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Shutdown Corner

Ryan Tannehill is not well-versed in NFL division and conference alignment

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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When Miami Dolphins fans first looked at the team's schedule for 2012, they probably made note of certain games -‒ division rivals, measuring stick games, etc.

When Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill first looked at the schedule, he might've thought to himself, "You know, I bet some of these games are going to be important. I hope someone tells me which ones."

Tuesday night on HBO's "Hard Knocks," Tannehill was outed as a guy who has almost no knowledge of the NFL's divisions and conferences. Via Bleacher Report, here's how he explained:

"I wasn't a huge pro fan growing up; I wasn't loyal to any one team," said Tannehill, "so I don't really know the divisions, and even really conferences. I know most of the conferences but some of those, I really have no clue. And they don't make sense. You have the AFC East, and we're freaking in the bottom of the map, and the directions don't make any sense where the teams actually are."

Backup quarterback Matt Moore then quizzed him on a few teams. Tannehill had the Chiefs in the NFC East and the Giants in the NFC North. And then Moore laughed and said, "How do you not know this?"

But when you get right down to it, even though it's something many fans have known seemingly since birth, it's not essential information to an NFL quarterback. When it's time to focus on a particular team, the Dolphins staff will give him the game tape. He'll notice the atmosphere change around the time for a big game.

And if he gives every game as much focus and effort as he possibly can, why would he need to know if his opponent is in his division or in the NFC South?

The biggest impact I see this having is as ammunition for fans and analysts who grow impatient with Tannehill. If things go bad, it could be turned into something that's used against him. "This guy doesn't care! He doesn't even know what division we're in!" If things get to that point, Tannehill will have much bigger things to think about.

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