Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck take center stage in showdown

DAVIE, Fla. — Perhaps there will be a secret handshake between Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill when the two meet before Sunday’s game in Indianapolis.

Yes, they will be competitors. But both are members of Phi Snapa Passa, or whatever you want to call the quarterback class from the 2012 draft.

“It’s a bit of a fraternity, if you will,” Luck, of the Colts, said about going against Miami Dolphins signal-caller Ryan Tannehill. “In terms of Ryan, I’ve always been a big fan of his and getting to know him through various events. Great guy. There’s worse groups to be associated with. It’s a good fraternity.”

Luck was the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, while Tannehill went No. 8. Other members of this exclusive fraternity include Washington’s Robert Griffin III, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Cleveland’s Brandon Weeden.

Luck and Tannehill won’t be on the field at the same time during the game. But plenty of fans will be watching with interest as these second-year guys go at it.

“I think it’s fun,” Tannehill said. “I have a lot of respect for Luck and the things he does. He’s a great quarterback. I watched him at Stanford and I watched him last year and he did a great job in our game (between the Dolphins and Colts last November). So it’s really fun to be able to compete with him. Maybe not directly. We’re not on the field at the same time. But it’s fun to compete with him.”

It was a lot more fun for Luck when the two met last season. In a 23-20 home win, Luck completed 30 of 48 passes for a career-best 433 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Tannehill wasn’t too shabby himself, completing 22 of 38 balls for 290 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Now, the two will see each other again. Both quarterbacks are year wiser and both lead teams that won their openers last Sunday.

“It’s going to be a sight to see,” Dolphins center Mike Pouncey said. “Both of those guys were first-round picks and had a lot of hype coming out of college and they’ve both had successful careers so far in the NFL. Tannehill is ready to make his mark and Andrew Luck absolutely had a great season last year. I know he’s ready to continue to do that. It will be a good battle.”

So will Pouncey predict Tannehill will outshine Luck? Pouncey last October told FOX Sports Florida Tannehill was “the best rookie quarterback in the NFL,” even better than Luck.

But Pouncey has no desire now to offer up any bulletin-board material. He said Miami coach Joe Philbin has gotten him out of the comparison business.

“I don’t want to compare players,” Pouncey said. “I heard that from Coach Philbin (last year). He said, ‘Don’t do that anymore.’ “

While Luck ended up having a much better rookie season than Tannehill, the Dolphins quarterback has gotten some added weapons this season. In last Sunday’s 23-10 win at Cleveland, Tannehill had the third-best yardage game of his career, completing 24 of 38 passes for 272 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

While Tannehill was hampered by a ground game that had just 20 yards on 23 carries, Luck didn’t need to go to the air nearly as much in his team’s 21-17 home win over Oakland. He completed 19 of 23 passes for 178 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Luck ended up winning the game with his feet. His 19-yard touchdown run with 5:20 remaining accounted for the winning points.

But fans won’t be tuning in to see Luck or Tannehill run. They want to see the two fill the air with footballs.

“I think it’s fun to see two guys who are in their second year in the league and are young and athletic going at it,” Dolphins safety Nolan Carroll said. “It’s fun for the fans to watch.”

It then will be seen which fraternity brother comes out on top.


Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com


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