« Injury update: Dolphins back on the practice field today | Main | Cortland Finnegan looking good for Ravens [Updated] »

Ryan Tannehill and Joe Flacco about the same QB

I've said this to my friends privately for two years and I'm going to share it with you now: I do not believe Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill will ever be a Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers or the second coming of Dan Marino. I also don't believe he'll be on the same level with Andrew Luck.

Those guys were, are, or will be elite.

But Joe Flacco?

Yes, Ryan Tannehill can be someday and perhaps already is Joe Flacco.

Now, before the Tannehill man-crush gang loses its collective mind, you should understand what this means. This means good things for Tannehill. It means Tannehill will occasionally reach levels of outstanding play. It means Tannehill may become a candidate for the Hall of Good but probably never the Hall of Fame. It means Ryan Tannehill can be good enough to win a Super Bowl.

In other words, in my opinion, Tannehill can do just about anything Flacco can do or has done. Because, as you must know, Flacco has indeed been good enough to win a Super Bowl, can indeed be great in spurts, and, after those spurts of greatness, often reverts to a lesser level.

Ryan Tannehill more or less equals Joe Flacco.

So why am I telling you this now? Because the Dolphins and the Ravens will gather at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday and basically go at each other for a chance to remain in the AFC playoff picture. As it looks now, the loser of that game will likely not make the playoffs. Players are aware of this likelihood:

“It’s tough not to look at it that way," Flacco said Wednesday.

And in that game that for all practical purposes is a playoff elimination bowl, the Dolphins will match Ryan Tannehill against Baltimore's Joe Flacco.

Two like quarterbacks.

Tannehill comes to this game with 20 touchdown passes, and nine interceptions.

Flacco comes to this game with 20 touchdown passes, and eight interceptions.

Tannehill has thrown for 2,817 yards.

Flacco has thrown for 2,989 yards.

Tannehill has completed 282 of 404 passes for a 66.5 completion rate.

Flacco has completed 256 of 406 passes for a 63.1 completion rate.

Tannehill's quarterback rating is 92.1.

Flacco's quarterback rating is 93.5

Flacco is the better deep passer. He is way more accurate in that regard. Tannehill is the better athlete. He can make plays with his feet that Flacco simply does not do.

The statistics are astoundingly similar. Both have gifts. Both have holes in their game. Both men have very strong arms, as the football simply explodes off their hands.

And this surprises me in no way whatsoever because, as you've just read, I believe Tannehill and Flacco will ultimately be considered in the same group of quarterbacks a tier or two below elite level.

Tier 1: Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Peyton.

Tier 2: Luck (he'll eventually move up), Roethlisberger, Rivers, Romo.

Tier 3: Flacco, Ryan, Stafford, Wilson, Palmer, and eventually Tannehill.

I will say to you the fact Tannehill and Flacco currently have about the same statistics suggests Tannehill actually has a higher ceiling than Flacco because we are comparing a quarterback in his third year to one in his seventh.

But an apples to apple comparison suggests Tannehill is similar to Flacco now and similar to what Flacco was early on in his career:

Joe Flacco through his first 44 games: 820 of 1325 (61.8 completion percent), for 9,572 yards, with 54 touchdowns, 32 interceptions. His QB rating at that point was 87.2.

Ryan Tannehill through his first 44 games: 919 of 1496 (61.4 completion percent), for 10,024 yards, with 56 touchdowns and 39 interceptions. His QB rating at this point is 82.8.

These numbers tell me Tannehill is on a similar arc early in his career to what Flacco was in his. Hmmm ... If Tannehill continues this trend, he'll more or less be Joe Flacco.