Perhaps some of you have been scratching your heads this week as you think about the upcoming game between the Dolphins and the Cardinals because the team out west simply doesn't get a lot of play around the country.
Simply, how is it that Arizona is undefeated this year and 10-2 in its last dozen games?
Defense, folks. Mostly defense.
And that is angry, snarling defense is what awaits Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I know you're not all that concerned but consider that last week that unit made Michael Vick look overmatched.
The primary reason?
They get to the passer.
Last week the Cardinals had 20 pressures or hits on Vick. Twenty! Compare that to the treatment Tannehill got from the Jets supposed pressure defense -- one sack, hit twice as he was throwing -- and it looks like a day at a flag football game.
This week Tannehill's toughness may be tested. This week the Miami offensive line may be tested. This week the Dolphins quick passing game may be tested.
Methinks the MIami offensive line is superior to Philly's. I hope the commitment to the run is better than it was in the fourth quarter last week. Both are tools to protect Tannehill.
The Jets obviously opted to cover in the back end and didn't go crazy on blitzes last week. As you will see below in the video of every Tannehill throw, the Jets came in with a reputation for exotic blitzes but didn't really live up to that reputation.
That mostly worked.
"There’s a few throws on the last drive, they’re corner routes that I overthrew deep," Tannehill said. "The second deep ball (Brian) Hartline had a yard on the guy and I left it on the white. Obviously, you want to get your deep balls in bounds so your guys have a chance. You can’t throw it off the field. So (I’ve) really focused in on that this week to keep balls in bounds and give guys a chance. We’re getting good routes by the guys. They’re stacking guys or at least even and have a chance to make plays. I just have to give them a chance and leave the ball in bounds.”
Tannehill's accuracy is something I'm watching closely going forward. There are times he simply is off. I don't know if that's a function of the one afternoon or if it will become a trend. I asked him the reason he was a wee bit off last week:
“I think not throwing a whole lot of them in practice is part of it," he said. "We throw them a lot in individual routes. We’re not seeing them a whole against a defense and it changes things a little bit when you’re going against a defense. I think this weekend moving forward that’s one of the things we want to work on is hitting those in practice that way, when they come up in games, we’re able to take advantage of it and make big plays."
The difference this week is the Cardinals get much of their pressure through their front rather than with the blitz.
It'll be interesting to see how Tannehill handles that if his offensive line doesn't hold up.
Enjoy the video, as provided this blog exclusively by Joe Alvarez, of every Tannehill throw against the Jets: