QB Outlook '12 (part 3 of 4): Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill is difficult to talk about.  We only have a few facts and conclusions to work with.  It isn't exactly common to see a guy play receiver in college, get moved to quarterback and get drafted top 10 as a quarterback.  I am not real interested in posting a bunch of facts about Tannehill anyway; I am interested in his implications toward the future of the team.

It is nice that he is athletic and has all the physical ability to be a good modern day NFL QB, but does it really matter?  What have athletic QBs done in the NFL?  They haven't won the Super Bowl, I can tell you that much.  Is it just a matter of time before one of them does win it?  I want to say that one of them will win a Super Bowl soon simply because there are so many of them out there, but for some reason I think they will just keep on losing out to the brainy guys like Manning, Brady, Brees, Rogers.  This is wear Tannehill makes me nervous.  He is a bit on the quiet side, so I have no clue how much energy is being harnessed between his ears.  Maybe the guy is a genius and maybe the guy is a moron, all I know is that I saw a couple of college decisions he made that make me skeptical.

The absolute most positive thing about Tannehill is that he doesn't have to learn a new offense as a rookie.  I have an opinion here that I have never heard anyone say before.  I honestly believe that the most important quality for a QB to have in the NFL is the ability to read people.  Defensive alignments simply are not as complicated as we would like to believe.  Playbook verbiage sounds complicated, but it is only because fans don't use it on a daily basis.  My point is that just about anyone can learn offensive and defensive schemes, alignments and assignments but the real magic happens when you read the body language of the people on the field.  Do you really think Manning and Brady beat defenses before the snap by attacking alignments?  I hope not because defenses do everything they can to hide there intentions by showing you one thing and doing another.  They read body language and use it to determine what is going to happen when the ball is snapped.  They perfect this skill by watching hours and hours of film.  If Tannehill can use this time to learn how to read the intentions of defenses, rather than learn where his players are supposed to go and how to get them there, he has a shot to do something good once he gets behind center.

So the way I see it, this guy needs some time in the crock pot.  We can cook him faster, but in the end that would just be dry and tasteless.  I wouldn't mind seeing him sit for MORE THAN a year, but I doubt that will happen.  He will probably be starting at the beginning of next season simply because we drafted him at #8 and both Moore and Garrard have one year deals.  I don't mind seeing him get a little play time at the end of the season if we are knocked out of the playoffs and it is just a glorified practice, but I really hope that fans don't start calling for him if we start to struggle by mid season.

Final note - Beware athletic QBs!  They have the ability to make you think they are ready when they aren't.  Improvisation in preseason games can make them look like geniuses, but that stuff doesn't fly when it comes playoff time.  Let this guy develop the right way... IN HIS MIND!  That is what it is going to take to be the long term success story we are all praying he will be.