Non-contact injuries are the worst. There’s no one or nothing to blame.
Non-contact injuries usually mean that something has gone – horribly – wrong internally and the prognosis is rarely a positive one.
So, when Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill crumbled to the ground after “scrambling” during a team drill in Thursday’s training camp session – any air that was in the team’s sails about any and everything quickly vanished.
According to reports, Tannehill – who missed four games (the final three regular season games and the wildcard playoff loss to Pittsburgh) this past season with a sprained ACL and MCL in his left knee – had his left knee “give out” as he ran full speed near the sideline.
Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh “chased” after the quarterback, but Tannehill was wearing his red “no contact quarterback” jersey and certainly was in no danger of being hit by Suh or any other Miami defender.
This isn’t good and I’m legit bummed out. Finally gets a good team around him and this happens. pic.twitter.com/6OOOIt02mo
— Eric Elizondo (@EricElizondo8) August 3, 2017
The 29-year-old stayed on the ground for a short time before rising and gingerly walking off the team’s practice field.
Tannehill elected not to have surgery on his knee following the original injury, instead opting to use other non-invasive methods to repair the ligaments. He was wearing a brace on the knee during practice – something he planned on doing throughout the coming season – but still went down awkwardly after the run.
The team has not released any official reports regarding Tannehill, his knee, or his status following Thursday’s injury.
However, reports have swirled in the aftermath.
Miami Herald Dolphins beat reporter Armando Salguero cites sources saying that Tannehill hyperextended his left knee and possibly damaged his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
Local radio show host and former Miami Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder offered an analyst on the situation, leaning on his own experience with knee injuries.
I've had 12+ knee injuries including 4 ACL recons. Scar tissue comes wjoint trauma. Best case scenario is Tanne broke up some scar tissue. https://t.co/r0D7VcByTe
— Channing Crowder (@OfficialCrowder) August 3, 2017
The knee will swell up and if there is no structural damage, he will be back when swelling goes down. No more than a week or so. https://t.co/GhiPKFSwXj
— Channing Crowder (@OfficialCrowder) August 3, 2017
Either way, things are still unclear as to what will happen with Tannehill, who is in the second year of a 4-year, $77 million dollar contract extension.
In the immediate future, Miami turns to veteran backup quarterback Matt Moore.
Moore has been the Dolphins’ backup QB since 2011 and has played in a total of 23 games – the lion’s share of which came during the 2011 season when he played in 13 games for the injured Chad Henne.
After Tannehill went down during Miami’s December 11th game against Arizona, it was Moore who led the Fins on a game-winning drive to down the Cardinals and it was Moore who led the team to two more victories before losing the regular season finale to New England and the playoff game Pittsburgh.
Miami signed the 32-year-old Moore to a 2-year, $3.5 million dollar deal in 2016 and he still has a stranglehold on the position of No. 2 quarterback since the team’s other two signal callers – Brandon Doughty and David Fales – have just one game of NFL experience between them.
Moore is probably one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league and should do a more than adequate job if Tannehill’s injury is more serious than expected and he would be forced to start the season as the No. 1 quarterback.
While having Moore is great and offers Miami’s Executive VP of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum some leeway in terms of having to frantically scour the waiver wires for quarterback help – the team should still be vigilant and due its due diligence just in case.
The name that came up – almost instantaneously with the news of Tannehill going down Thursday – was Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick’s name has been in the news almost daily due to speculation that he’s being “black balled” by the league for his stances on various social issues. He’s been linked to multiple teams this offseason, including a big brouhaha about the Baltimore Raven’s decision to sign little-known arena league quarterback David Olson over the available Kaepernick – who led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl four years ago.
Miami could take a look at “Kap”, who threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns – and just four interceptions – in 12 games for San Francisco last year, but it is unclear whether or not Dolphins owner Stephen Ross would be willing to deal with the media scrutiny that’ll come along with the move.
The other options are long shots at best.
There’s recently retired quarterbacks Tony Romo and Jay Cutler.
Both hung up their cleats and are set to begin careers in broadcasting in 2017.
The oft-injured Romo was released by Dallas at the start of this offseason after sustain another back injury and rookie Dak Prescott emerged as a Pro Bowl caliber quarterback. The 37-year-old Romo probably still could do some good things on a football field, but he is still one hard sneeze away from being on the shelf – which would leave Miami in a worse position than it is now.
Cutler has familiarity with Dolphins head coach Adam Gase from their overlapping time with the Chicago Bears.
However, Cutler has been much maligned over the course of his career and is noted for being aloof and too much of a risk-taker in the pocket.
Some other big splash options would be Robert Griffin III or Johnny Manziel.
RG3 was let go by the Cleveland Browns after sustaining a shoulder injury. Teams have kicked the proverbial tires on Griffin, but none have been inclined to sign the former 2012 No. 2 overall pick.
Since partying his way into and out of the league, “Johnny Football” has been working out on his own with the hopes of getting another shot at being an NFL quarterback. Miami is unlikely to get this desperate, but he’s out there.