Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who will be turning 28 in July, is set to enter his fifth season in the National Football League this year.
While his numbers improved in each of his first three seasons, including back-to-back 8-8 seasons in 2013 and ’14, the Phins expected Tannehill to explode in 2015 and carry Miami to the postseason in the AFC East. Though he set a career-high with 4,208 yards through the air and tossed for 24+ touchdowns for the third straight season, Miami had regressed to 6-10 by season’s end.
Though Miami’s porous front line (Tannehill has been sacked 45+ times in each of the last three seasons) and middle-of-the-pack defense could take plenty of blame, I think 2016 will be seen as a playoffs-or-bust season in the Tannehill era. His leadership has already been questioned in the past, and now he’ll get a more experienced Jarvis Landry (3rd season) and DeVante Parker (2nd season). If there was ever a year for Ryan to carry Miami to the postseason, 2016 would be it.
The free agent acquisition of Broncos’ RB C.J. Anderson and the selection of first-round pick Laremy Tunsil (OT) will greatly improve an offensive attack that put up nearly 20 points per game a season ago. Protecting Tannehill will be key, and could allow him to put up 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air. But I think the efficiency of the ground game (Anderson/Jay Ajayi/Isaiah Pead) is what will make-or-break Miami’s offensive success in ’16.
Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images