DAVIE — It feels like the Dolphins’ upcoming season hinges almost entirely on how well Ryan Tannehill comes back from a major knee injury, and new offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains feels good about making that bet.
Adam Gase hired Loggains in January, and he’s s already 100 percent sold on Tannehill — “Absolutely, absolutely. I’m really fired up to work with him,” he said today — based on what he’s seen in throwing sessions and old film. He’s been watching a lot of Tannehill’s 2016 games, the last ones he’s played, as well as tape from last spring’s Organized Team Activities.
“You just see the growth in the offense from Year 1 to Year 2, especially in OTAs and training camp, before he got hurt,” Loggains said. “Just his command at the line of scrimmage and his ability to fulfill Adam’s vision with the offense and getting in and out of good and bad plays.
“You start taking command because you have confidence. The first year, you’re learning the system. The second year you’re going in and you’re making the ‘Mike’ points and you’re controlling the line of scrimmage and checking and signaling and doing all of those things.”
Loggains also noticed quickly how much the offense lost in 2017, when Tannehill was out and the Dolphins relied on Jay Cutler, Matt Moore and David Fales. He said the impact was obvious.
Gase has been high on Tannehill since Day 1, and a small sample of games from 2016 suggests he has good cause to be optimistic.
Over Tannehill’s first four seasons, he completed 61.9 percent of his passes, averaged 241.6 yards per game and had 87 touchdowns against 54 interceptions for a passer rating of 85.2.
His first year with Gase got off to a rough start, but by midseason he was clicking. Tannehill played the best football of his career over his last eight games that year, completing 69.1 percent of his attempts and posting a 100.1 passer rating. “He had such a good year,” Loggains said after reviewing the tape. If he can play like that for a full season, it’ll make the Dolphins a playoff contender.
Loggains thinks it’s possible for Tannehill to make that kind of jump, and the continuity in coaching should help, even with the change from Clyde Christensen at offensive coordinator. Christensen didn’t work with quarterbacks, and Gase has been the play-caller his entire time as head coach. He and Loggains have described themselves as identical in terms of philosophy, so Loggains doesn’t represent much of a change.
Since being drafted No. 8 overall in 2012, Tannehill has played for Joe Philbin, Dan Campbell and Gase as head coaches. He’s also had Mike Sherman, Bill Lazor, Zac Taylor, Christensen and Loggains for offensive coordinators.
The fact that Tannehill has worked through all the turnover and played decently, as well as his overall personality and work ethic, won Loggains over quickly.
“He’s a really intelligent guy,” Loggains said. “He works his tail off. The one thing that I didn’t know about Ryan until I got here is how much he loves football. He throws the ball really well. I was excited to see that. You see the tape and you’re like, ‘Hey, this guy can sling it around a little bit.’ He’s done a really good job of overcoming that stuff.”
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