My column today calls out the entire Miami Dolphins offense because eight first downs is not good enough in the NFL. One touchdown in a game is not good enough. It simply must get better.
But since Dolphins fans don't care that the scheme is no longer an oddity and so defenses have caught up, they want to place blame elsewhere. Since Dolphins fans don't care that practically everyone on the Miami offense has failed to improve this season, they want to ask solely about the lack of improvement of one player.
Since Dolphins fans have seen coach after coach after coach fired this season, they figure everything has been fixed within the walls of the Dolphins headquarters and so everything that goes wrong falls on the shoulders of one guy:
Look, I Tannehill needs to improve. Everyone knows it.
But some of the opinions out there are nutty.
Some of the hot takes are more grounded in unicorn thoughts than reality.
For example, I sat in the press box Sunday and had a mostly thoughtful discussion with a colleague who said the Dolphins must sit Tannehill and play Matt Moore, who is better. And after I put my brain back together following its explosion I presented some reasons that is not true and should not happen.
Firstly, Matt Moore is good in small doses. He's a good NFL backup quarterback. But he's been a free agent a couple of times since 2012 and I don't recall any team thinking highly enough of him to offer him a starting job. This while players like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh McCown, Tyrod Taylor and Blaine Gabbert have been plucked out of the quarterback abyss and become NFL starters.
So that tells me NFL teams don't think highly enough of Matt Moore to trust him with the reins of their offense over an extended time period. But this writer and some of you fans want to do exactly that.
I also point you to the 2011 Dolphins statistics. Matt Moore started 12 games that year. And he fumbled 14 times (losing six) and threw nine interceptions to go with his 16 touchdown passes.
Tannehill has started 12 games for the Dolphins this year. He has lost three fumbles and thrown 11 interceptions to go with his 21 touchdown passes.
So tell me, is 16 touchdowns and 15 turnovers (Moore) better than 21 touchdowns and 14 turnovers?
This is not to criticize Matt Moore. The point I'm making here is Ryan Tannehill is starting and Matt Moore is a backup at this stage for a reason. Changing that is not going to fix anything for the 2015 Miami Dolphins.
Going forward ... The Dolphins are being encouraged by a vocal group of fans to change quarterbacks. They're being encouraged to dump Tannehill.
And I would say to you, that is probably not smart.
One, cutting him after this season would be salary cap prohibitive.
Trading him would also be difficult because his contract makes it so and I'm not sure any team would give a first-round pick for him. If a team would give a first-round pick for him, and the Dolphins could then turn around and use their two first rounders to get in the first couple of draft slots, that should require consideration. Regardless, that move is a gamble.
I know this, if Ryan Tannehill is on the open market as a free agent requiring draft no draft compensation, he's getting paid because he would have a handful of teams chasing him. And what does that tell you? Again, that people whose life work is to know talent, would highly value Tannehill.
So why doesn't all of "Dolphins nation" value him?
Well, there's the constant mediocrity.
The writer told me Tannehill cannot even get the Dolphins to 8-8. I reminded him he's done that twice.
There's the perceived lack of improvement.
I see improvement. He's better than he was in 2012. He's better than he was in 2013. In some regards -- such as deep-ball accuracy -- he's better than he was in '14. Has there been regression in other departments, such as output, production? Yes.
But to say he's totally regressed is not factually correct.
There's also this crazy narrative that all Tannehill does is get coaches fired. Really?
So Tannehill got Mike Sherman fired? It had nothing to do with Go-, Go-Go, and lining up receivers in the same spot play after play, and a franchise record number of sacks, and no running game?
So Tannehill got Joe Philbin fired? It had nothing to do with picking up paper wads on the practice field, and lack of motivational abilities, and slow starts on offense and defense, and showing no leadership?
So what is my point?
The debate that rages now is moot. A lot of the hollerin' is just loud spewing of incorrect "facts."
Ryan Tannehill is still better than any current other option.
He's the quarterback, folks.
Does he need to improve? Yes. I've said that. He's said that. But I like the idea of hiring a veteran head coach who has had proven NFL success in the past as the new head coach and having him hire a good staff, including an accomplished offensive coordinator. I like the idea of putting Tannehill in that environment and seeing what germinates.
That option is better than benching him. It is better than cutting him. It is better than wishing on a star and hoping Paxton Lynch (search this blog) will land in Miami's lap.
It is also realistic. Some of that other stuff? Fantasy.