesn't feel the same way.
According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, interim head coach Dan Campbell and offensive coordinator Bill Lazor largely think Tannehill is a game manager. Unlike other savvy quarterbacks who are trusted to read defenses and call anything in the playbook at the line of scrimmage, the Dolphins have reportedly limited Tannehill's audibles to just two options that Lazor provides in advance. Campbell told Salguero weeks ago he doesn't want the fourth-year quarterback doing too much.
"What I’ve told Ryan is, ‘I don’t need Superman.’ … I just want to make sure my message to him is don’t try to be someone you’re not," Campbell said. "Just manage the game for us. Make the throws that are there, which he will."
That evaluation of Tannehill doesn't jive with the front office's, which feels he's among the top eight to 15 quarterbacks in the league. The Dolphins inked Tannehill to a five-year, $96 million contract with $77 million in new money over the offseason, making him the 10th highest-paid quarterback in the NFL.
Though Miami's front office remains convinced Tannehill is an upper-echelon quarterback, his performance this year doesn't back that up. His 89.4 quarterback rating is 21st among starters and his touchdown-to-interception ratio is less than 2:1.
Tannehill's performance against the blitz this season is concerning as well. He hasn't reacted well to pressure, which could be a reason why the Dolphins' coaching staff is leery of having him making decisions on the fly.
Tannehill completes 50% of his passes, w/ a 5.8 YPA and 67.8 QB rating when he’s blitzed. The #Jets blitz on an NFL-high 48.2% of dropbacks.— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) November 25, 2015
It's been a disappointing year all around for the 4-6 Dolphins, who have failed to live up to expectations after a major offseason spending spree. The offense has been anemic all fall, ranking 27th in the league in points scored. Tannehill's regression from the second half of 2014, in which he posted a 97.6 quarterback rating, is a big reason why. (He did manage to post a perfect quarterback rating against the Texans in Week 7, but that was before Houston remembered how to play defense.)
It appears as if the Dolphins' front office believes eight weeks of stellar play from Tannehill outweighs nearly three seasons of mediocrity. It may be a prerequisite for the next head coach of the Dolphins to believe that, too.