Dan Marino’s 5th season was 1987, He had just come off a 44 touchdown season in 1986, but unfortunately, the Miami Dolphins finished 8-8, and missed the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.
Besides the 44 touchdowns (that is almost 3 per game), Marino also threw for over 4700 yards and had a 92.5 QB rating. The Dolphins had Lorenzo Hampton leading the way in the rushing attack, with 830 yards on the year, which comes to about 52 yards a game. So most of the rest of the yards were the result of Marino’s gifted right arm, as the Dolphins averaged 26.9 points per game
Now let us look at Ryan Tannehill. He is coming off a decent 2015 season with 24 touchdowns. That averages to 1.5 a game. But he threw for over 4200 yards which is about 31 yards less per game, than Marino produced. Tannehill had a passer rating of 88.7 to go with that yardage. He had the underutilized Lamar Miller leading the rushing attack with 872 yards, which averages to 54.5 yards a game. That means the Dolphins were depending on Ryan Tannehill’s right arm for most of the rest of the yards. Unfortunately, Tannehill couldn’t do enough as the Dolphins only had 6 wins while averaging a paltry 19.4 points per game.
To be fair, Marino had been throwing to Mark Duper, Mark Clayton and Nat Moore in all of his previous seasons in the league. And Ryan Tannehill hasn’t had that quality of receiver until Jarvis Landry arrived in 2014.
Now In 2016 Tannehill has his favorite target Jarvis Landry, in his prime, along with DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills who are entering their second seasons on the team. If Tannehill can develop a Landry like comfort level with at least one of these players, it will put extra pressure on opposing defenses, maximizing what the Dolphins can do.
With the improvement on the offensive line, at least on paper, perhaps Tannehill will get the extra half second to find his receiving targets. He was sacked 45 times in 2015. Marino conversely, was only sacked 17 times back in 1986. Makes you wonder how much more effective the Dolphins offense would have been if Tannehill were sacked 28 less times
There is one stat where Tannehill is far ahead of Marino, and that is interceptions. Tannehill only threw 12 interceptions in 2015, while Marino threw 23 in 1986.
In case anyone is wondering how Marino did in his 5th season? He stayed right on point. Though it was a strike shortened year, Marino still threw 26 touchdowns in the 12 games.
I’m excited to see what Tannehill can do this coming year. I’m hoping for 30+ touchdowns and a fearsome passing attack. I bet the Dolphins are too…