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Ryan Tannehill's smarts key to Miami Dolphins' start

We've been so impressed with Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill for so many reasons. He has the physical attributes you look for in a franchise quarterback, but other traits have stood out early in his career.

Tannehill is calm in the pocket. He can deliver with pressure around him. He looks to his second read. He also has shown a shockingly fast learning curve in terms of his football smarts. Tannehill is changing plays at the line of scrimmage more often, recognizing where pressure is coming from and other pre-snap skills that bode well for his future.

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This is all surprising because Tannehill has so little experience at quarterback (He played wide receiver some in college). But his image in HBO's "Hard Knocks" as a bit of a space cadet clearly was off base.

Off the field at Texas A&M, Tannehill had a 3.6 grade-point average with a major in biology and a minor in business. As a sophomore, he had to leave practice early to go to a biology lab two days a week. Ben Volin of The Palm Beach Post says Tannehill still has a long-term goal to be an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in knee injuries after his career.

Tannehill says taking the classroom load off has helped him a great deal.

"It's fun, being able to study the game the entire day," he said.

On the field, Tannehill has been a quick study at the next level. Having his college coach, Mike Sherman, in Miami as his offensive coordinator helps Tannehill greatly.

"Each game we come out of less and less critical of his decisions," Sherman said. "Very seldom does he make the same mistake twice."

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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