One of the big questions in Miami has been answered. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of questions out there. The Dolphins have decided to go ahead with rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill as their starter under center, but will he have anybody to throw to in order to help him out?
He’s got one big target in Davone Bess, who says he’s ready to have the biggest bull’s eye on him when it comes to opposing defenses. Bess caught 51 passes for 537 yards and three touchdowns last season, but enters as the top returner because the guys behind him are named Legedu Naanee, Marlon Moore and Julius Pruitt.
Davone Bess joined WMEN in Miami with The Big “O” Show to discuss Tannehill being named the starter, why he could be a franchise quarterback, what the veterans are doing to help bring him along, the team’s receiving corps, how other teams could key on him with no other big names around him and if he was underused last year.
How does Ryan Tannehill look?:
“He’s looking good. He does a good job at transferring the information from practice over to the game. Obviously he was in the system with Sherman … and that kind of gave him the jump start on the expectations of the offense and the quick reads. Me, personally, I’m just kind of happy that they made the decision and now we know how to get things rolling and we know who the guy’s going to be, so let’s do it.”
What tells you that this guys might have the goods to be a franchise quarterback?:
“He’s pretty poised and he’s very, very level-headed. He would throw a bad pass and he’ll come back and want to talk to the receiver and there’s always good dialogue there wondering what’s going on. … Or even if we score through a perfect pass, he’s just real humble about the way he handles the position. You need guys that’s not satisfied and guys that are continuously wanting to get better and stay hungry.”
What is the key for you guys, as veterans, to bring him along?:
“That’s funny that you brought that up because we just got done talking about that … about us, specifically the skill-position group, meeting with him on some off time, some time to ourselves. When it comes down to the ballgame, the coaches can only tell you so much, can only put you in so many positions, but you have to actually go out there and play the game. So by us spending that extra time, meeting before the games and being on the same page, understanding what he’s thinking … it’s going to be key to his development and to our success.”
On the challenge of helping a young quarterback along at this level:
“The only way we can find out is throwing him under the lights and seeing how he performs. The best thing we can do is prepare and just be on the same page when the pressure is turning up.”
You’re the guy on this receiving corps. Who else is going to step up?:
“Only time will tell. Even back in ’08 when I got my opportunity, Camarillo went down in Week 6 or 7, I forget what it was, and my opportunity came, I made the most of it and ran with it. We have to see how these guys are going to respond when the lights are on. … A big part of this league is being given the opportunity. You can’t do much without the coaches putting you there. From what they can do on the practice field, they’ve been getting better. … Guys have to step up. I appreciate having the bull’s eye. I want the bull’s eye, whether it’s third down a critical fourth-down conversion we have to make, I want the bull’s eye and I’ll be ready.”
But if those guys don’t step up around you, teams can just key on you:
“You’re absolutely right, and that’s something we all understand. So we’re holding each other accountable, especially in the receiver room. I can’t think of a year since I’ve been here that we didn’t get criticized for not having the playmakers or whatever, but I guess that’s the best thing about becoming a unit … is that you don’t want to let your partners down.”
Did you feel you were underused last year?:
“I wouldn’t say underused. Did I want more balls? Yes. Could I have made more plays? Yes. A big part of our success, and a lot of players in the league, is the coach’s scheme, and that’s something we can never go against. Like I said, whenever my number’s called, I’ll definitely be ready.”
Listen to Davone Bess on WMEN in Miami here (Interview begins at 44:15)