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Tannehill Draws Inspiration From Fellow Rookie QBs

Posted Feb 6, 2013

Miami’s starting signal caller looking looking to improve on rookie season success.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill would like nothing more than to reach the heights that three of his fellow classmates – Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson – reached in 2012.

Tannehill managed to measure up fine against Luck and Wilson in their head-to-head meetings last season, but watching all three play in the postseason only fueled his desire to join them. Now a little more than a month removed from his final regular-season game, he seems more assured in his abilities and the direction of his team headed into 2013.

“I’m confident in what we can do here in Miami going into the future,” said Tannehill in an exclusive interview with Dolphins.com. “I think going into the year outside people didn’t really have any expectations for us but we had expectations for ourselves. Obviously, we came up short but we were right there down to the end. We wish we could have won some of those close games early on in the year that we felt like we should have won, so moving forward we’re excited about the opportunity we have and the guys that we have on the team.”

Last year at this time, all four quarterbacks were getting ready for the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis and Tannehill and Wilson had become friends while training together. Tannehill led Miami to a 24-21 win over Wilson’s Seattle Seahawks at Sun Life Stadium on November 25th, which happened to be the last loss suffered by Seattle until the second round of the playoffs at Atlanta.

Three weeks earlier, Tannehill went up against Luck in Indianapolis at the RCA Dome and completed 22-of-38 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown in a close 23-20 loss. Luck, the first overall pick of last year’s NFL Draft, ended up setting a new rookie record for passing yards with 432 in that game, but the television commentators were talking about this becoming a matchup to pay attention to in the future.

“He’s got 35 starts under his belt to this day, and that’s huge,” Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland said. “I think we’re better for it. I think Ryan is better for it. So now we’re kind of going to hopefully see a big jump from that standpoint in his development.”

The entire 2012 rookie class made quite a contribution on the field last season, starting with Tannehill and extending to starting right tackle Jonathan Martin, running back Lamar Miller and wide receiver Rishard Matthews on offense. Martin closed out the season at left tackle after Pro Bowler Jake Long was lost to a triceps injury.

As the highest draft pick of this group at No. 8 overall in the first round, Tannehill became the de facto class leader. The fact that he started all 16 games – a first in franchise history for a Dolphins rookie quarterback – and displayed toughness in the pocket went a long way for Tannehill in terms of respect. He appreciates his role and feels strongly about the potential of his rookie class and about what he hopes to accomplish.

“I’m hungry. I’m hungry to get back out there and progress as much as I can,” Tannehill said. “I’m excited for what the next year brings for our team, for myself and the progress we can make. I think this is a big offseason for us and not only finding out what we’re going to do with signing free agents and the draft and that whole process, but just getting better with the guys that we know we’re going to have and getting to be closer as a team and go out and play together for a full 60 minutes and play perfect.”

Tannehill heeded the advice of some of his veteran teammates and got away from football and South Florida for a little while once the season came to an end. He and his wife, Lauren, rented a car and drove to Texas to visit both of their families and get some relaxation at the same time. That also gave him a chance to let his body heal from the number of hits he took during his first season.

Now that he’s back in town, Tannehill has been coming to the team’s training facility on a regular basis to get in a workout and he’s looking forward to reuniting with some of his fellow receivers, tight ends and running backs and throwing the ball around. But he’s enjoying the current regimen he has set up for now.

“My typical day in the offseason, I get up an go to the facility and workout and get a throwing session in,” Tannehill told The Finsiders. “I’m done by around 11 and then I grab a quick bite to it and then go out and do some fishing in the afternoon.”

That of course will change sometime in March when the offseason conditioning program kicks off, and then Tannehill can start fishing for ways to get his team into the playoffs.

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