Last week, we wrote about a CBS Sports report that indicated Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill will have a shorter leash next season. According to the report, Miami head coach Joe Philbin has a lot of confidence in veteran backup Matt Moore and will be more inclined to bench Tannehill if he struggles next season.
Here are some additional thoughts on the issue:
If the report is accurate, this is a clear indication Philbin is aware 2014 is a make-or-break season. The Dolphins never discussed pulling the plug on Tannehill before. Philbin was in the middle of his grace period and could stick with a young quarterback. Although ownership has backed him, many believe Philbin is on the hot seat if he doesn’t win in Year 3. Philbin is 15-17 in two seasons.
The September schedule could be huge for Tannehill and the Dolphins. Miami has the 12th-toughest strength of schedule in the NFL. So there is potential for the Dolphins to have top-flight opponents to start the season. A fast start similar to last season would certainly calm the waters. But if Tannehill gets off to a 1-3 start, for example, will that prompt Philbin to make a change? The schedule is expected to be released in April.
Overall, I think it’s a bad idea to put Tannehill on a short leash. Although he didn’t make the strides many expected, Tannehill did improve in nearly every major statistical category in 2013. He also did it with an awful offensive line and a poor running game. If this report is accurate, having this message out publicly in February is not good for Tannehill’s confidence. The Dolphins need to be 100-percent behind Tannehill in order to get the best out of him in 2014.