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2 posts from October 31, 2012

October 31, 2012

Tannehill injury watch begins in earnest

The prevailing question of this week is whether Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will play against the Indianapolis Colts or not.

This morning he is on the field working on a limited basis. He took snaps with the starters early on in individual drills and then Matt Moore took snaps with the starting offense in team drills. So they are probably sharing work today.

[Update: Coach Joe Philbin said Tannehill was limited in practice.]

Tannehill, who left Sunday's game in the first quarter with a bone bruise in the left knee and deep thigh bruise, seems clearly slower in his drop than he usually does. Perhaps he is planting gingerly but that, of course, is just observation and opinion. It really doesn't matter at this point, anyway.

The thing that matters is how Tannehill reacts to treatment this week and how he looks by Friday.

[Update: Tannehill told the media he "felt good" during practice. He did not take most of the snaps but is spending all his waking hours getting treatment on the injury to maximize his chances of playing.] 

There are other issues for the Dolphins.

Cornerback Richard Marshall is not on the field again. So, once again, his status for Sunday is basically sealed. He's not playing, which would mean he'll miss his fourth game in a row. Nolan Carroll will start.

Meanwhile, Indianapolis interim coach Bruce Arians called newly acquired cornerback Vontae Davis, "a very valuable player for us." He adds that Davis "has been outstanding" and calls him "a model citizen."

[Update: Arians told the Indianapolis media that Davis is not playing Sunday against the Dolphins. Tight end Coby Fleener is also out.]

Tony McDaniel also is not practicing today. He's wearing a knee brace and is working off to the side by himself.

Back to Arians a second, he was the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh last year. And today in speaking about Dolphins center Mike Pouncey he compared him to his twin brother Markice, who plays for the Steelers.

Arians said Mike "is better" than Markice. And then he added jokingly, "Make sure you tell Markice I said that."

Dolphins fans learn not to knee jerk

The waiving of receiver Anthony Armstrong Tuesday afternoon should serve as a cautionary tale against the knee-jerk or the instaneous decision or the jump to premature conclusion.

Think back seven weeks ago when the Dolphins eight spoke with the Redskins about acquiring Armstrong. Fans and some media immediately demanded Miami give up picks for the player to improve the Dolphins wide receiver corps.

When the Dolphins got Armstrong on waivers, fans and some media immediately demanded he play.

Then, when Armstrong played and failed a couple of times, some fans and some media turned their back on Armstrong.

And not long after that Jabar Gaffney became the latest "it" player -- the object of the do-it-now crowd.

Sign Gaffney immediately, those folks said.

Play Gaffney immediately, those folks said.

If Gaffney hasn't played in two weeks he's not the answer, those folks said. 

Gaffney, by the way, caught one pass in Sunday's victory over the Jets.

Start Gaffney, some folks are about to say.

And to those folks I offer this: Chill.

The NFL season is a marathon, not a sprint. The meshing of talents and coaches is a process that works on its own timetable. And no knee jerk is wise in weighing a player, coach, team or season.

With that in mind, I ask you with respect to think about what you've just read and think on it. And think on this, also:

The Dolphins are 4-3 now. That doesn't mean they are going to the playoffs. The truth is when I speak privately to folks within the organization there is very cautious optimism about the team. I stress cautious. The things they are hoping and saying privately, they are not willing to say on the record until we see more because they don't want to be proven wrong.

They don't want to knee-jerk.

So Ryan Tannehill is not a franchise quarterback. That is not hate. Remember, I said long ago he has the chance to be the best quarterback the Dolphins have had since Dan Marino. But there is a process he must undergo. He has begun the progress. And he is making strides. And there is reason for optimism. But we don't know for certain yet what he will become. He is not a franchise player yet. And we cannot guarantee he'll get there. So just enjoy watching him. But don't get crazy when he advances or regresses. That has to happen in his development.

The knee-jerk, by the way, works both ways.

And so Michael Egnew is not a bust. He is green. He is raw. He probably isn't going to factor for a long time. But do not give up on the kid yet.

Remember that it took Paul Soliai three years to figure things out. Reggie Bush was considered something of a bust early on in New Orleans. And those folks also considered Ricky Williams something of a bust, too.

John Jerry? Tell the truth, how many of you said he was a bust last year? (No, he's not a star and is currently nothing more than a C-plus player, but he's a starter now and not a bust.)

Matt Moore?

Many of you said last year he was the answer and were puzzled when he wasn't given the job early on in training camp. Others of you saw him play in the preseason and advocated trading him to Arizona.

On Sunday he proved his value to the team right where he is -- as a valuable No. 2 QB.

I admit I've sometime fallen into the knee-jerk mode. Early last year I saw little upgrade in signing Kevin Burnett and getting rid of Channing Crowder. I was wrong. I'm also not a huge fan of what I've seen from Daniel Thomas so far, although I've stopped short of calling him a bust, which he obviously hasn't had enough time to prove or disprove.

My point?

Wait. See. Watch things play out.

Nick Saban espouses this approach. So does Joe Philbin to a degree, with his not-too-high, not-too-low approach.

I know it's hard for fans who are so emotionally invested to keep an even keel and not be overcome by the first reaction they have. That's what fans do.

But you are Dolphins fans. You're more sophisticated than that. You are wiser than that. You know more about football than to always succumb to your first emotion.

You've seen how players and seasons and teams can ebb and flow. So be not deceived.