Previous coaching staffs have not allowed Ryan Tannehill to regularly use his entire skill set, and Greg Jennings decided to voice what he believes the Miami Dolphins quarterback is thinking.
In a video posted on the team’s official site, Jennings said Tannehill has merely been nurtured, not tested.
“He’s been hand-held his entire career. Anytime you’re holding someone’s hand, you’re refusing to let them grow. … I’m going to speak for Ryan right now, which I typically don’t do. He wants some more freedom. He knows that he’s not been able to do the things that he really wants to do.”
Jennings acknowledged the organization is still trying to find out if Tannehill is the franchise quarterback. He continued, saying once the Dolphins need to let Tannehill’s hand go, they can see him make mistakes, have success and determine if he is that guy.
Miami initially brought in Mike Sherman — Tannehill’s head coach at Texas A&M — as the offensive coordinator, which Jennings said might have helped the transition but became a hindrance.
Tannehill has the potential to contribute as a mix of Philip Rivers and Alex Smith. Rivers thrives on short passes and doesn’t shy away from testing defenders on vertical routes, while Smith can be used as a designed runner and knows the proper moment to scramble.
Granted, the Dolphins need Tannehill to avoid emulating Smith and Rivers on third down, since the quarterbacks don’t always challenge the sticks.
According to Football Outsiders, Smith’s third-down attempts traveled 3.4 yards short of the first-down marker in 2015. Rivers managed a plus-0.5-yard mark compared to Tannehill’s plus-1.5. He’s in good shape here.
New head coach Adam Gase has created an offensive philosophy to suit both Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler, so Tannehill figures to be the next successful gunslinger. The best-case scenario is Gase will simplify and diversify the Miami offense while letting Tannehill make aggressive mistakes.