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- Unpopular Opinions- Volume 3 - April 23, 2020
Matt Ryan and Ryan Tannehill, you’re the next contestants on “How do you still have you’re job!!!!” To qualify, you have to show a knack for big turnovers in key situations. Another requirement, put up big numbers game after game and not produce big wins. Finally make sure that the fan base is definitely not sold on you. Ok maybe that was a little over the top but it’s was well warranted.
Take these broken wings:
The high flying Atlanta Falcons started the season 5-0. Sporting a top five offense, most if not all of the first five games, they were off to a hot start . If hot could describe their start, then freezing can describe their 1-7 record in their last eight games. Matt Ryan (and the entire offense) has turned the ball over at an accelerated rate over that span (10 interceptions, 3 lost fumbles and 17 sacks).
Sure the Falcons have made it to the playoffs before with Ryan at the helm. A depleted wide receiver corps, a change at head coach and a change in the offensive philosophy has left the quarterback in the middle of a bad six game loosing streak. He’s had a couple of chances to win in his career making the playoffs four times but he just doesn’t seem to be the man to put them over the top. Fans in Atlanta are calling for his ouster. They cringe at every interception, every fumble and every time he holds the ball to long. If you listen long enough you would think Ryan was the worst quarterback ever (bring back Mike Vick chants).
Under the Sea:
The Miami Dolphins are the epitome of the phrase “Don’t let your mouth write checks your butt can’t cash”. Season after season its “their year”. Ha, it hasn’t been their year since 1973. Of course after big money talk in the off-season (yet again) they start off with a robust 1-3 record. After a debacle in London (to the hated Jets to boot), head coach Joe Philbin was canned. Tannehill remained the starter. His numbers aren’t awful (61.4 completion% 22 TDs 11 Ints), but his teams 5-8 record however speaks volumes for itself.
Miami hasn’t had a winning season since 2008, way before Tannehill was drafted in 2012. They were hoping that would change the minute they spent a top 10 pick on the college wide out-turned quarterback. It’s been a shaky tenure to say the least. The Dolphins have no identity and Tannehill doesn’t scare opposing defensive coordinators which he hasn’t warranted that fear with his up and down play throughout his career. Showing flashes of greatness is good but when will the flash turn into a bang?
The Middle Office:
The front office can take a huge chunk of the blame. Passing up on offensive lineman for one. The Falcons o-line is improved, but that upgrade is mostly geared toward running the football. The Dolphins make pick after pick (busts after busts) on the offensive line. Outside of center Mike Pouncey the most notable players in that unit was at the center of the Dolphins bullying scandal a couple years ago. Failing to replenish top talent at the skill position is another slap in the face. Where’s the Tony Gonzales replacement at tight end? Will Miami ever get back the caliber wide receiver they had when they traded Brandon Marshall the year Tannehill was drafted? The executives for both teams are not giving their big money hurlers the right amount of assistance, but of course the blame falls solely on the shoulders of the quarterbacks (and apparently the coaches).
Consistent mediocrity is much worse than being downright awful in sports. Terrible teams at least reserve the rights for high draft picks. If team record looks like 9-7, 8-8 and 7-9 every year then chances are the next year your teams record will look similar then the next season and so on. This is also true for teams that make the playoffs all the time and make very little noise. Too many times are we tricked into believing that team hovering around .500 is on the cusp of greatness and the team that got knocked off early in the playoffs will win it next year.
The truth is those teams are complacent. “We’re good enough to make a run at the playoffs”. These teams seem to try and make a big splash in the off season instead of building a contender from the ground up. You can’t help but wonder though. Shouldn’t ground zero be the quarterback? You should be able to rely on the signal caller to be the catalyst and pull you out of the abyss. You should be able to rely on your QB to make huge plays when it counts and pick up key victories when you need it most. Time after time we’ve watched the greats (even the goods) pull wins out of a hat and yet, we seem to watch these two give wins away.
At the end of the day, the quarterbacks for the two respective teams should give fans hope. Fans should see them on the field and think “We’re gonna win”. The leaders of the troop, the controller of the offense and the main man. Ryan Tannehill and Matt Ryan aren’t living up to their hefty contracts. The thrill of victory is lost in Miami and Atlanta. To save their sinking ships ..they might have to throw the captains overboard and sail away.