Friday, July 25, 2014

Dolphins' Tannehill knows 'it's a big year for myself'


In 2014, the Miami Dolphins look to build on the positives of last season and deliver the franchise's first postseason berth in six years.

In the minds of Dolphins fans, however, the season is expected to produce an answer to the most significant question of the team's short term future: After two seasons of slow but steady growth, can Ryan Tannehill turn the corner and be the quarterback that leads Miami into AFC contention?

The potential gravity of the situation isn't lost on the third-year passer, who seeks to turn the page on last season's disappointing ending and rally around the changes the team has made in the offseason.

“It’s a big year for myself, it’s a big year for our team,” Tannehill told reporters, via the team website. "Last year, we underperformed. We had a lot of games that we should have won and I think that kind of started a fire in us.

"We have a lot of guys returning, added a bunch of good pieces and we see the potential of this team. We see that we have the playmakers that can take us a long way. Now, it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together and winning games."

When it comes down to it, 'putting the pieces together' is largely dependent on Tannehill. His sophomore campaign was marred by inconsistency, which most showed its negative side during a season ending two-game losing streak that squandered Miami's inside track position for a playoff spot.

Shouldering some of the blame for that debacle was outgoing offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, whose archaic offensive design was believed to have led to predictability and stagnation.

That doesn't seem to be an issue with the scheme of Sherman's replacement, Bill Lazor. Tannehill is relishing the fresh look and some of the aspects of Miami's new, more progressive offense.

“It’s fun,” Tannehill said. "[It's nice] to come out, kind of have a fresh start, new identity, new offense with really talented players across the board."

“I think we have a good run package. It spreads the field, creates running lanes inside. We get the ball all over the field to all of our playmakers and create matchups... When you can spread them out, isolate them and get those one-on-one matchups, it’s fun for me to distribute the ball.”

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