MIAMI (AP) — Forgive rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill if he looks lost. Since joining the Miami Dolphins, he has been trying to get around town without using a GPS.
Driving home one day from the team complex, Tannehill was determined to find his way without navigational help. He overshot his apartment and wound up on Alligator Alley.
"I ended up missing an exit and was halfway to the Everglades before I turned around," he said with a rueful smile.
There are sure to be moments of confusion for Tannehill on the field, too, but so far the Dolphins like what they see. Even his competition for playing time raves about the rookie.
"Hey, he can spin it. He definitely can throw the ball," incumbent quarterback Matt Moore said Tuesday following the first of the Dolphins' offseason organized team activities. "He's quiet right now, but you can tell he's definitely a quality, quality player. I'm looking forward to getting to see him play more."
It's been many years since a rookie quarterback joined the Dolphins with the lofty expectations that accompany Tannehill. Some of that stems from desperation — since Dan Marino retired following the 1999 season, the Dolphins have started 16 quarterbacks, the most in the NFL.
Tannehill was selected eighth overall in last month's draft, making him the first QB taken in the opening round by the Dolphins since Marino in 1983.
It's unlikely he'll beat out Moore and veteran David Garrard to start the season opener. But it wouldn't be surprising if the rookie sees significant action before the season is over.
Working against Tannehill is his lack of experience at quarterback. He started just 19 games there at Texas A&M after switching from receiver.
On the other hand, his progress with the Dolphins should be accelerated because he's so familiar with the offense. His college coach, new Dolphins offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, brought along the A&M playbook.