Gase backs Tannehill as 2018 starting QB

After missing the 2017 season due to August surgery on a torn ACL in his left knee, quarterback Ryan Tannehill still has Adam Gase’s support as the Miami Dolphins’ starter, the head coach told reporters Wednesday.

“I see him as the starting quarterback next year,” Gase said, adding that the 29-year-old QB will “probably be stronger than he’s ever been” in 2018.

Tannehill landed awkwardly on a non-contact play in practice Aug. 3 and was placed on injured reserve before having season-ending surgery. He was wearing a brace on the knee when the play in question happened, protection after a similar injury late in 2016.

Tannehill sprained the ACL and MCL in the same knee during Week 14 of the 2016 season but did not undergo surgery. Instead, he wore a cast and worked to recover while backup Matt Moore carried the Dolphins the rest of the way to the postseason. Reports late in the season suggested Tannehill could return sometime in the playoffs, if the Dolphins advanced far enough. They did not, losing in the wild-card round, and Tannehill continued his recovery without surgery in the offseason.

By Gase’s account, the August injury was an aggravation of the original issue.

“Really, I don’t look at it as two injuries,” Gase said Wednesday. “I look at it as, he had the knee (injury in 2016). We were advised — and so was he — to handle it in a certain way, and it didn’t work out. So that’s kind of a part of the business that’s tough. We went with the advice that we all felt like was good for us, and it didn’t work out.”

Gase expects Tannehill to be healthy enough to take part in offseason activities in the spring, when he will be about nine months removed from surgery.

Per Spotrac, Tannehill will count $19.8 million against the cap this season, but the Dolphins could save $15.5 million by releasing him. Tannehill is due $5.53 million in guaranteed money, the last of the guarantees on a four-year, $77 million extension signed in May 2015.

The 2012 first-round pick has gone 37-40 with a QB rating of 86.5 across six seasons with the Dolphins. Before missing the final three games in 2016, Tannehill posted career bests in completion percentage (67.1), yards per attempt (7.7) and QB rating (93.5) in his first campaign under Gase’s direction.

Signed out of retirement in August to replace Tannehill, Jay Cutler was far less efficient this season, completing 62.0 percent of his passes for 2,666 yards (6.2 yards per attempt), 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions for a rating of 80.8. He has said he will only return to the NFL as a starter, an opportunity that is not expected in Miami.

–Field Level Media