« Miami WRs still a big question mark | Main | Still recovering from draft so enjoy this video »

Preview of the Dolphins offensive scheme

I've got a day off today but decided because I have some time to myself to (again) check out the Ryan Tannehill quarterback camp segment with former coach Jon Gruden. I'm glad I did.

The 25-minute tape below is interesting on many levels. It suggests Tannehill's work at Texas A&M was much more NFL intensive than the typical college approach. That's very good.

It shows why Tannehill will be ahead of veterans David Garrard and Matt Moore in his knowledge of the offense. (He's way behind in on-field experience against NFL competition but ahead in understanding the terminology and concepts of the offense he's running).

And, most interesting to me, it gave me something of a peek at the offense the Dolphins will run. Most believe Miami's offense will be the Green Bay Packers offense. Um, actually, it'll be more West Coast offense used at A&M with some Green Bay concepts added in. It is not the Green Bay offense per se.

So what will you decipher in this episode that will apply to the Miami offense. Examples:

It will show you the Dolphins future personnel groupings.

There is Eagle: Four wide receiver and a back.

There is Zebra: Three wides, a tight end and a back.

"That was our base personnel that this year we ran 90 percent of our stuff out of," Tannehill said.

There is Tiger: Two tight ends, two wide receivers, one back.

There is Y: Three tight ends, one back and one wide receiver. In this one the Aggies sometimes used the tight end as a fullback.

I'm confident the Dolphins will have the same groupings because West Coast offenses have had these grouping dating back 20 years.

They've also used the same hand signals for these grouping for 20 years. The Eagle is denoted by flapping of the arms. The Zebra is denoted by putting an arm across the body as in a stripe. The Tiger is denoted by holding up both hands like claws.

You will see Tannehill asked to name 15 formations. He names 12: Stack right, stack right plus, stack right minus, Trips left, Star left, Star right, Trey left, Trey right, Squeeze, Tight right, Stack right snug, Stack right Z short.

A typcial West Coast offense call that will soon make its way to a Dolphins huddle near you: "Ground left tight close halfback right sprint right Z corner halfback flat."

The Dolphins, er Aggies, made a lot of hay on outside breaking routes. Look for the Dolphins to make a lot of hay on outside breaking routes. There are three kind:



True comeback.

The Acute and true comeback are comeback routes. The Winston is an out route.

Acute goes 14 yards coming back to 12 yards. It is a five-step drop and a hitch for the QB. Out of the shotgun it is a three-step drop and hitch.

True comeback goes 18 yards back to 16. It is a seven-step drop for the QB. Out of the shotgun it is a five-step and hitch.

The Winston is a 10- to 12-yard out route. It requires a five-step-plant-and-throw motion from the QB. Out of the shotgun it is three-step-plant and throw.

Look for the Dolphins, like any West Coast team, to depend heavily on the Acute route. Tannehill clearly has a very strong arm in that he often threw Acutes to the wide side of the field in college. Not everyone can make that throw.

One problem with this route?

The wide receiver has to win. Herein lies the importance of the wide receiver that I feel the Dolphins have not full address, but that's another blog. The wide receiver must get the cornerback out of his pedal for the route to work. That means the wide receiver must threaten the defensive back to the point where he turns his hips to run. At that point the receiver is free to make his break and the play is an easy completion.

But if the receiver cannot make the defensive back get out of his backpedal, the defensive player is in perfect position for the interception. Along the sideline. With open field in front of him. The wide receiver MUST win. Or the quarterback cannot throw the football in that situation and must settle for the checkdown.

Tannehill failed to settle for the checkdown a couple of times in college and it cost him.

Did I mention the wide receivers must win and force the DBs out of their pedal?

Anyway, enjoy:


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Good job Mando!

I wonder if YG will show up after Aloco mentioned that he's been posting non stop since 4:03 yesterday, He's been absent since then.

It is going to be so exciting to watch this offense. I am ready to see our Dolphins in the endzone. They can finally give Carpenter and Fields some rest by scoring more touchdowns. Go Dolphins!!! BIM Believe In Miami

Really this was aired weeks ago!

and if the DB doesnt come out of his pedal, its easy for the WR to get by him for a deep pass. (but your just trying to bail yourself out of last article)

Armando I think your not giving the receivers we just picked up in the draft a chance,, just because they are not 1st round picks or 2nd round picks doesn't mean they won't develop into great WR's, I think we had a great draft, this was by far Jeff Ireland's best draft since he has been here.I'm predicting the two Wr's we drafted will be major contributors , You heard it Here 1st !!!

Thanks for the info Armando. I don't know who the Dolphins share information with normaly but we got our first descripton of the offense from Trent Dilfer during the draft.

Again I can see why they don't want an "alfa" reciever demanding the football in this offense. It's all about groupings and creating mismatches.

I do agree with you as well though Armando, the reciever still has to be talented enough to get some separation.

Why didn't Tannehill bring his wife to the interview with Gruden?

This what I've been preaching. If the DB doesn't have reason to honor the deep option, or doesn't cushion, then these routes are dangerous, to not-plain-open. Bush will be a very busy, and very tired man. Good thing he has 6 back-ups. ;)

hartline would be the only wr we have at the moment that could run that route

This actually had potential to be a usefull positive article armando, until you started banging on about WRs again. F*ck I hate you. Can't wait for your raping household pet scandal to finally break the news. Hopefully it wont be long before your behind bars for hideously sick crimes towards tiny defenceless creatures.


Great stuff! I watched this when it first came out and didn't get as much out of it as you did the second time Mando.

Thanks for looking at it a different way. I think the Dolphins offense is going to be awesome!

I can already tell you Hartline isnt going to be fooling any decent DB's on these route and will cause a lot of picks because he slips

Last post was sarcastic, this is stale info that every fan wanting Tannehill already watched. What I would report is how draft was perfectly constructed to accomodate switch to West Coast offense and how we might have a shot a Donald Driver to solidify receivers, or reporting on how we picked up Tannehills favorite target at TX AM.

tannys fav target is horrible, that guy dropped so many balls last year. def wont make team

Nice work TED. I found your comment more usefull than armandos sh*thouse article, as per usual. You seem like you may be over qualified to work at the herald and you probably dont rape household pets, otherwise you would be perfect for the job

dusty sor of like your mom aye?

We have some tall receivers with long arms and great hands. We just drafted 2 WR and 1 TE that fit that description. Wallace us a big target too. So they don't have to be Larry Fitzgerald to get open. They have better reach and size than many cb's that will be covering them.

I can already tell you Hartline isnt going to be fooling any decent DB's on these route and will cause a lot of picks because he slips
Posted by: Chris | April 30, 2012 at 05:09 PM

LOL, Chris could'nt agree with you more, This guy falls down more then Ted Ginn did.

We have the worst WR's core in the NFL right now anyone who disagrees with this statment is delusional.

marshall was the quintiscential receiver that would thrive on this. Perfect fit. Speed, size, strength.

Several dudes that matched that profile were available to us, an we passed on all of them. There were about 5-6 available and some were still hanging around late rounds. Shame.

Has anybody else noticed how there are about a half dozen completely offences that the psudeo-literati call 'West Coast Offence'

As far as I can tell about 90% of the people who talk about 'West Coast' Offence principles have no idea what the original Bill Walsh (Paul Brown) West Coast Offence looked like. Sure makes look awfully learned though.

Let's call a moratorium on using 'West Coast' as an adejctive. Once upon a time, the West Coast Offence's focus on quick reads, horizontal stretches and RAC were somewhat revolutionary. Today they are a feature of EVERY NFL OFFENCE.

It's kinda like when talking head blowhards say about 'Defensive Co-ordinator Xs' Defense is all about 'getting after the Quarterback and creating turnovers'. With the notable exception of Tom Olivadott's Dolphin teams -- EVERY NFL DEFENCE is about getting after the Quarterback and creating turnovers.


devils spin it any way u want to but we have one of the worst wr core in the league

Thanks for compliment Clown! The West Coast offensive with Sherman mixing in a little Packers offense actually gives Tannehill a shot to have a succesful season as short yard passes are what Bess and Hartline are use to. If we were able to pick up Driver or another solid receiver to stretch the field, we'd be in decent shape. The fact that Tanny is not being jammed into new offense is great. Also the breakdown of the video above is priceless. Never new hot to interpret for myself without having it spelled out for me. Thanks Mando!

Can't wait for tomorrows blog!
I'm guessing:
Hey fans, did you know that artificial turf doesn't need watering.


JS, the problem with Marshall was he wall about about "Me Myself and Brandon" on top of that his BPD made him ludacris.

Yay! Miami will win the superbowl next year. I mean really, all these guys are gonna come in can run the playbook as advertised.

Yay! I wish I had Dolphin koolaid to drink.

All I want from you is an honest assessment of the QB competition Mando. Nothing more and nothing less.

PS...you ever think about coaching Pro Ball Mando? Seems you know just as much as Philbin and Sherman about the WCO.


Excellent post Mando, and thanks for the clip!

I find it hard to believe Mando had a few seconds to write this article on his day off.

Why do folks like so much in Miami?

Good post, that QB camp episode changed my perspective on Tannehill completely last week.

I wasn't and still am not a fan of trading away BM. I'm also not crazy about the fact that Ireland et al waited until the 6th round to take a WR. HOWEVER, I'm looking forward to seeing what they've acquired at the WR/TE positions on the field, and I'm fairly optimistic.

TE Egnew is sort of a hybrid TE/WR, you'll see that he lines up in the slot or wide most of the time.

BJ Cunningham might not have explosive speed but he has good hands, ability to get open across the middle, and good lower body strength to break thru tackles.

Undrafted WR Jeff Fuller is a big dude. Not sure about his speed (didn't run at the combine), but he already knows the offense from TA&M and is already on the same page as Tannehill.

I mean really, the guy can barely put together a 1000 word article without having 30 spelling mistakes. But he does this on his day off? With no spelling mistakes?

appreciate the nod.

BraMan. Im not saying marshall should've stayed. Just saying he needed to be replaced. This offense is built for his type of abilities. Several draftees had the potential goods to do so.. we drafted none. Going to be hard for whoever plays QB.

New segment on ESPN should be Mando breaking down film with QB's. Amazing disection of Gruden's disection!

agree js, the vernon and egnew picks were awful


Armando is a great jornalist and provides thought provoking articles. Great work Armando! Keep it up.

vernon was meh. But we needed a pass-rusher, so it was a make-up pick. Should've been way better.

Egnew is OK. real potential there. reminds me of aaron hernandez. But we were still 0-4 on WR needs, and the real-deals were almost gone.

mcnutt late rounds would still have been a starter and solid upgrade. we went cunningham. cunningham has no speed to scare dbs with, so they'll offer no cushion, and every catch will be a fight, incomplete or pick. once he actually gets the ball though he's tough to tackle - not shifty, just strong.

If the hapless Dolphins move to L.A. will anyone care?

Alrighty Then.....get out there and start getting some reps in.

Ah...remember just a year ago we just dumped old father time Henning and inserted a young, hungry OC from Cleveland.

Problem was...Sparano was too entrenched in old man Henning's scheme to let go...FG fist pumps for everyone.

We will truly have a different look this year and cannot wait to see it in action!

Brandon Marshall has had the most dropped passes the last three years in the NFL. With that and his diva attitude to get him the ball every play I'm glad he's gone. There was a lot that happened that we as fans do not know about in that locker room, Marshall wasn't always a team player. He would have been a poor influence on a young QB and the other rookies. I wish we got more for him but I'm glad he's gone.

Steve - you forgot the LOL at end of statement.

Aloco - Plax, Roy williams, possibly Driver, simms-Walker.

I mentioned the other day and some you guys might remember when Gruden was running his version of the WCO in Tampa.

Keshawn Johnson was on the roster and he and Gruden were constantly at odds because he didn't feel like he was getting the ball enough and in fact wasn't even on the field (that part i didn't get)for certain formations.

To me its a fine line. Seems like its going to be tough to find a top reciever who doesn't care rather he gets the football or not.

I guess you can say the Saints do it, spreading the ball out to Colston,Meacham,Henderson,and Lance Moore.

Another thing that worries me being the negative Dolphin fan I am is, this is not a new concept, however popular and successful it's become.

Defenses are catching on. Adding DB's and taking out LB's etc. If our luck doesn't change defenses will be shutting it down by the time we get it lined out.lol.

PS...Green Bay barely beat an old Steelers team two years ago.

Brandon Marshall was the best player on the team by far. Dropped passes were a result of not having a QB in Miami. We all saw what he did Denver and in the pro bowl when he played with real QB's.

ARMANDO Posts about the Preview of the Dolphins offensive scheme >>> And, most interesting to me (Armando), it gave me something of a peek at the offense the Dolphins will run.

Um.. is it just me? Am I all alone out here when I say that the Pats, Jets, Bills and the rest of our opponents LOVE, I mean they L-O-V-E when things like this are put out there on air about what the NEW Dolphins team will look like!

Is it just ME???

WTF... Bellieheck wont need to worry about spying on the Dolphins as he is being HANDED over information. May as well just put the entire Dolphin Play book on the Internet and send hard copies to each NFL team so that they can study our plan.

Also while your at it, may as well post the Texas play book when Shermin had his O in for Tannehill.

Again, is it just ME or am I just overreacting about things like this. I mean WE SUCKED and here we are boosting about what the hell we "may" be doing out there.

aloco, i have no idea.
Even if we don't have an alpha, we don't have the type of receivers who will do what this offense will need.
Bess fits at slot, but could be better.
Hartline can catch, but he scares no one. He should be #4-5th receiver on possession plays.
Gates has the speed, but nothing else yet. Maybe he learned enough stuff this offseason. Soon find out.
Legidoo, well he's never been a star, but has more potential then Hartline.
Everybody else is former practice squad, acorns.

Armando's previous post was dead on.

I seriously wonder if we can package an RB or two to someone looking to dump a high salary receiver.

..J.S...I was also a little confused when we called Vernons name..Once I looked a little closer. Who else was a better pick at that point? There were 2 more DE's taken in the 3rd round. Do we know for sure those guys are going to much better then Vernon?

Now if you thought we should have taken a pass rusher in round 1 or 2 over the picks we took..That is a totaly different debate..But as it was, we took Tanny, and went Martin round 2.. You could definitley make the point taking the tackle in the second round was the right move..So I just wonder what the options were in the 3rd that would have been an upgrade as an observer?

Mando - Feel free to chime in on comments/questions by your posters as you seem to have firm grasp on team's direction.

nyg wont matter anyways, we need to lose alot this season to comeback and have another solid draft to help the rebuilding

Hey Armando,

It's called SPELL CHECK!!! Try using it playa!!


ROFLMAO... Thanks as you are 100% correct as this team is ALWAYS rebuilding.

Legedu Naanee

"He was arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest at the scene of a homicide in Indianapolis on February 12, 2011."

Yep, he fits nicely into our new scheme.

..I posted this on draft day after we took Miller. Some were questioning the thinking(totaly reasonable) as to why we took a rB, over a reciver in that spot. My explination(which could be totaly wrong, but makes sense to me) was this..

If Philbin sees Reggie Bush as more of a reciever, it wouldn't be a stretch to think he will catch 60-70 balls this year..Thomas becomes the workhorse, and Miller get carries once he can prove he can grasp the offense(block, catch)..Bush will get the remainder of the carries..Perhaps 5-7 a game.

Drafting Egnew will hopefully increase the production from the tight ends. Hopefully Martin can lock it down on the right edge so that we don't need to keep a personal protector for the tackle in to block so much..Say this works.. Between Clay, Egnew, and Fasano..There is probably another 80 catches beween the 3.

Now look at our guys..How many recievers will be keep on the roster? 6? 7 Maybe? Now none of these guys are Elite level now. Perhaps they never will be. But they are proffesionals. They did show enough talent at some point to be in the league. If they were that deficient, that void of ability none of them would had an opportunity. How many catches can we expect between the group is the question? Forget one guy. This is reciever by commitee. From this group the coaches must be able to identify the strengths, and weaknesses from each individual. Work around what they do well, and stay away from what they struggle with..Form the plan from there.

The corp on paper doesn't scare anyone..It is easy to rip the team for what looks like a bunch of backups and JV players..But just like this rookie class, lets see what they can do before assuming we can't get open. We may be in for a suprise.

I appreciate all the positive energy you Dolphin fans are displaying. I really appreciate that. Problem I have is its a few months BEFORE its warranted. You guys are crowning this team before they did anything.

Why can't y'all wait until this team actually does something?

Hey at this point I'm just excited about the changes and the new coach staff.

This team needed a fresh start and now they have one. I hope Tanny gets a good hard look and surprises all of us.

This training camp is huge!!

What are the chances they use Egnew as a WR instead of a TE?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »

The comments to this entry are closed.