During Ryan Tannehill's rookie year, even as fellow rookies such as Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson were helping their teams to the playoffs, Dolphins fans gave their quarterback the benefit of the doubt because, well, he had no supporting weapons.
Last year, as Luck went back to the playoffs, fellow 2012 draft classmate Nick Foles threw 27 TD passes and only 2 interceptions and won the NFC East, and Wilson won the Super Bowl, many Dolphins fans once again gave their quarterback the benefit of the doubt because, well, his offensive line was terrible.
And his offensive coordinator was not the best.
And Tannehill was still getting used to his newfound weapons.
But here we are virtually on the eve of the 2014 season. And Ryan Tannehill doesn't want anyone making excuses for him anymore.
"I think that I am at the point in my career now where progression has to be made fast and you have to be consistent and there are no more rookie mistakes or second-year mistakes," Tannehill said Wednesday.
"We are at the point where, you have got to make the plays when it comes down to it in the fourth quarter on third down. You have to be able to make a play, find a way and that’s football. You are going to have those tough situations where someone is going to have to step up and make a play. I want that to be me. I want that to be the guys with me on offense and if we do that we will win a lot of games."
So no excuses, right Ryan?
"Yeah, that is the quarterback position," he responded. "You can’t play quarterback and have excuses. It’s your fault a lot of times, whether it looks like it is or whether it actually is, that is part of playing the position. You take on the responsibility and take ownership for the mistakes that the offense makes."
It is a sign of solid team citizenship that Tannehill is accepting responsibility for what is about to unfold with the Miami offense in 2014. Trust me, he could easily decline to do that.
After all, the offensive line is brand new from tackle to tackle (at least the first few weeks of the season). And the chemistry with No. 1 wide receiver Mike Wallace on the deep ball is still a thing -- although Tannehill said he and Wallace connected on deep passes twice in practice Wednesday.
Oh, yes, and the offensive coordinator is brand new. Bill Lazor is an NFL offensive coordinator for the first time in his career and the offense Tannehill is running is still something everyone on offense is trying to grow into.
But, again, no excuses.
No excuses about bad decisions. No excuses about holding the ball too long. No excuses about deep ball accuracy. No excuses about the team's won and loss record.
Yes, that's right, the won-loss record is mostly on Tannehill, too.
That's because the other young starting quarterbacks mentioned in this writing have all already had 10-win seasons in the NFL. All of them came out the same year as Tannehill. All, like Tannehill, went to teams that weren't good enough when those quarterbacks arrived.
And somehow those starters helped those teams reach the playoffs. All of them. The only one that didn't are Tannehill and Brandon Weeden. And everyone knows how things went for Weeden.
So even as Tannehill will not make excuses about this year, he will measure his success not by individual statistics but rather the only statistic that really, truly matters:
“I think," Tannehill said, "wins define a quarterback's career ..."