Football

Dolphins’ Ryan Tannehill not running from expectations, ready to deliver

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has had ups and downs, but his focus is on winning.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has had ups and downs, but his focus is on winning. AP

Ryan Tannehill doesn’t look the same. Maybe it’s the mustache. Or possibly it’s the fact the Miami Dolphins quarterback doesn’t run anymore.

Tannehill, who played 30 games at receiver during his career at Texas A&M, ranks only 24th among quarterbacks in rushing this season. He has only 44 yards on 17 carries.

“He’s probably carried it less than I would have expected at this point, but [there were] a couple games maybe where we thought he would be carrying it more,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “When we’ve had a lead, it’s probably smart to turn that part of the offense off and not get him hit more.

“The quarterback gets hit enough in this league as it is. I think we’re just trying to be smart with it. I think that he could help us win with it, so when it does show up again, whether it’s this week or some other week, I think that we will be ready.”

Tannehill’s right arm, not his legs, is what got him a contract extension. In the off-season, the Dolphins committed to Tannehill for the future, giving him a six-year, $96 million deal.

He’s probably carried it less than I would have expected at this point, but [there were] a couple games maybe where we thought he would be carrying it more. ... The quarterback gets hit enough in this league as it is. I think we’re just trying to be smart with it.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor on Ryan Tannehill

“Signing the contract was definitely a relief,” Tannehill told the Star-Telegram. “It allows me to know some security, to know where I’m going to be and just go out and play football.”

Tannehill, 27, knows he still needs to show more consistency. He set an NFL record with 25 consecutive completions over two games this season, getting a game-day jersey put on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But he has taken three safeties, and, in four games, he was intercepted two or more times.

“We have to win more games, whatever it takes,” said Tannehill, who has a 27-30 record. “Whether it’s scoring 45 points to win a game, or like last week was scoring 20. I think whatever it takes to win the game. I think that’s what it’s going to come down to. A lot of games come down to the fourth quarter. We’ve been able to win some of those and haven’t been able to win some of those. So I think that’s the biggest part.”

No doubt Tannehill has improved since the Dolphins selected him eighth overall in 2012. This season, he has completed 63.6 of his passes for 2,454 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Since being drafted in 2012, Ryan Tannehill has started every game for the Dolphins. He has thrown for 13,704 yards with 78 touchdowns, 51 interceptions and an 84.9 passer rating.

“I feel like I’ve gotten better each and every year,” Tannehill said. “I try to learn from every snap I take whether it’s a good play, a bad play. Just take the things that I do well and try to improve upon them, and then look at the things you need to improve upon and try to make those plays.”

The one thing that hasn’t changed is Tannehill’s belief in himself to lead the Dolphins to a Super Bowl title.

“That’s why I come to work each and every day is to ultimately win a championship,” Tannehill said. “You never know when that’s going to happen. A lot of things have to align. You have to play really well to get there. I love this game. I love the preparation and ultimately, I want to hold that trophy at the end of the year.”

Charean Williams: 817-390-7760, @NFLCharean

My five cents

1. Here’s an idea: If opponents are irked by Cam Newton’s dancing, stop him from getting into the end zone. The controversy over the quarterback’s touchdown dance against Tennessee is beyond ridiculous. The mother who wrote the letter to The Charlotte Observer lost me completely when she said she directed her 9-year-old daughter to watch the (scantily clad) cheerleaders instead of Newton because she was so put off by Newton’s dance. Seriously?! It was just a celebratory dance.

2. It makes sense that playing Thursday would give teams a decided advantage the following week. But it hasn’t worked out that way this season. Teams that have played on Thursday are only 11-7 the following week despite the extra rest.

3. When the New Orleans Saints hired Dennis Allen as a senior defensive assistant in January, it signaled the beginning of the end for Rob Ryan. Allen, the former L.D. Bell and Texas A&M star, becomes the fifth defensive coordinator Sean Payton has hired. Gary Gibbs (2006-08), Gregg Williams (2009-11), Steve Spagnuolo (2012) and Ryan (2013-15) didn’t last long.

4. The Brock Osweiler era begins Sunday. The 2012 second-round pick will play for his future, trying to show he’s worthy of a hefty pay raise as Peyton Manning’s full-time replacement. Osweiler has never started a regular-season game and has played in only 14, completing 31 of 54 passes for 305 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He becomes a free agent in the off-season.

5. Is Adrian Peterson really 30 years old? He sat out most of last season, but he certainly doesn’t look his age. The former OU star leads the league with 961 yards and averages 4.9 yards per carry. Tiki Barber holds the record for the most rushing yards for a running back 30 or older, having run for 1,860 yards in 2005 when he was 30.

Who’s hot

Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West has made his first four NFL starts. In the past three games, the Abilene Christian product has 66 carries for 276 yards and three touchdowns and nine catches for 136 yards and a touchdown.

Who’s not

In six games, including five starts, Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell has 44 carries for 116 yards and a touchdown. Last week against the Green Bay Packers, he had 17 yards on 14 carries.

Numbers game

21 LaDainian Tomlinson’s jersey number, which the Chargers will retire at halftime today. The former TCU star joins Lance Alworth (19), Dan Fouts (14) and Junior Seau (55) as the team’s only players with that honor.

2016 NFL Draft

Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com gives his top-10 senior safeties and top-five draft-eligible underclassmen at the position for the 2016 draft:

Senior safeties

1. Jeremy Cash, Duke, 6-1, 210

2. Miles Killebrew, S. Utah, 6-3, 231

3. Jalen Mills, LSU, 6-0, 193

4. Sean Davis, Maryland, 6-1, 195

5. Karl Joseph, W. Virginia, 5-10, 200

6. Darian Thompson, Boise St., 6-1, 200

7. Kevin Byard, Middle Tenn., 5-11, 216

8. DeAndre Houston-Carson, Will. & Mary, 6-1, 198

9. Deon Bush, Miami, 6-1, 203

10. Elijah Shumate, N. Dame, 6-0, 213

Draft-eligible underclassmen:

1. Jayron Kearse, Clemson, 6-4, 205

2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State, 5-11, 200

3. Johnathan Ford, Auburn, 5-11, 203

4. Tony Conner, Ole Miss, 6-1, 218

5. Josh Harvey-Clemons, Louisville, 6-4, 212

Blitz

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston has targeted Mike Evans 32 times the past two games. The former Texas A&M receiver has 16 receptions and seven drops.

The New England Patriots have 12 consecutive seasons of double-digit wins. They will make it 13 with one more victory. Only San Francisco, with 16 straight seasons from 1983-98, has had as long a streak or longer of 10-plus win seasons.

The Panthers’ Cam Newton has won 12 consecutive starts, the longest streak by a quarterback since Peyton Manning won 17 in a row for the Broncos in 2012-13.

The New York Giants have three rushing touchdowns, their lowest total through 10 games since 1996, when they had two.

Bills rookie running back Karlos Williams has touchdowns in each of his first six career NFL games, tying a record set by Robert Edwards of New England in 1998.

The Cincinnati Bengals have gone 31 consecutive games without losing two in a row. That streak ranks second in the NFL behind the Patriots’ 54 consecutive games without back-to-back losses.

Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez has a 37-33 career record. He has 82 touchdowns and 81 interceptions. Sanchez started the final eight games for the Eagles last season and went 4-4 with 14 turnovers.

The Cleveland Browns haven’t been over .500 since 2007, when they were 10-6.

Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, in his 12th season, has more catches (65) and touchdowns (seven) through nine games than in his previous 11 seasons. He has 836 yards, only 18 fewer than his high in 2009.

Bears running back Matt Forte missed only five games with injuries in his first seven seasons. He has missed two this season.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has thrown 228 consecutive passes without an interception, the longest current streak in the NFL. The team record stands as Steve DeBerg’s 233 consecutive attempts without a pick in the 1990 season.

Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.  

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