The 2013 NFL season officially kicks off tonight. The Miami Dolphins will hit the field in their first regular season game on Sunday, when they travel to Ohio to face the Cleveland Browns. This week’s practice has been about game preparation and that only. Here are some quotes from Ryan Tannehill on starting his sophomore season, Jonathan Martin's growth and his thoughts going into Sunday’s game.
Left tackle, Jonathan Martin’s Progress:
“I think he’s done a great job, he’s settled in. He moved over from the right side to the left side late last year, kind of got put in a bad situation having to move over in the middle of the year, but he’s had the whole spring and all of camp to work on being a left tackle. He’s done a great job, I think he’s constantly improving, and that’s what you want to see.”
Martin’s noticeable improvement from the first two weeks and on:
“For sure, I think I’ve seen constant improvement, going back to the first week of camp, up until now. With a young guy, that’s what you want to see.”
Now a sophomore quarterback – how he’s mentally different this year:
“I think I’m a lot more progressed in playing the game. I understand things much quicker, see things much quicker than I did. It’s the second year you can’t have the same growing pains you did the first year. You have to be able to make the plays when they’re there.”
If last year's experience has prepared him for this year:
“I think playing an NFL season is what really prepared me more than anything. It wasn’t so much, opening up on the road. Playing an NFL season, going on the road 8 times, seeing how things happen on the road definitely prepared me for this.”
If he and Brandon Weeden are the “forgotten guys” amongst their young draft class:
“Well I didn’t forget myself, so I know that. Those guys get a lot of attention and it’s deserved, they did a great job and I’m happy for those guys. Definitely didn’t forget about myself."
His thoughts on people saying he’s the, “Next guy”:
“It’s nice but, it doesn’t matter, I still have to go out and play. I have to go out and do the things that I want to do, that we want to do as a team. We have high expectations for ourselves as a team. As an offense, we want to be able to put points up. We brought in a lot of weapons this year, and now it’s time to finally go out and play.”
Tannehill’s 2013 statistical goals that he’s set for himself:
“Throw as many touchdowns as I can, and as few interceptions as I can. It’s all about winning, we brought guys here to win, we’ve got guys in the locker room that want to win. That’s what the whole organization is focused on. Coach Philbin is always saying, what can we do to make this team have a better chance of winning. No matter what it is, we need to do it, so it’s all about wins.”
The purpose of the leadership council and his role:
“We’ll meet with coach, often, I don’t know exactly how many times, maybe once a week. Just go over things, maybe pertaining to the team scheduling, how we handle things on the road, anything that could possibly come up. We’re kind of the liaisons between the team and Coach Philbin.”
Impression on playing in Cleveland:
“I hear it’s going to be a fun, but difficult place to play. The fans will be excited, should be a packed house, opening day. We’re going to have to play well, it’s going to be tough to communicate, it’s going to be loud, but that’s the challenge of playing an NFL game on the road.”
Tannehill believes that the atmosphere in Cleveland will be thrilling. With a loud crowd it makes for a rough environment that he hopes to triumph through.
On what he remembers about Davone Bess (who now plays wide receiver for the Browns):
“Davone was a good player for us, he’s one of the quickest guys I’ve ever seen. Nearly impossible to cover, man-to-man, we have a lot of respect for him and what he can do. He did a good job for us last year and we wish him the best this year, besides this game.”
While in college, Tannehill played against Weeden at least once as a quarterback. The other times were during his days as a wide receiver. His memories of that game were that his team lost to Weeden in a close game, by about two points. Going into Sunday’s game, Tannehill is looking for better results on the second go around.
At this point in the regular season players and coaches are filled with a bottle of emotions. They want to start the new season with a bang and are hopeful that the practice and fine-tuning in training camps will pay off.
Tannehill reflects on his own feelings at this time a year ago:
“I was excited. I just got named the starter, had a couple weeks to prepare and we were looking forward to a big game in Houston. This year, we’re focused on Cleveland, it’s the same feeling, the same excitement, we’re ready to get going.”
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