Sometimes it takes young quarterbacks a few seasons before they’re fully comfortable in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins expect Teddy Bridgewater and Ryan Tannehill to both start shouldering more responsibilities and taking more risks in the near future.
The reasoning and situation may be different for both players, but the outcome needs to be the same as far as their teams are concerned. We’ve been hearing from quite a lot of players about how Tannehill has been handheld his entire career and it might be time for him to step out of that comfort zone, which might be hindering him quite a bit. Bridgewater has also been playing in a very sheltering system, but the Vikings, at some point, need him to start taking over the offense.
But Bridgewater is coming from a place of promise. He’s only two years on the job. He had a solid rookie year in 2014 with 12 touchdown passes and nine interceptions while completing 64.4% of his passes. His passing yards per game actually dropped in 2015 as he became slightly more accurate and efficient while getting a small positive bump in his passer rating while doing a lot of cautious quarterbacking, with Adrian Peterson back on the team. But Peterson isn’t going to be around forever, nor is he going to be great forever.
The Vikings want to see Bridgewater start airing it out a little bit more, and this offense turning into a bit more pass oriented. It did feel that missing that extra dimension was part of the reason they failed against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs, although it’s impossible to get around that missed field goal from such a close range. But both for Bridgewater’s development and the future of the Vikings, he needs to be more than just someone who excels at avoiding mistakes and handing off the ball to his running back.
Tannehill is coming from a place of disappointment, failing to live up to the expectations following his huge contract extension. The Dolphins were just 6-10 last season, while Tannehill seemed to regress in a lot of ways. Having no stability at head coach and offensive coordinator while the offensive line remains a big problem hasn’t been helping him out, but maybe coaching him about everything hasn’t helped the 2012 first round pick develop into the quarterback the Dolphins want him to be.
There are discussions in Miami whether or not it would be wiser to simply start from scrap while keeping Tannehill instead of doing what they’ve been doing for the last few years: Add patch and layer over what’s already there, although the problem might be that this is a badly built football team. Adam Gase is going to have his shot of turning an expensive and underachieving group of players into a success, and also turn Tannehill into the quarterback the Dolphins believed he can become.