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Ryan Tannehill becomes Jeff Ireland's last best chance

If Ryan Tannehill works out for the Miami Dolphins, the franchise's interminable search for a successor to Dan Marino will finally come to an end. If Tannehill doesn't, the team is likely doomed to NFL purgatory for the next few years and perhaps beyond.

Jeff Ireland ... this is your life. Or at least football life with the Dolphins.

Ireland, the team's much-maligned general manager, needs to hit on Tannehill. For what it's worth, Ireland is completely sold on the former Aggies quarterback and has been for some time.

"I got enamored last August," he told SI.com's Peter King.

If Tannehill gets rope from fans in terms of the typical rookie learning curve, Ireland will be lucky if he gets a string. The GM is public enemy No. 1 in South Florida. Defending himself has, oddly, become part of his gig.

"It's a little strange," said the man who's so disliked that fans staged a "Fire-land" protest outside his office last month. "It is what it is. I love the fact that the fans are passionate, and they want what I want -- to win. I believe what I do. I have a strong conviction in what I'm doing. I'm a meat-and-potatoes football guy, and I can handle the heat."

Ireland said there's no plan when Tannehill is going to play, at least not yet. He pointed out to the practice fields from his office and told King, "Out there is where we're going to find out about Ryan Tannehill, Matt Moore and David Garrard."

It's proper GM speak, but make no mistake: If Tannehill doesn't play well -- and doesn't play soon -- it likely spells doom for Ireland.

No pressure though.

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