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Will Ryan Tannehill overtake Marcus Mariota in Tennessee?

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Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins decided to move on from quarterback Ryan Tannehill this offseason and eventually offloaded him to the Tennessee Titans in a creative March trade. And on Wednesday, a TV debate ensued about whether Tannehill will very quickly supplant Marcus Mariota as the quarterback of the future in Nashville that he could not sustain in Miami.

On ESPN’s “NFL Live” program, former Dolphins VP of football Mike Tannenbaum, who’s been hired this offseason by the network as an analyst, and former South Florida media member-now ESPN reporter Jeff Darlington both “sang the praises” of Tannehill and his chance to take over the Titans:

Darlington’s take,

“He’s (Mariota) got to stay healthy. I believe that Marcus has the talent, it’s whether you can stay healthy. And, if by week eight he all of a sudden he goes down with some kind of injury, Ryan Tannehill, as Mike and I know very well in South Florida, will come in there and look really pretty and really good.” Darlington continued, “And all the sudden he is going to be the type of practice player that’s going to make the Titans believe that he could be their guy. I believe that, ultimately, the Titans will enter 2020 believing that Ryan Tannehill will be there Franchise QB.”

For the record, Tannenbaum, who gave Tannehill a four year $77 million extension in Miami in 2015, agreed that he could become the Titans guy sooner rather than later,

“When healthy, he’s been a startinig-winning quarterback. That’s not hope. That’s not conjecture. That’s just the facts….Marcus is your starter, but they have depth at that position…and you got two guys that you can win with.”

Now, obviously what’s left out here is the Tannehill has been injured in each of the last three seasons. It started with his ACL tear in December of 2016 costing him a chance to help the Dolphins during a late-season playoff push and they were eventually beaten in their AFC Wildcard game at Pittsburgh without him.

Tannehill then, elected not to have surgery on the knee try to rehab it and be ready for training camp of 2017. Only to re-tear the ACL that August and have to have the surgery, eventually missing the entire season. He came back off the knee surgery with a good training camp and preseason and the Dolphins even got off to a 3 – 0 start in 2018. Yet, this time it was an injured shoulder in an October game with Cincinnati that eventually cost him five more games.

So, while Darlington and Tannenbaum touting Tannehill’s praises, the other part of that is he’s been a bigger injury problem than Mariota over the last three years.. And clearly, Mariota had a 2017 season where he led Tennessee to the playoffs and a victory over Kansas City, and that says something for his future in the “Music City.”

Still, he suffered a hamstring injury late last year missing a couple of key games himself, as Tennessee missed out a wildcard spot on the final night of the season. Thus, calling into question, whether Mariota will get a long term massive contract in Tennessee.

It’s going to be interesting to watch from a distance, whether Tannehill becomes the guy at some point due the injury or poor play by the Titans former  #2 overall pick in 2015.

For now, he has to be content to wait for a shot, if it comes.

Miami Dolphins

Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine

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John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.

Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:

In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.

However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.

As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan

He came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.

Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.

In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.

As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.

Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.

It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.

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Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.

The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:

The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.

Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.

Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.

Colorado’s athletic director Rick George said in a statement Sunday night,

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.” 

The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.

Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.

Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.

Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.

Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.

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