The Miami Dolphins are putting all of their eggs in Ryan Tannehill's basket this season. They made that clear when they failed to select a quarterback in the NFL Draft. Everyone — from head coach Adam Gase to president of operations Mike Tannenbaum — has hitched their jobs to the health and performance of Tannehill this season.
Woof. Yeah, good luck with that, guys. Apparently, no one learned anything last season. The saddest part is that last season's 6-10 looks like the best-case scenario if Tannehill is lost to injury again next season.
Though Dolphins fans are hopeful Tannehill can replicate a solid eight-game stretch he had under Gase in 2016, the reality is he hasn't played in an NFL game since December 11, 2016. Obama was still president then, Dwyane Wade was with the Chicago Bulls, and the Dolphins somehow made the playoffs. It's been a while.
The last time Dolphins fans saw Tannehill playing football, he was running at quarter-speed away from Ndamukong Suh toward the sidelines. He never made it there, of course, because he reinjured his knee.
It will have been 19 months since that day when Tannehill finally takes the field against the Tennessee Titans this fall. No one will be sure of what to expect from him outside of a couple of throws in some meaningless preseason games. If anyone says they do, they're lying.
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Luckily, the Dolphins have prepared for the worst. They locked up a contingency plan that will undoubtedly make everything all better if Tannehill cannot return to his previous form: Brock Osweiler. All 32 career touchdowns and 27 interceptions of him. A man with a $16 million contract the Houston Texans wanted to get rid of so badly they had to give the Cleveland Browns a second-round pick. A man the Browns, winners of one of their last 32 games, then cut.
Oh, and the Fins signed Bryce Petty off waivers from the New York Jets. That ought to do the trick!
That's the backup plan right now if Tannehill can't stay healthy or play well. That seems like a poor idea. Having Osweiler as the backup quarterback on a team very much made to win now seems like throwing some rubber and glue in your trunk and calling it a spare tire. The Dolphins could have signed Teddy Bridgewater or Colin Kaepernick (still can!), or they could have drafted a top-tier quarterback to throw into the fire in case of emergency. But instead, they've decided to roll into the preseason as-is.
If Tannehill plays poorly or is unable to play, the Dolphins will be in worse shape then they were last season. As bad as Jay Cutler was, he's better than Osweiler ever will be. A disastrous four-win season under a combination of Osweiler and whatever unsigned stiff who becomes available in-season would undoubtedly lead to some serious changes, most likely at the head-coaching position.