There are many parallels between the situations in which Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill are located.
Happiness, 28, turned out to be the player the Indianapolis Colts thought he would be if they had chosen him as number 1 in 2012. Enough so that the Colts gave him a then record-breaking six-year, $ 139 million extension in 2016.
The Miami Dolphins wrote Tannehill seven picks after the Colts had put Luck. They were also happy with their investment and provided an extension, albeit a more modest commitment. The Tannehill deal was a six-year extension, $ 95.3 million in 2015.
But then the injury derailed both quarterbacks.
Happiness got a shoulder injury at the beginning of 2015 and he was eventually operated in January 2017. Tannehill suffered partial tears of his ACL and MCL in his left knee in December 2016, but did not immediately undergo an operation to repair the injury.
Setbacks in their recoveries cost both players throughout the 2017 season. Tannehill needed a knee operation in August after an ACL rupture, while luck was placed on the injured reservation in November after he had experienced pain in his slow return to practice in his shoulder.
But now both are back with enough to prove.
Happiness stands for the long task of being the player he was prior to an injury, a MVP candidate and an eternal Pro Bowler who wore an interruption grid up to three consecutive 11-win seasons. Tannehill stands on a slightly shaky ground without Pro Bowls and only one winning season (shortened by an injury) under his belt. He wants to show that he is more than just a tradesman and a passer-by who is able to drag a team over the bump.
Now three games in the preseason, quarterback has not given much clarity about his willingness to come forward in 2018.
Andrew Luck has still not shown much of his arm
The Colts have reasons to be optimistic about their quarterback after his outing against the San Francisco 49ers in week 3 of the preseason. Happiness completed 8 out of 10 passes for 90 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Eric Ebron.
He showed mobility, zippered on his steps and the balance that made him an instant star in Indianapolis.
It was a much better game than his 6-of-13 performance against the Baltimore Ravines a week earlier, which ended with 50 passing yards, no touchdowns and an interception.
But what he did not show on Saturday was much deep. The closest thing he came to was his touchdown pass to Ebron and a roll along the left sideline that resulted in an 18-yard pass interference penalty.
Happiness has spoken optimistically about his ability to throw down the field.
"I feel stronger, I feel more fit, I feel that my arm is more in it and a bit more in it and a bit more in it," Luck said through the Indianapolis Star. "A lot of positive things have happened and I know that every day I have a tendency to get better and I know that our team adopts that attitude of getting better every day."
But the arm is still not visible.
Maybe that's because of the design, or maybe there are no receivers open in the open field. But it can not last forever. A recovered Colts attack without a deep threat will eventually become a problem, so the only good scenario for Indianapolis is that Luck's arm is back and we just have not seen him.
Ryan Tannehill has been efficient, but … a bit boring
If the goal of the Dolphins & # 39; 1 for Tannehill in the preseason was to prevent him from intercepting, he would earn an A +. In his first five seasons as a starter, he threw at least 12 intercepts each year. But by three matches in August, he has never thrown one.
Tannehill has completed 74.4 percent of his preseason passes for 247 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. He has been the model of efficiency with a rating of 99.0 passers-by. But the dolphins have not been many scoring points.
His touchdown pass to Danny Amendola on a shallow cross against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday was the first trip from the Dolphins to the end zone of the preseason with Tannehill under the middle.
The nine previous Tannehill-led journeys in the preseason all failed – including Miami's opening game of the night against the Ravens that started with the quarterback that dropped the first snap.
It was not a bad preseason for Tannehill, but it did not give him much hope that he would also be the returning player of the year.
Luck and Tannehill still have many questions to answer in 2018.
The dolphins need the best version of Tannehill, but they have not seen it in the preseason. The Colts start at the first point when Luck can not reclaim his form and there is still reason to doubt his arm.
Part of it could be because both teams want to bring their quarterbacks back to the flow of the game. Since starters usually hang out the last week of the preseason, you do not expect to receive any answers before the regular season starts in September. After that, it will not take much longer before we can assess how their comeback trails really go.