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Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill already knows roughly 85% of playbook

Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill already knows roughly 85% of playbook

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com
Tannehill's off to a fast start in Miami. (Getty Images)
The Dolphins opened rookie minicamp Friday and it provided the first glimpse of the team's first-round pick, quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former Texas A&M star was selected eighth overall last Thursday, and Miami general manager Jeff Ireland went so far as to say he "didn't see a huge separation" between the top two picks, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and Tannehill, even though the latter had just 19 career starts.

But there will be plenty of time for exhaustive evaluations. For now, the Dolphins and their fans have hope. And though it was just one practice, Tannehill didn't disappoint. He showed a strong, accurate arm, and any preconceived notions about him spending his rookie season on the bench learning the nuances of what it means to be an NFL quarterback should be reconsidered for two reasons.

First, there are Ireland's comments on whether Tannehill could start in 2012: “I'm going to let the coaches decide on when he's going to be ready to compete. … I think he's going to have a pretty good idea of what the offense is going to look like. He's going to have a leg up in that regard. You know, whether he's ready to be the starter, that's the coach's decision.”

Second, Tannehill figures he already knows roughly 85 percent of the offense because the Dolphins' offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, was also Tannehill's head coach at Texas A&M.

"I would probably say 65 to 70 is the exact same, pretty much, and the other 15 that I'm familiar with is pretty much just changing of a few words," Tannehill said Friday afternoon according to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post. "But it's basically the exact same thing. … Being in the offense for four years back at A&M, it's not my first go-around. So I'm trying to help these guys learn as much as I can. Just help speed their learning curve up."

We have to temper any enthusiasm by remembering that we're just one day into rookie minicamp. There are still OTAs, training camp and preseason games to navigate before we have any idea as to what we can expect from Tannehilll in Year 1. And while he might be intimately familiar with the playbook, he has yet to face an NFL defense.

“Yeah, I think it's going to take some reps," he told WQAM radio (via SportsRadioInterviews.com). "Whether it's in the classroom, watching it on film or out on the practice field, I'm going to have to see those things a few times. I'm excited to learn from the guys that have been there. I feel they have a lot of experience that I can learn from.”

Still, only Matt Moore and David Garrard are in front of him on the depth chart. And even though Moore played well during the second half of the 2011 season, the team obviously doesn't consider him a long-term solution. Now the only question is when Tannehill will convince the coaches that he's ready.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Ryan Wilson on Twitter here: @ryanwilson_07.
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