Congrats Dolfans. You might as well get used to it right now, but you are stuck with Ryan Tannehill for at least another season and a half barring a major injury or a severe dip in his play. This piece will be taken as either a Ryan Tannehill fluff piece or an apologist piece, but it is neither. There are several factors that will ensure that this occurs, and Ryan Tannehill’s play this season is only a small part of it.
The Moore Effect
Reason number one that RT will be remaining the qb for the foreseeable future is what I like to call the Moore effect. What is this exactly? Matt Moore closed out the 2011 season going 6-3 and ending the Jets playoff chances by beating them 19-17 in week 17. This alone has allowed a reputation among a contingent of Dolphin fans that he is good enough to actually be a consistent NFL starter, at least better than Ryan Tannehill would be. What is forgotten is the fact Miami played a group of deplorable defenses down the stretch that season and Miami’s passing offense consisted of throwing it to Brandon Marshall. In fact, 40% of Matt Moore’s yards that season and 33% of his attempts went to Brandon Marshall.
A closer look at Matt Moore’s numbers through that entire season show a qb that wasn’t capable of very much. Those stats include 200 yards a game, 60% completion rate, 7 ypa, and 16 TDs to 9 interceptions on an offense that was averaging 22 points per game. He is not completely to blame for the lack of production, just as he is not the sole proprietor of the success that season. The question remains, what the Moore effect has to do with this season.
Miami entered this season looking at the 6 game start and it was considered by many, the hardest start of the season in the NFL. It was said to consist of 4 playoff contending teams, a supposedly improving Titans squad, and the Browns. It would have taken a miracle to get through it 3-3, a miracle that almost did occur. The hope was for that miracle because down the stretch Miami has one of the easiest schedules in football. In the 10 games Miami has left, over half of them are in the top half of the NFL in yards allowed per game and 4 are in the top half of points allowed per game. If Miami somehow pulls out an upset versus the Bills in a division game at home, there is a 5 game stretch where every game should have Miami with in 3 point underdogs or favored. This could lead to another 2011, where the team looked much better than the actual talent level on the team.
If Miami’s offensive line remains with an iota of its current health, we can expect a statistical increase in production from Ryan Tannehill. This will be helped by an emergence of the running game that could help keep him from being one of the most hit qbs in the NFL. The last two games show a polar opposite in this regard. Versus the Titans he was hit on 50% of his drop backs, the worst number of his career, and one week later 6% which is the lowest number of his career. His current numbers include some of the best of his career, 66% completion percentage, over 8 yards per attempt, 254 yards per game on only 31 attempts a game. He is 5th in the NFL in interception rate though. Any improvement on those numbers would be enough to force Miami to keep him considering the options.
The options for qb this offseason are abysmal. Free agent QBs include Kirk Cousins, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the great E.J. Manuel. Every other quarterback that will be available is either a career backup or journeyman that has continually failed wherever they went.
The options out of the draft aren’t much better. Deshaun Watson is going to be the first qb taken and Miami would have to trade up to get him. This qb draft class is so bad that Brad Kaaya is beign considered by many as the 2nd best qb in the draft and a potential first round pick. In no logical world should this happen, and no way Miami wastes its first through third round picks on a qb. Any qb drafted 4th round or later is likely not ready to start right away and would do well to sit a year behind a qb that is already under contract.
The big names on the market that may be potential trade offers are Tony Romo, Garoppolo, and Cutler. A trade for the first two likely requires a 1st or 2nd round pick. I won’t go into the reasons why trading for Romo who is at the tail end of his career as a stop gap for a team not ready to make a serious play off push isn’t intelligent, it just is not. If the Patriots, historically good at getting the better end of trades, are willing to trade Garoppolo in division, that in itself comes with serious questions. A first or second round pick, which I personally think they don’t take less than a first, for a qb with a game and a half of film and an injury is a questionable move for a team that has consistent issues protecting it’s qb. If you want to consider for trading for Cutler, please turn in your fandom.
Ryan Tannehill is a 20 million dollar cap hit, but only a 5 million dollar hit if released in June. Why is it still more economically sensible to keep him? The average starting qb salary this year is over 15 million. Even if a stop gap like Cousins is somehow brought in, it’s going to cost over 20 million in cap space. Miami can get out of the contract again after next season, with a 4 million dollar cap hit, in an offseason where the available qbs are going to be much more reasonable. This team has way too many holes to waste a draft pick on a stop gab qb as well. There is no financial reason to move on this season, and Miami management is likely going to see it the same way.
So, get used to having Ryan as your qb for the foreseeable future, because unless Ross makes a completely illogical move, it’s what is going to happen.
On to the Bills.
Buffalo is on a 4 game winning streak behind an impressive running game, impressive defensive performances, a mostly humble Rex Ryan, and a qb not turning the ball over. It’s about as Rex Ryan as you can get in football, and it’s working again. They come into a division game laying 2.5 points on the road. There are some questions as to the health of McCoy, and if he is out I do believe that may end up being enough to shift the line, so if you are going to bet Miami, bet now.
Miami is coming off its best performance of the season but just lost its best defensive player and tackler to injury for the season. Miami isn’t a good tackling team. This isn’t a good combination against a running team like the Bills.
As is right now I’d take the Bills and the points. I would reconsider if McCoy is held out.
Straight up 2-4
Versus the spread 3-3
This is how I see it
- Need an emergency starter for tonight? Look at Montgomery from the Packers. The Packers offense isn’t hard to learn as it isn’t really an offense but he should be getting a lot of touches at RB and WR. Rodgers loving throwing at targets until he gets angry at them and he had 10 catches last game.
- I think Tom Brady is Gronk’s Totem. Without the combo he is almost human. With Brady, he is a god.
- GENO! GENO! GENO!
- How to make it big in journalism… tweet a complete lie and stick by it even as all evidence proves otherwise.
- When you are in Buffalo there is no need for an ice luge.
- I want to apologize for smearing Rex Grossman’s name. There is no Good Fitz/Bad Fitz. Just Bad Fitz.