After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Miami Dolphins appear poised to take the next step. They appear poised to challenge the New England Patriots in the AFC East.
Think about it. The Dolphins have their quarterback (Ryan Tannehill), they made a big splash in free agency (Ndamukong Suh) and they took one of the most explosive players in the draft (DeVante Parker).
Things are looking up.
“It starts with (owner) Steve Ross,” Dolphins Executive VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “That’s why I’m here. I just believe in his vision, his passion. It’s a great time to be a Miami Dolphin. We’re in the middle of a tremendous stadium renovation, which will give us basically a brand-new stadium in a year. We’ve invested a ton into sports science. You’re only as good as your body feels, and we believe between the weather, practicing and playing on natural grass, what we can do for our players – our players are going to have an experience that’s second to none in the league. The development of Ryan Tannehill, I think it’s really an exciting time for us.”
Tannehill, 26, has thrown for 7,958 yards and 51 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He’s also never missed a game in three years in the league.
“Let’s face it: In a major media market, it’s just hard to develop a quarterback nowadays,” Tannenbaum said. “There’s no NFL Europe, the offseason program isn’t as long as it used to be, it’s just hard to get young quarterbacks reps. I think the credit goes to Ryan and to Coach (Joe) Philbin and Bill Lazor, our offensive coordinator, in terms of they’ve maximized all his experience. (Tannehill) has a tremendous work ethic, he has incredible toughness, and he’s answered the bell. He makes plays with his feet. There’s a lot of things about Ryan’s game that we like and we think he’s going to continue to ascend.”
The same can be said for Suh, who signed a six-year, $114-million deal with the Dolphins in March. He is now the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL.
“I think Ndamukong is one of those people – he truly has greatness, which means he has attributes we can’t see,” Tannenbaum said. “I think he’s going to impact a lot of our young players – people like Olivier Vernon or Jordan Phillips, our second round pick, the Koa Misis of the world. We thought there were a lot of good pieces here. We just felt like it was a great opportunity for us. Obviously it took a significant amount of resources, but we think he’s going to impact us not only on the field, but off the field as well.”
And then there’s Parker, the 6-3, 209-pound phenom out of Louisville. The Dolphins weren’t convinced Parker would fall to them in the draft, but when he did, they were ecstatic.
“We were extremely happy he was there at 14,” Tannenbaum said. “With DeVante, we think his best games are ahead of him. He did some really good things at Louisville. He has a naturally big catching radius, really good play speed – it’s been fun to watch. But let’s face it. It’s only May. We got a long way to go.”