INDIANAPOLIS — Adam Gase chose not to delay the inevitable on Tuesday, as the Miami Dolphins head coach announced that Ryan Tannehill will return as his starting quarterback on Sunday, when the team travels to take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Tannehill has missed the Dolphins' last five games with an injury to his throwing shoulder, but showed enough positive progress in practice early this week for Gase to go ahead and name his starter.
"I know he was excited to get back out there," Gase told reporters on Tuesday. "I could tell yesterday when he got into that huddle that he was juiced up that he was practicing."
The Colts (5-5), meanwhile, hope Tannehill's return does little to spark a Miami (5-5) offense that hasn't scored a single touchdown over its last two games with backup Brock Osweiler under center.
Osweiler, in all, compiled a 2-3 record during his five starts playing in place of Tannehill, failing to throw a touchdown pass in his final three games.
Tannehill suffered the shoulder injury Week 5 against the Cincinnati Bengals. At the time, he had led the Dolphins to a 3-2 record to start the season, and had completed 85-of-129 passes (65.9 percent) for 972 yards with eight touchdowns to five interceptions.
Gase said he has no reservations about Tannehill's throwing abilities heading into Sunday's return.
"I see a guy that's just confident in where he's at right now, and he's just doing a good job turning the ball loose and getting it where it needs to be," Gase said. "Once we get going, we're going to go. The last thing he wants is me checking him every 10 minutes seeing how he's doing."
The Colts hope to continue two related trends on Sunday against the Dolphins, as both have to do with getting pressure on the quarterback.
In last Sunday's 38-10 victory against the Tennessee Titans, the Indy defense brought down quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert five times and logged seven total hits, helping lead to two takeaways.
Tannehill, meanwhile, is 1-2 in his career against the Colts, but has been sacked a combined 13 times in those three games, including 11 in his last two.
Tannehill in all has completed 71-of-110 pass attempts (64.6 percent) for 938 yards with two touchdowns to one interception in his career against Indy.
"I know Adam Gase very well," Colts head coach Frank Reich said Monday in his weekly appearance on "Colts Roundtable Live" on 1070 The Fan. "He's a really smart football guy; really good football mind. They probably get Tannehill back. … So this is a good football team. I mean, same record as us. We're right where we're at. This game is big to both of us, so it'll be a good challenge."