It's one thing when I tell you how far a player has come and improved. It's one thing when you tell me how far a player has come and improved. But when the coaches see it, based on in-depth tape study of games as well as practice, based on personal interaction and evaluation, then we have something.
The Dolphins have something in Ryan Tannehill.
Mike Sherman, the Dolphins offensive coordinator, was asked Monday what area on offense has improved the most since the regular-season opener at Houston.
One guess ... it wasn't Charles Clay.
“I would have to say our quarterback position is the most dramatic improvement on the offensive side of the ball," Sherman said. "He just keeps getting better and better. Very seldom does he make the same mistake twice. You tell him that you need to do this and he does it. So I think that his maturation throughout the course of the NFL season, going into Week Six, he has taken steps every single week. He will continue to do that throughout the course of the season and the course of his career. So I would think that’s the single biggest jump this season."
Not only has Tannehill shown long-range improvement but he's playing better now than he did even a couple of weeks ago when I told you his accuracy was off. Since that time, he's delivered consecutive games with a completion percentages of over 60, including a career high 65 percent versus Cincinnati.
“I think his decision making has definitely improved over the last couple of weeks," Sherman said. "Each game we go into and come out of less and less of us being critical of his decisions. He’s made some very good decisions here as of late. The other thing I would say would be, push in the pocket. He had the tendency to leave the pocket with depth. Now he's stepping up in the pocket and finding throws to make. He had a great throw to (Davone) Bess on a scramble in the game. He’s created some plays with his feet by pushing up in the pocket. Yeah I would say those two areas, push in the pocket and decision making have definitely improved."
Tannehill is on the right path, folks. The case can be made that he is the second-best quarterback in the AFC East right now.
When was the last time the Dolphins could say that and believe it was a long-term truth? And, assuming he continues to get better, when was the last time one could believe eventually -- once Tom Brady's play begins to diminish with time -- that Miami could dominate the division because of its QB play?
Been a while.
[BLOG NOTE: I regret that we will no longer be including the feature videos on every Tannehill throw from week to week. The NFL's long legal arm contacted the maker of the videos that we've put up here for a month and informed him he was in violation of some policy or other. Then J.J. Watt knocked his front door down and told him if he didn't stop it, he'd break in two. So the videos are no more.]