Few inside or outside the Dolphins’ organization expected Tannehill to be ready to start in Week 1 of 2012. Tannehill only had 20 career starts in college after spending much of his time at wide receiver. Tannehill also had the challenge of beating out veteran quarterbacks Matt Moore and David Garrard in training camp while learning the speed of the NFL game.
But all of that is in the past one year later. Tannehill did win Miami’s starting job in Week 1 and adjusted to the NFL's speed. He started all 16 games and led Miami to an unexpected 7-9 record. Now, Tannehil begins the 2013 offseason workouts as the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback.
“Last year at this time my head was spinning. I was just trying to figure out how things worked,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I didn’t really know how the day went, how the offseason went, how practices went. So being in it a year, I am completely comfortable. Now I can go out and focus on all the little things that go into the game.”
Tannehill was in total command of Miami's offense during this week’s start of organized team activities. The Tuesday portion was open to the media, and Tannehill made several long completions to receivers Brian Hartline, Mike Wallace and Armon Binns. Tannehill also made the routine throws underneath to tight end Dustin Keller and others. The second-year quarterback was quick with his reads and knew where to go with the football.
It was clear that Tannehill put in the offseason work. If Tannehill can make significant strides in Year 2, that could put the Dolphins in position to make a playoff push this year.
“I guess one way to describe him is he’s a gym rat. He loves football; he’s been here an awful lot,” Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin explained. “He's been working out with the guys on their own, nothing orchestrated by us, well before the offseason program began. Those are all good indicators that somebody wants to be good. That’s kind of step one.
“If you don’t have players that want to be great, it’s hard for them to keep climbing and keep accelerating their development. That’s point number one that we’re excited about.”