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:
“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.
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