Noon Sunday update; How Tannehill's first 25 starts compare with top-20 QBs & Henne; Fins, Heat, UM-Duke, Marlins
The Sunday buzz column is below. First, a few Sunday morning updates on the Dolphins bullying scandal:
### Fox's Jay Glazer said Jonathan Martin did not "single out" Richie Incognito when Martin met with NFL-appointed investigator Ted Wells on Friday. Glazer said in fact, Martin told Wells that Martin and Incognito "are friends." Glazer said Martin told Wells it is "more than just one guy" harrassing him and gave details.
### ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the NFL has received tips of other instances of harrassment inside the Dolphins, and because so much new information is pouring in, the investigation will take longer than expected.
### Schefter and Chris Mortensen said Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner is a person of interest in the investigation, and that Turner would "insult, bully and pile it on Martin." Turner, who has a military background, is known for using "loud, insulting and profane language," according to ESPN, though that isn't unusual among NFL coaches.
ESPN said Wells wants to speak with Turner about the culture within the Dolphins' offensive line.
### Wells will spend Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at Dolphins headquarters interviewing various people --- players, coaches, front office types.
### Incognito's expedited grievance hearing against the Dolphins will be held Thursday. Other teams are interested in both Incognito and Martin if the Dolphins part ways with both, Glazer said.
### CBS' Dan Marino, who was named by owner Stephen Ross to a five-person committee that will suggest a code of conduct for the Dolphins locker-room, said: "I wouldn't do this if this were just a PR move."
SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN
Now that Ryan Tannehill has started 25 games, it’s a good time to assess how his career has unfolded compared with accomplished active quarterbacks.
For perspective, we compared Tannehill’s first 25 starts with the first 25 starts by 18 quarterbacks that most would consider top-20 caliber. (We had to use 24 starts in the case of Washington’s Robert Griffin III, who starts his 25th game Sunday.) We also compared Tannehill’s work to the man he essentially replaced: Chad Henne.
The good news: Tannehill produced a higher quarterback rating in his first 25 starts than Peyton Manning, Eli Manning and Drew Brees.
The bad news: His numbers are remarkably similar to Henne’s and also rank at the bottom or bottom half of every key statistical category, compared to the early work of many others.
In many cases, a quarterback’s first 25 starts foreshadow how his career will unfold. But there are several glaring exceptions: the Manning brothers and Brees the most prominent. A few observations from our analysis, which was greatly aided by information provided by the good folks at the Elias Sports Bureau:
### This is troubling: Tannehill has 25 touchdown passes in 25 games --– the fewest of the 18 quarterbacks used as a benchmark in our study. Those 18 averaged 35.2 TD passes in their first 25 starts, led by Tony Romo’s 52, Matt Stafford’s 46 and Peyton Manning’s 43.
Among the top rookies in Tannehill’s draft class, Russell Wilson has 41, Andrew Luck 37 and Griffin 32.
### In his first 25 starts, Henne threw the same number of touchdown passes as Tannehill and for just two fewer yards (5498 to 5500). Henne completed a higher percentage of passes (61.3 to 59.4), whereas Tannehill threw five fewer interceptions (23 to 28) and has a slightly higher rating (78.2 to 76.6).
The important caveat: Henne played behind a better offensive line and had more accomplished running backs.
### Compared with the 18 others (Henne excluded), Tannehill would rank 10th-best in interceptions, 12th in yards, 14th in completion percentage and 16th in rating. Compare his 78.2 rating to the 25-game ratings of Wilson (100.5), Ben Roethlisberger (99.0), Romo (98.1), Aaron Rodgers (96.6) Griffin (93.8), Brady (90) and Jay Cutler (90.3).
But Tannehill’s rating isn’t much lower than Luck’s (80.1) or Stafford’s (79.4).
### As for this season only, Tannehill has thrown the NFL’s sixth-most interceptions and lost five fumbles (tied for the most) and his 81.2 rating is 22nd.
So how does he project long-term?
“I don’t envision a lot of Pro Bowls, but that could change,” CBS analyst and former NFL MVP Rich Gannon said. “If they have some patience with him, he can develop into a pretty solid player. There are a couple decisions each week where you wonder where that came from. He has to throw the deep ball better. I see enough talent in his arm and feet.”
But Gannon and others say it’s difficult to make a fair assessment because the Dolphins have allowed the most sacks in the league. “The kid is not able to set his feet. He’s getting hit all the time. People don’t realize the significance of that,” Gannon said.
Might Tannehill become skittish and scarred psychologically by the constant pass rush, which seemed to happen to former Texans quarterback David Carr?
“I haven’t seen any signs of that,” Gannon said. “With David Carr, you could see it with his feet and posture in the pocket. I see Tannehill stepping up into throws, a kid that seems very confident.”
Other views of Tannehill:
### CBS’ Phil Simms: “He needs to take advantage of his athletic ability more. Be more instinctive. If you feel there’s a little pressure, run. If he ran more, it would change what the defense does. [But] you are not going to draft a quarterback next year. I’d like to see more screens with Mike Wallace. If he’s catching less than three screens per game, that’s not enough.”
### ESPN’s Jon Gruden: “He’s missing throws. Decision-making hasn’t always been good. He’s very good on the move. I’d like to see him use his legs more.”
### Former Redskins and Texans general manager Charley Casserly: “I can’t put this guy in an elite quarterback class. But he can be pretty good. I’ve seen improvement. I like arm strength. His decision making is improving. He’s had a tough go with the offensive line. He’s good enough to win with.”
### NFL Network’s Joe Theismann: “How do you judge skill positions when there’s no time to run or no time to throw? But I really think he has a chance to do some special things, because he has all the tools.
“The question is: Is there enough around him to have him have that chance? The guy for him to study would be Brees, because Brees doesn’t hold onto the ball. But Miami has their quarterback of the future. He will be $60 million, $70 million guy when his first contract runs out.”
### Fox’s Brian Billick lumps him in the group with Jake Locker and Christian Ponder and said it’s too soon to tell what the Dolphins have exactly.
### Fox Sports 1’s Donovan McNabb told WQAM's Adam Kuperstein and Curtis Stevenson: “His ceiling is high. Top 10 to 12? Don’t know that he can become that now. You have to look at the weapons around him. Wallace is not really a No. 1 receiver.”
### You might think that after the Richie Incognito fiasco, Joe Philbin might advise his players not to use the N-word or might tell them to hold off on making rookies pay for $30,000 dinners or might tell them not to speak to teammates the way Incognito did in that notorious voice mail for Jonathan Martin.
But several Dolphins players say Philbin has said nothing of the kind and hasn’t discussed the matter beyond lifting the players’ initial gag order to discuss it with reporters.
### By the way, Martin --- who continues to be paid by the Dolphins --- is out and about; he was photographed smiling while on the Stanford sideline for Saturday night's USC game. "Big fella needs to go back to work someplace," ABC's Brent Musburger said.
### Some people had an easier time saying no to Incognito than others. Incognito said he told Tannehill to buy the offensive linemen jet skis, but Tannehill said he refused. But he did buy them I-pads after last season.
### Incredibly, Dolphins backs were hit behind the line on 12 of 14 carries Monday, and Gannon said Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas cannot be fairly judged until “you put them behind a good offensive line that can get movement at the point of attack. John Jerry was beaten off the ball most every play. Go look at how Adrian Peterson did against the Giants, when he was being hit in the backfield [13 yards, 28 carries].”
The Dolphins likely will enter the offseason needing four new offensive line starters.
### Greg Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., said Oden appearing in a Heat game is “probably a ways away. The main goal is to have him ready for the second half of the season and the playoffs.”
When he plays, Conley said, will be a “combination of a gut feeling from Erik Spoelstra and the trainers. Conditioning is big part of it. He’s very antsy to play” but he understands Spoelstra being cautious.
### It could be a few weeks before the State Attorney’s office decides whether to file charges against FSU quarterback Jameis Winston, the focus of an alleged sexual assault in December 2012. But privately, FSU officials with knowledge of the case would be surprised if Winston is charged. Winston hasn’t spoken to police. FSU never considered suspending him because he hasn't been charged.
### The Marlins have expressed interest in Dodgers free agent third baseman Juan Uribe, 34, who hit .278 with 12 homers and 50 RBI in 132 games. A trade for a third baseman is also being considered.
### Late tonight, the ACC announced times and TV information for UM's final two regular season games: Saturday vs. Virginia at noon (ESPNU) and Friday, Nov. 29 at Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m., ABC, full national). Please see the last post for thoughts and reaction from UM's loss to Duke.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz