What a glorious god dang time to be a fan of football. We are in the Golden Era of Quarterbacking -- a large group of talented, veteran signal callers are mixing with a fantastic crop of young passers to give very few teams an actual, current need at quarterback. Even some guys we wrote off are starting to prove us wrong, like Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The subject of many jokes (he once threw a bottom-five pass ever and also turned into an actual dolphin), Tannehill was a major concern this offseason for Miami, coming off a botched ACL situation and missing the entire 2017 season. The Dolphins were holding a high draft pick in a draft deep with quarterbacks and declined to pick up a future franchise signal caller for Adam Gase. There were rumors about their affinity for both Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen; neither actually made it to them at No. 11 because teams traded up, but the belief was Miami would be involved in some kind of move to get a quarterback.
As it turns out, Gase and GM Mike Tannenbaum had faith in Tannehill returning from injury and playing well. And Tannehill has rewarded that faith nicely.
Through three games, Tannehill is completing 73 percent of his passes, is averaging 9.3 yards per passing attempt, has thrown seven touchdowns and just two interceptions and has the Dolphins sitting atop the AFC East at an undefeated 3-0 heading into this week's matchup against the Patriots. A Miami win and a big game from Tannehill and this rocket ship will take off -- the Fins would be three games up on the Patriots four weeks into the season. Sound the alarms and ready the hot take cannon.
What's really interesting is that Tannehill has now started a full 16 games under Gase's tutelage. He played 13 games in 2016 before suffering his knee injury and three this year. His total stat line for a full "season" is impressive.
Ryan Tannehill 2016/18 combo
Please do not @ me about the record: quarterback wins are a statistic far too often referenced and supremely overrated because football is a team game, but if the Dolphins could win 11 games in a season they would build a statue for the quarterback who captained it. If anything the record is more about Tannehill being a quality fit within the context of Gase's offensive system, and a guy who can manage to not lose games while also growing in the system as he goes.
He's gotten better at throwing the deep ball this year, as shown by this strike to Kenny Stills in Miami's win over the Raiders on Sunday.
Great deep ball by Ryan Tannehill and great work getting open by Kenny Stills.— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) September 24, 2018
But, uh, someone is definitely going to break a leg/tear an ACL because of how close the stands are to the end zone here at some point. pic.twitter.com/36zOV8SC9K
Watching Tannehill play, you can see an obvious increased comfort level in Gase's offense -- Brady Quinn posited on Tuesday's Pick Six Podcast the time off might have helped him learn to improve his mental approach, check that episode out here, it's daily! -- and we might be seeing a post-injury, post-hype breakthrough for the former first-round pick.
He's not going to win any MVP awards for the above stats if he puts them up over the course of a full season, but those numbers would have made Tannehill a top 12 quarterback last year, and that's exactly where he's slotted in this week's quarterback power rankings.
Also to shock your face, I'm putting Patrick Mahomes No. 1 while I can. Three weeks, 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. It won't last forever. Let me have this.
Yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson with your complaints, questions and (unlikely) compliments and make sure to check out my DAILY NFL PODCAST, the Pick Six Podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes here.
To the rankings:
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs QB
|Shattering every expectation imaginable, Mahomes has moved into the pole position for the 2018 NFL MVP. It's very early, but still.|
Drew Brees New Orleans Saints QB
|I DEEPLY REGRET MOVING BREES DOWN. We don't appreciate Drew Brees enough. If the Saints defense isn't good this year -- and it might not be? -- Brees is going to put up huge numbers again.|
Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers QB
|Rivers keeps losing mainly because the kicker and the coach don't execute perfectly. Or because the Rams are great. The Chargers should have covered at least.|
Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers QB
|Big Ben is going to put up massive numbers this season with the Steelers defense hemorrhaging yards. He could win the MVP if the Steelers end up being a playoff team.|
Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers QB
|Color me concerned about the health of his leg at this point, although Washington's defense is good.|
Tom Brady New England Patriots QB
|It's not his FAULT, per se, but that was a horrendous performance against the Lions.|
Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons QB
|Also going to throw a TON because of the defensive injuries, and starting to find his groove in the second year under Sark.|
This feels sacrilegious but it's important to note that right now we have a LOT of good quarterback play in the NFL and that this is not me saying "Patrick Mahomes is better than Tom Brady, et al." This is simply a snapshot after Week 3 of the NFL season. You have to put Mahomes up high, because he's been that good. You have to put Brees above the other guys because of what he just did against Atlanta.
Cam Newton Carolina Panthers QB
|A lot of what he's doing is running, but that's part of Cam's deal. Norv Turner is doing a nice job putting Cam in good position with short throws.|
Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams QB
|The Rams might be the best team in football and they happen to have a young quarterback who was a former No. 1 overall pick blossoming in his third year.|
Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions QB
|That Week 1 game is starting to get in the rearview nicely.|
Alex Smith Washington Redskins QB
|Just churning out quality starts for the Redskins and putting Washington in a position to win every week.|
Ryan Tannehill Miami Dolphins QB
|Telling you, this guy is starting to find his groove|
Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks QB
|Stats weren't huge but the Seahawks had a dominant effort at home against the Cowboys on Sunday and Wilson kept finding Tyler Lockett.|
Joe Flacco Baltimore Ravens QB
|Don't @ me.|
I don't even know what the hell is going on with this group. If you want to get mad that Cam isn't in the top group that's fine. And if you want to be mad that Russell Wilson isn't higher that's fine too. Get angry at me that Joe Flacco is a top-tier quarterback. I'M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT EITHER. It's a mess up top and it's only going to get messier this week.
Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts QB
|Jacoby Brissett coming in to throw a Hail Mary is a red flag.|
Deshaun Watson Houston Texans QB
|Bad 0-3 start for the Texans but Watson is starting to put together some decent efforts from a statistical standpoint. It's hard to be ready after an ACL.|
Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles QB
|First game back and it wasn't terrible but it's clear he's leaning on his TE.|
The good news for these guys is that they're going to be great players again and probably soon but they're pretty far down because of injuries and there are tons of good players above them.
Ryan Fitzpatrick Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB
|FitzMagic nearly died on the operating table but it surged back to life in the second half. We have at least one more week left.|
Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings QB
|A lot of quarterbacks struggle when you pressure them, but Cousins is really bad about it. And the Vikings offensive line is not great.|
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals QB
|Slaughter the Ravens in prime time in Week 2, rest for 10 days and then throw four picks against the Panthers at 1 p.m. ET.|
Blake Bortles Jacksonville Jaguars QB
|Maybe I shouldn't have had him higher... Week to week proposition for Blake.|
Case Keenum Denver Broncos QB
|Not entirely sure the Broncos are a very good football team and Keenum vacillates pretty wildly.|
Cousins might not deserve to be here, but he laid a major egg as a 17.5-point favorite against the Bills. How can you trust the Vikings at this point? These guys will burn you on a moment's notice.
Mitchell Trubisky Chicago Bears QB
|I mean, the Bears are winning and winning with defensive TDs, but Trubisky hasn't been great.|
Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys QB
|Cowboys fans are holding a paper bag and starting to breathe fairly heavily.|
Derek Carr Oakland Raiders QB
|Carr has a very confusing statline for the season so far.|
Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans QB
|Still can't feel his fingers apparently. That is a concern. The Titans keep finding ways to win.|
There were a lot of questions about these guys coming into the season and I'm not entirely sure they have answered a single one of those questions yet.
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns QB
|Looked incredible on Thursday in comeback duty. 10 days to prepare. People will expect big things.|
Josh Allen Buffalo Bills QB
|Credit where credit is due: Allen used his athleticism to help generate big plays with his feet and came away with the most surprising win of the season and decade.|
Sam Darnold New York Jets QB
|If you were holding a ticket on Darnold to win OROY you are not feeling great. I'm here for you.|
Josh Rosen Arizona Cardinals QB
|First start coming too! He threw a bad pick but the bigger concern is the situation he had and the offensive line in front of him.|
Pretty good crop of rookie quarterbacks we've got here. Could see all four of these guys being very good, even if they won't be good this week.
Eli Manning New York Giants QB
|The Giants won! And now they get the Saints at home.|
C.J. Beathard San Francisco 49ers QB
|This is not a great situation for Beathard to deal with and it stinks to see Jimmy G injured for the year.|
Going to be a long year for these two veterans. Should be much longer for Eli, who doesn't have a first-round rookie behind him.