Miami Dolphins: Ryan Tannehill will silence the critics in 2017

November 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
November 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) scrambles to pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the second half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Ryan Tannehill has many doubters, but the Miami Dolphins quarterback will make them eat their words in 2017.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is not without his critics around South Beach, and elsewhere as well. While I am one of the many who have always had faith in Tannehill as a starting quarterback. However, the focus should be  head coach and quarterback guru Adam Gase. We already know Tannehill’s skill set, but Gase is the man that can pull more out of him than he’s ever shown.

Everyone wants instant gratification and expects every quarterback to be great immediately and, in some cases, we’ve been spoiled as NFL fans. The bottom line is that’s just not the case. Tom Brady didn’t step on the field as a rookie, Peyton Manning set the rookie interception record and Drew Brees was so bad in his first few years ,the San Diego Chargers had the first-overall pick and ended up with Philip Rivers as their franchise quarterback.

Let’s also not forget Tannehill entered Texas A&M as a wide receiver and was considered a raw project coming out of college. Just because he was drafted eighth overall doesn’t change that fact.

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Still just 28 years old, Tannehill showed outstanding growth during his first season under Gase after an unfortunate rotating door of incompetent offensive minds running the unit through his first four seasons in Miami. After a brutal start in the first five games of 2016, he drastically turned things around in a hurry. It was like the light bulb went off for him.

Suddenly Tannehill was playing nearly flawless ball and began to excel in areas where he once struggled, like protecting the ball and throwing it deep. These are abilities he failed to display in the past that Gase ripped out of him after just a short period of time.

In the first five games of last year, he tossed only six touchdowns while throwing seven picks. Over the following eight games prior to his ACL injury, he didn’t throw an interception in five of those contests and was awesome — with the exception of his nightmarish three-interception outing in Baltimore.

Excluding that one game, he lit it up in the other seven games, all of which were wins. During that span, he threw 12 touchdowns and a mere two interceptions. His completion percentage also climbed to almost 70 percent during that period. If Tannehill can show that much improvement under Gase after just five games, imagine what he can do with another full offseason in his impressive system.

Of course, this isn’t the only instance of Gase bringing a quarterback to greater heights. Not only did he bring Jay Cutler back to relevance, he even helped a physically declining Peyton Manning hit his highest peaks in Denver after an already storied career in Indianapolis.

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Gase was the quarterbacks coach for Manning in 2012 and his offensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014. During that three-year run, Manning completed roughly 68 percent of his passes for 14,863 yards and a whopping TD-INT ratio of 131-36. This includes his MVP 2013 season in which he posted eye-popping numbers, including career highs of 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with just 10 interceptions. Those numbers are ridiculous.

That version Manning didn’t have the arm or even legs from his Colts days, but Gase knows how to hide a players deficiencies and exploit their strengths as a quarterback. The year after Gase left, Manning completed less than 60 percent of his passes for 2,249 yards, nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He was benched for Brock Osweiler for a stretch in the process.

You will hear a similar, but less triumphant, tale with Cutler. During his only year with Cutler in 2015, Gase revived his career. He somehow managed to prevent his inefficiency and slow down the turnovers that have been in abundance throughout his career. His 64.4 completion percentage was the second-highest of his 11-year career and his 11 interceptions in 15 games was by far his best rate on a per game basis. A 21-11 TD-INT ratio was the best of his career.

When Gase left for Miami in 2016, Cutler completed less than 60 percent of his passes with more interceptions than touchdowns. He was badly outplayed by all the backup quarterbacks and his season was mercifully ended by injury. At just 34 years old now, no team was willing to give him a shot and his NFL career is over.

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As you can see there is overwhelming evidence why Tannehill is going to take his game to a new and greater level this season. Even if you don’t have all that much faith in Tannehill, trust in Gase. His track record has earned him the benefit of the doubt.