In the NFL QB is by far the most important position on the field. The Dolphin’s do not have a good QB. If the Dolphin’s have an opportunity to either draft a QB ,that their scouts feel has a decent chance to be better than Tannehill, or pick up a veteran QB who has been better, they should make the move. If the Dolphins do not get upgraded QB play, firing Ireland, Sherman, drafting or signing this or that Offensive Lineman is not going to make much difference.
Ryan Tannehill did not make any kind of jump in 2013. If he was any better he was only a little bit better. His 2013 QBR was lower than his 2012 QBR. His EPA per play was .01 in 2012 and .03 in 2013. EPA and QBR are both better measures of actual performance than passer rating and his passer rating was only 5.2 points better.
You can talk all you want about Offensive Coordinators and Offensive Line play but QB play is what determines an Offense’s success. Look at what Brady did in NE this year. Look at what Rodger’s has done with a bad Offensive Line. I am not expecting Tannehill to be Rodgers or Brady but how about as good as Jake Locker? If Tannehill matches Locker’s .10 EPA per play he generates an extra 52 points on the season, almost 2 full wins, the difference between easily making the playoffs and finishing 8-8.
Can Tannehill get better? Yes, I think he probably will get better, but let’s not fall into the Eli fallacy. Eli was a pretty bad young QB who became average to above average and got hot at the right time to win 2 Super Bowls. How often does that happen? The reverse could also happen and Tannehill could get worse. The more likely scenario is the Tannehill slowly improves over the next 4-5 years and gives the Dolphins 2-3 or so years of below average QB play at his peak. Those are not the kind of returns that should make a player untouchable.
This isn’t just about stats. Tannehill missed Wallace deep once or twice in every Dolphin’s game this year. Tannehill left throws all over the field on a regular basis not just the deep throws. He missed outs and double moves to Hartline on a regular basis. He missed throws and he consistently held on to the ball too long. He just wasn’t that good. I understand it hurts to say it but he gave the Dolphins bottom of the league QB play. It is true and pretending otherwise, crossing our fingers and hoping otherwise, won’t change it. From bottom of the league to below average is the baseline and the improvement curve we are looking at. The only way to change that is to invest in a chance at a better QB.