It’s funny how Adam Gase’s Miami Dolphins have a strategy to handle almost every single one of their players regarding injury and soreness.
But when it comes to their QB Ryan Tannehill, they have no idea of the right course of action.
A perfect example of this is when Tannehill suffered his knee injury in 2016 and the team decided not to undergo surgery. That decision turned out to be the wrong one as that knee buckled in 2017 training camp and the QB was forced to miss the season.
Now, Tannehill has a shoulder injury that could’ve been rested throughout the week leading up to Game 6–Much like the rest Reshad Jones shoulder needed or rest DeVante Parker needed on his finger earlier in the season.
The Dolphins decided to hold Jones and Parker out from games in order to get them the rest they needed so they would miss the short-term and ideally being available for the long-run. This rest, theoretically, would allow them to get back up to speed while limiting the percentage of Jones and Parker suffering a setback while practicing or playing in a game hurt. And this strategy worked for Reshad Jones, and it’s working for DeVante Parker.
The Dolphins take this path with older veterans like running back Frank Gore and defensive end Cam Wake. The team limits Gore’s workload during practice and games, because they know he’s an older veteran on the tail-end of his career and they need to keep him as fresh as possible so he can stay durable throughout the season. The team was being cautious with Wake after he suffered a knee injury. He recently had a reported surgery and is being eased back.
The Dolphins made sure these players are back, because they realize the values, talent, and importance each of these players bring to the table.
They know how much Reshad Jones means to the defense. They know Parker’s combination of size, speed, and ability to separate from press can open up the offense. They know Gore is a future Hall of Famer and his efficient running-style is imperitive for the offense and creating ideal 3rd-down situations. They know Wake’s leadership and passrush ability adds another body to this defensive front that is currently thin with injuries.
So why don’t the Dolphins realize this importance with the NFL’s most vital position and it’s money-maker? Why didn’t they follow this procedure like they do with their other players?
The Dolphins are creating a trend of doing the opposite with their starting quarterback.
The Dolphins decided not to rest Tannehill and his sore shoulder. They allowed him to practice for 2 days, and the injury got worse to the point where he couldn’t throw correctly the Friday before the Bears game.
They decided not to rest the member of the team’s most important position just like they allowed Tannehill to not elect knee surgery and choose stem-cell treatment instead. And in both cases, those decisions turned out to be wrong. Tannehill is now expected to miss Week 7, possibly Week 8, and could be back for Week 9 but it’s no guarantee.
There seems to be a regard, patience, and best intentions with other positions on the team. But no regard, impatience, and irresponsible action taken with Ryan Tannehill.
So why is this? Why do they gamble with the health of the guy whose play and leadership they severely missed during the 2017 season.
Do the Dolphins overthink the strategy because they know Tannehill gives them the best chance to win on Sunday and that they are facing public pressure by the fan base and local media to offensively perform now?
Is it because Gase has publicly backed Ryan Tannehill over and over throughout his time here and needs to forced Tannehill out there to prove he’s right about his quarterback and outsiders are wrong? Gase recently admitted his percentage’s of winning player-battles against the media are high, and his biggest victory is proving Kiko Alonso can play and cover as an outside linebacker.
Or is it because the team will be making a final decision on whether or not to keep Ryan Tannehill past the end of this season or continue to invest in his current contract that keeps him in Miami through the 2020 season? Questions still remain on Tannehill’s level of performance, consistency, and whether he has reached his ceiling or can continue to grow as a quarterback. The best way for the Dolphins to find the answers to these questions is to have as much film as possible, and that means to push Tannehill out there for more games.
It’s also possible that Tannehill decided to push through his soreness, and give his practices leading up to the Bears game a go. Tannehill may have had that competitive player mindset of wanting to be on the field, and “perhaps if I push through this soreness, it’ll loosen up my shoulder”.
Tannehill may also have been thinking about all the time he missed with his knee injury and the dysfunctional 2017 season the team had without him. He may have wanted to avoid similar future outcomes by pushing through the pain and wanting to be on the field for his team on Sunday.
But now the Dolphins are under an NFL investigation of how they handled this whole situation. And we’ll see what truly comes of this eventually.