DAVIE, Fla. — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is already growing tired of questions about his left knee. He was asked throughout spring practices and minicamp and couldn’t avoid the same questions during the first week of training camp.
“The knee is really good. It feels really good,” Tannehill said with a grin. “I haven’t had any changes since the spring. I was a full participant in the spring and still going really well.
Ryan Tannehill has no concerns about his knee and is instead focused on the bigger picture for the Dolphins.
“Now we don’t have to address that anymore, right? [Laughter.] We’re good?”
Tannehill suffered a sprained ACL and MCL and missed the final four games of last season, which included Miami’s playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many were surprised his knee didn’t require surgery. But the Dolphins and Tannehill, who is arguably one of the toughest players on the team, decided rehabbing the knee and wearing a brace was best.
Now, all eyes are on Tannehill to see if anything will change with his mobility and playing style. So far, he hasn’t missed any practice time, and it doesn’t look like last season’s knee injury will have a negative impact going forward.
Tannehill has perhaps the most complete supporting cast of his pro career. Miami has a Pro Bowl receiver in Jarvis Landry, a speedy deep threat in Kenny Stills, a talented former first-round pick in DeVante Parker, a red zone weapon in tight end Julius Thomas and a balanced running game led by Pro Bowl tailback Jay Ajayi.
The Dolphins are building an offense that’s flexible, depending on the opponent and Tannehill’s ability to be consistent in the passing game.
“You look at our toolbox, I think we’re pretty stacked,” Ajayi said of Miami’s offense. “Now we know what the weapons are. We all have to contribute. We have to play even more than what’s expected of us, and we’re excited to go do that.”
The flip side to having a plethora of weapons is Tannehill must also keep his skill players happy. Landry set an NFL record for most receptions (288) made during a player’s first three seasons and he demands plenty of targets. Parker is a budding talent and needs the ball more. The Dolphins acquired Thomas for a reason, and head coach Adam Gase said he’s not afraid to give Ajayi 300 carries this season if that’s what the defense dictates.
“It all evens out at the end if you do it right,” Gase said. “I’ve seen it before. I’ve experienced this before, especially in 2013 and 2014 [in Denver]. I mean, there were a lot of guys you had to get the ball, and everybody just kind of did what they were supposed to do and it works out right in the end.”
Last year Tannehill posted a career-high 93.5 passer rating and went 8-5 before the injury. A similar rating or better would go a long way to helping Miami make the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, which would be a productive next step for both Tannehill and the Dolphins.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to me on individual stats,” Tannehill said. “I want to win games, put us in the playoffs and win the division, be in the Super Bowl. That’s our goal. That’s what we set out each and every year to do is to win games, make the playoffs first, win the division and be in the Super Bowl.
“It’s tough to say what exactly is success. But for me, that’s my goal right now is to put this team in position to win and win a lot of games and compete for a championship.”