You heard the collective groans from Miami Dolphins fans last week at training camp. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill got off to a slow start during the first three or four practices -- which started some premature panic in Miami.
Not since Hall of Famer Dan Marino have there been so much preseason expectations put on a Miami quarterback. Tannehill had a solid rookie season and won seven games in 2012 with few weapons. This year Tannehill has plenty of new toys, such as tight end Dustin Keller and receivers Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson. So when Tannehill was erratic and threw several interceptions in the first few days of camp, some began to wonder about the second-year quarterback.
However, Tannehill has hit his stride in the past week and has been much more efficient and accurate. Tannehill threw three touchdowns in Monday’s scrimmage at Sun Life Stadium. He also hasn't thrown in interception in more than a week.
Tannehill has built momentum heading into Miami's first preseason game this weekend against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I definitely think I am improving, and that’s what you want to do,” Tannehill said. “You want to come out here, improve every day, learn from your mistakes, don’t make the same mistake twice. I think, not only myself but the quarterbacks in general, we’re doing that.”
The Dolphins and Cowboys will be the first NFL teams to hit the field for the 2013 season in Canton, Ohio, for Sunday's Hall of Fame Game. The Dolphins have earned some preseason buzz after spending more than $200 million in free agency. Miami has playoff aspirations and wants to put on a good showing before a national audience.
Tannehill's limited reps will be watched closely. He may only play a couple series. But it is a chance for Tannehill to show the strides he's made in camp.
“I think it’s exciting,” Tannehill said. “Like I said, it’s a good thing for this team to be able to get an extra week of work in, get a lot of guys some reps, maybe that wouldn’t be able to get as many reps, if we only had four preseason games. I think it’s very crucial for our team to use this time wisely.”