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10 things to know about Ryan Tannehill

11.28.12 at 7:35 pm ET
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On Sunday, the Patriots will have the opportunity to clinch the AFC East, but they’ll have to beat Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in order to do it.

Tannehill, the third quarterback taken in the 2012 draft behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, was selected by the Dolphins eighth overall with the hopes that he could finally provide some stability at a position that has been in flux since the retirement of Dan Marino.

Thus far, Tannehill has put up lackluster numbers, completing 197 of 334 passes for 2,373 yards with seven touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 72.9 quarterback rating. In the process, he’s led the Dolphins to a 5-6 record which, while not outstanding, is good for second place in the AFC East.

The Dolphins certainly hope that Tannehill is the long-term solution, so the Patriots figure to see plenty of Tannehill over the next however many years. Here’s an introduction to the rookie with nine more things to know about Tannehill:

He played a lot of receiver in college

Though Tannehill was recruited to Texas A&M as a quarterback, he was moved to receiver in his redshirt freshman season after competing for the starting job at quarterback.

Tannehill stuck at receiver for his first two seasons and played the first six games of his junior year there before getting more snaps splitting time at quarterback with Jerrod Johnson and, eventually, earning the starting job. He completed 152 of 234 passes for 1,638 yards with 13 touchdowns and six picks as a junior and went 327 of 531 for 3,744 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his senior year.

His wife has gotten a lot of attention

We’ll get this one out of the way early. Put it this way: When you Google Ryan Tannehill’s name, “Ryan Tannehill wife” is the first item below his name on autocomplete.

Tannehill met his wife, Lauren, at Texas A&M and the two were married in January. Over the course of the pre-draft process through the draft and the Dolphins’ appearance on “Hard Knocks,” Lauren gained more and more attention from fans. She currently has over 17,700 followers on twitter.

When Tannehill was asked after being drafted why he got married at 23 years of age, he responded by pointing to her and asking, “Do you blame me?”

He’s one of 10 rookie quarterbacks to start from Week 1 on in the last five years

Think about that. Remember the days when a team would draft a quarterback in the first round and have a veteran signal-caller around to start the season and help him ease into life as an NFL quarterback? That’s becoming a thing of the past.

In five seasons from 2003-2007, a grand total of zero rookie quarterbacks started for their teams in Week 1. In the five seasons since, 10 have. This seasons featured five rookies under center in Week 1: Luck, Griffin III, Brandon Weeden, Russell Wilson and Tannehill.

Perhaps it speaks to the development of the quarterback position at the college level and how well college programs are preparing quarterbacks for the NFL, or maybe it’s just a matter of teams being more willing to give the keys to rookies. Either way, it’s a pretty drastic change from the way things were not too long ago.

He’ll be the third rookie quarterback the Patriots face this season

The Pats are 1-1 against rookie quarterbacks this season, as Wilson and the Seahawks defeated New England in Week 6 and the Patriots beat Andrew Luck’s Colts in Week 11.

Tannehill has gone 1-2 against other AFC teams this season, as the Dolphins have split their two games with the Jets this season and they lost in Week 11 to the Bills.

He’s breaking some of Dan Marino’s rookie records

Tannehill is the first quarterback the Dolphins have chosen in the first round since Marino way back in 1983, and thus far has broken two records of Marino’s. Last week, he set the franchise record for rookie passing yards in a season, as his 2,373 passing yards this season exceed Marino’s total of 2,210 from his rookie season.

Before you go pointing out that Marino didn’t start every game like Tannehill did, consider that Marino put up his numbers in 11 games, just as Tannehill has thus far.

The other franchise record that Tannehill set came in Week 4, when his 431 passing yards in the team’s overtime loss to the Cardinals made for the most passing yards in a single game by a Dolphins rookie.

He’s 1-1 against his fellow rookie quarterbacks

Tannehill had a respectable performance against the Colts in Week 9 with 290 passing yards and a touchdown with no picks, but Luck set the NFL rookie record with 433 passing yards while throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 23-20 Colts win.

Tannehill wound up on the right side of his matchup with Russell Wilson three weeks later, when the Dolphins beat the Seahawks, 24-21. Speaking of that win’€¦

He’s fresh off a big fourth-quarter comeback

The Dolphins entered the fourth quarter of last week’s game against the Seahawks trailing, 14-7, but 17 fourth-quarter points (led by two 80-yard touchdown drives from Tannehill) allowed the Dolphins to finish with the win. Tannehill’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Charles Clay and the ensuing extra point tied the game, and the rookie led a 65-yard drive that ended with Dan Carpenter hitting a 43-yard field goal with no time left to win the game.

His interceptions are telling

One thing to watch with young quarterbacks is how well they do with limiting their turnovers. As can be seen by his seven touchdowns and 12 picks, Tannehill has obviously struggled in that area.

However, when Tannehill doesn’t turn the ball over, the Dolphins win. Only one of his 12 picks on the year has come in a loss, and in the five Dolphinss wins, Tannehill has four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown to go with the lone interception. He has not lost a fumble in any of the five Dolphins’ wins either.

He’s faster than Andrew Luck

One of the story lines with Luck has been that his athleticism is underrated. While Tannehill was on crutches at the combine because of a broken foot, he eventually ran a faster 40-yard dash than Luck in his Pro Day performance.

Tannehill ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, which was faster than Luck’s 4.67 combine mark. It was still well behind RG3′s 4.41 time.

That isn’t to say that Tannehill uses his feet much. This season, Tannehill has only one rushing touchdown, and his 67 rushing yards are well behind Griffin III (642), Wilson (227) and Luck (183).

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