Tannehill Returns to Texas

In week 1 of the 2012 NFL season, rookie signal caller Ryan Tannehill finds himself in the driver’s seat of a franchise that is desperate for success. This marks the first time in Miami Dolphins history that a rookie Quarterback will start the season opener. Neither Hall of Famers Bob Griese nor Dan Marino achieved this milestone. Insignificant historical facts aside, it appears Tannehill will be in for quite a long day. For his sake, he better hope for some miracle inducing home-cooking and divine intervention.

When the Dolphins take their talents to Houston to play the Texans on Sunday at Reliant Stadium, they will be playing approximately eight hours from Tannehill’s hometown of Big Spring. About 517 miles is as close to home as the rookie will get as the Texans have no plans for a welcoming party. In 2011 Houston had a very stout and very aggressive defense. They ranked 3rd in the league in pass yards allowed and 4th in rush yards allowed. In addition to having a plethora of talented guys on the defensive side of the ball, Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips cooks up exotic blitz schemes that will be sure to keep the Dolphins’ rookie on his toes. The Texans are well-known for their constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This would behoove Miami’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Sherman to put his young Quarterback in situations where he gets the ball out of his hands quickly. Expect to see a lot of 3-step drops and short throws from Miami on Sunday. As far as the Texans offense goes, it’s just as good if not better than the defense. They ranked 2nd in the league in rushing last season and have the luxury of a man named Arian Foster at their disposal. Foster is widely considered the best running back in the NFL. Houston also has a top wide out in Miami native Andre Johnson. They can beat you on the ground and through the air. Houston is one of the most complete teams in the league at this point.

During preseason play the Dolphins were difficult to watch. They looked lost on defense and just plain bad on offense. Miami went 0-4 in preseason play and only scored four touchdowns. Only one of the four touchdowns can be accredited to Quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill went 41-78 for 414 yards with the lone touchdown and an interception. The stat line isn’t impressive but Tannehill wasn’t too shabby. Had he been helped by his teammates, the numbers would’ve been better. The rookie was plagued by mediocre Receiver and Tight End play. But that is the reality that is this Dolphins team and sadly to say is something Ryan needs to get used to. The Dolphins have one of the least talented teams in the league and that’s the way it will stay during Tannehill’s rookie campaign. For he and the Dolphins to be successful in Houston they will have to play smart and get lucky. They cannot afford to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties and turnovers. In terms of Ryan’s success, he must get rid of the ball quickly and take what the defense gives him, even if that means constantly checking the ball down to Running Back Reggie Bush. Patience must be one of his virtues on Sunday.

Coming into this game the Dolphins have never beaten the Texans. Since entering the league as an expansion team in 2002, Houston has beaten Miami six straight times. There is nothing that would indicate a change in this trend. Expect Houston to extend the streak to seven. However, it is the NFL where anything is possible on any given Sunday.

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