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Game day: Ryan Tannehill's time

With one notable exception, everyone seems to know the NFL is a quarterback league. (I'll get to the exception in a minute). And so today's game between the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins should favor the Dolphins, because, Miami's quarterback is simply better than New York's.

Jets starter Geno Smith has promise. Has a good arm. Has the desire.

But he's a rookie. He has much to learn. And he's prone to mistakes. Very.

He leads the NFL with 22 turnovers.

The Dolphins?

Ryan Tannehill has shown in improvement this season over his rookie campaign. It's not as much as OC Mike Sherman promised -- remember, he said Tannehill would be the NFL's most improved QB.

But 2013 Tannehill is slightly better than 2012 Tannehill.

And, as I write in my column in today's Miami Herald, at this late stage of the season, Tannehill is poised for a big finish to the year. I cite multiple reasons why I think Tannehill can turn his play up several degrees and actually tow the Dolphins into the playoffs.

I think he can do it. He thinks he can do it.

My problem is the Dolphins aren't necessarily asking that much of him. Indeed the Dolphins, under head coach Joe Philbin, deny the undeniable by saying a hot quarterback cannot carry a team. Philbin goes so far as to deny Aaron Rodgers carried the Packers during the Super Bowl run that he himself witnessed first hand.

My problem with that is if the coach, and by extension the coaching staff, is not asking great things out of Tannehill or other players because they are of the mind that players are just interchangeable parts -- all equally important and none more valuable than any others -- then they are less likely to get great performances from their players.

I hope Tannehill overcomes this thinking.

I think he can.