Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill not elite quarterback

The Miami Dolphins hired Adam Gase to help bring Ryan Tannehill to the next level of quarterbacking, where previous coaching staffs have failed.

Last week, receiver Greg Jennings told the team's official website that previous coaches held Tannehill's hand, hindering the quarterback's growth.

On Tuesday, the receiver doubled down on those comments, saying that Tannehill desires to have more freedom within the offense.

"This is no knock on Ryan. This is not Ryan's choice. He wants to be free," Jennings told ESPN. "He wants to have that freedom, that liberty at the line of scrimmage, as most quarterbacks do. When you show your quarterback that you trust him, you give him freedom...

"We don't know who Ryan Tannehill is, but we want him to be this great guy, this great quarterback, this franchise quarterback, but no one has given him the freedom, the luxury, to call plays, make checks, to do the things that a great quarterback will have the opportunity to do."

Gase received praise for his work with Jay Cutler in 2015. As the Bears' offensive coordinator, Gase devised game plans that accentuated Cutler's positives and helped negate some of the terrible decisions that haunted the quarterback under previous play callers. Cutler still had the freedom to check plays, many of which were packaged run-pass option calls that required the quarterback to read the defense before selecting the proper play.

Despite wanting to see Tannehill have more control of the offense, Jennings did acknowledge that the quarterback has a long way to go before he climbs into the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks.

"I guess what I'm saying is he's far (from elite)," Jennings said. "I'm being honest. None of us know. ... It's like he's been handcuffed. I've played with Brett (Favre), I've played with Aaron (Rodgers). I've played with great quarterbacks. So you can sense, you can quickly tell if one has it or not."

During the 2015 season, Tannehill's reputation took a beating when he was caught in some controversy after yapping with defensive practice-squad players. Some from the outside viewed this as confirmation of the quarterback's insecurity and perhaps how his teammates viewed him as a leader.

Jennings dismissed the incident as a product of a losing season.

"We all respect Ryan as a leader, as a quarterback," Jennings said. "I think this stems from losing. When you are losing, everything is a big deal. Obviously there were comments made, there were things that took place throughout the entire seasons that guys didn't like, guys liked, guys loved, guys hated, but this was just made a big deal because it's Ryan. It's the quarterback. We don't expect this from guys, but he's going to say things to guys that are going to be positive and he's going to say things to guys that aren't gong to be as positive, they're going to be negative, but it's constructive. And guys need to hear that ..."

Whether getting after a practice-squad player for making a play in practice is constructive or not is debatable. What isn't debatable is that Tannehill needs to display growth in his first season under Gase or that escape hatch the team built into his contract could loom large.

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