One quarterback hasn’t been on the field for over a year. Another quarterback will start off this season in his street clothes. The other is coming off a season where he was one Tom Brady-led comeback away from Super Bowl LII.
Can Tannehill Stay Healthy?
The Dolphins, who lost starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to an ACL injury, went 6-10 last season with Jay Cutler taking over in Tannehill’s absence. With Tannehill back, many wonder if he will be able to stay on the field for Miami.
Before tearing his ACL, Tannehill was having a career year and looked every bit of the Dolphins leader of the future. He set a career high in passer rating while throwing 19 touchdowns with 2,995 passing yards.
After the tear, however, Tannehill missed all of last season and is just now getting on the field with the Dolphins.
In the Dolphins’ first preseason practice of the season, Tannehill was seen wearing a knee brace with the label “Tannehill 2.0” written on the back.
Ryan Tannehill's knee brace has "TANNEHILL 2.0" plastered on it. pic.twitter.com/PW85s649fz
— Jason Lieser (@JasonLieser) July 26, 2018
When asked about the label, Tannehill did not say there was a specific meaning to it. However he did talk the health of his knee, having this to say:
Behind Tannehill is lifelong backup David Fales, as well as Brock Osweiler and Bryce Petty. Miami is also without their best wide receiver, Jarvis Landry, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns earlier this offseason.
The Dolphins have struggled to stay relevant in a competitive AFC for years, but Miami fans hope “Ryan Tannehill 2.0” can succeed the whole season and give the Dolphins a fighting chance.
Winston’s Legal Problems Start the Buc’s Season on a Sour Note
The Buccaneers also are coming off a tough season, going 5-11 and coming in last place in the NFC South. At least they a promising, young QB in Jameis Winston, right?
Winston is suspended for the first three games of the 2018-2019 NFL season for inappropriately touching an Uber driver back in 2016.
When asked about the incident, Winston called it a growing experience, saying:
However, the Buccaneers have to worry about their 2015 No. one overall pick, who has had many issues dating back to his days at Florida State University.
When Winston is on the field, he is seen as one of the better young quarterbacks in the league. However, the off-field issues have hindered Winston’s popularity and positive spotlight, which may prevent him from becoming an upper-tier QB.
With Winston missing the first three games of the season against the New Orleans Saints, Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburg Steelers — all playoff caliber teams — the Buccaneers have a tough road ahead of them if they want to improve from their sub-.500 season.
Bortles Hopes to Push the Jaguars Over the Top
Of the three NFL teams in Florida, the Jaguars are in the best set-up for the present and the future.
They made it to the AFC Championship game with a young, star-studded defense but an average offense.
Blake Bortles was heavily criticized during the season, with many seeing him as a roadblock to the Jaguars success. However, the Jaguars signed him to a three-year extension, making him the quarterback of the future.
Bortles feels confident after his first training camp practice of the season but will keep working to improve, saying:
If Blake Bortles can improve the Jags’ offense at all, the Jaguars can go from playoff contenders to Super Bowl contenders.
The three NFL teams in Florida are in very different situations, with the Jaguars in the best position to succeed.
An improved Blake Bortles can push the Jaguars to a top-tier team if the defense continues its growth into one of the best.
On the other side of the spectrum, if Tannehill can stay healthy, the Dolphins have a chance to be successful this season, while the Buccaneers have their hands full with Jameis Winston’s off-field issues.
Overall, Florida’s NFL fans have a lot to look out for this upcoming season.