With the start of the 2012 NFL season just a couple of weeks away, the question all Miami Dolphins fans, including me, have been asking has been answered. Call it a twist of fate or just destiny, but however it gets explained, rookie Ryan Tannehill will be the starter for the Fins in week one when the team takes on the Houston Texans September 9. So, the Tannehill era has begun in Miami, but will he live up to the hefty expectations that have already been placed on him?
Just a few weeks ago, David Garrard was the odds-on favorite to win the starting quarterback job, but then he got hurt just before the first preseason game of the Dolphins. Even before that though, the Ryan Tannehill and Dan Marino comparisons began. This was of course to be expected as the Fins had not taken a quarterback in the first round since they did so with Dan Marino way back in 1983. Add to that the fact that the Dolphins brass, and the fans alike, have been waiting for the next coming of Dan Marino since he retired after the end of the 1999 season.
But, is this going to be something that Ryan Tannehill can live up to? In order to do so, he'll have to become one of the best quarterbacks that the game has ever seen. Of course, time will tell, but he will get an instant opportunity once the 2012 season begins and he finds himself at the helm.
Looking at Recent Picks
When it comes to starting quarterbacks I can quickly think of a few choice names that came into the NFL, started right away and then promptly fizzled out. However, lately there's been a rash of young first year quarterbacks that have started in their first season and made some big noise.
Take last season, for example, when rookie quarterback Cam Newton came onto the scene and made huge impacts from the first game. Now add Newton to this year's crop of first round quarterback draft picks, namely Andrew Luck at number one and Robert Griffin III at number two, who will start on week one as well, and it all points to more teams opting for the youth movement now.
Good or Bad?
Being a huge Dolphins fan I have some very mixed emotions about the decision to have Tannehill start right away. In many ways I think it would be best for him to learn by observation for one season and then get broken in to the league slowly. However, the other side of me wants to see if Tannehill can live up to the hype and truly become the first superstar quarterback in Miami since Dan Marino. Besides, by playing in actual NFL games he will be gaining a ton of experience and a ton of knowledge really fast.
Now, whether or not Tannehill handles all that experience, and pressure, in a positive or negative way is yet to be determined, but all Dolfans' questions will be answered soon enough. Is Ryan Tannehill the next Dan Marino? Maybe not, but I'll settle for the next solid quarterback that takes the Miami Dolphins back to the NFL playoffs and maybe even back to the Super Bowl.
Jimmy Collins has been a loyal "Dolfan" and fan of the NFL since he was six years old when he met Dan Marino and several other Miami Dolphins players. Still a resident of South Florida, he attends numerous Miami Dolphins games each season and enjoys writing about the NFL and the Miami Dolphins in particular.
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