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Tannehill changing how he attacks deep throws

Some things are so obvious even the secretive men inside Stalag Dolphin have to admit to them. And the difficulty the entire NFL has witnessed Ryan Tannehill have throwing the deep ball since he joined the Miami Dolphins is one of those things.

Last year we saw Tannehill miss a wide open Brian Hartline a handful of times when the receiver was open deep behind defenders. This year, Tannehill is armed with dynamic deep threat receiver Mike Wallace. But 10 games into the season, Wallace's deepest catch went for 49 yards.

And fans have seen Tannehill miss Wallace, open behind the secondary, on at least five ocassions -- either by underthrowing the football and forcing Wallace to fight for it against defensive backs, or underthrowing it and having a sure touchdown result in a mid-range completion, or throwing out of bounds, or just missing short altogether.

“The one the other day, let’s talk about the one the other day, that’s the most recent," coach Joe Philbin said Wednesday. "The guy is open, you have to get the ball to the receiver. You have to put a little more air under it so he doesn’t slow down and the DB doesn’t have a chance to break up the pass.  It’s not that complicated, throwing the ball down the field.

"It does take the right timing, the receiver has to leave enough space, especially when you’re throwing the ball outside the numbers which we had on that particular play. You have to make that throw, [Tannehill] knows that, I know that, everybody who was at the game knows that. Those are the facts, we have to keep working at it and I’m confident we will start making more of those."

Confident or not, Philbin was concerned enough about the issue to talk to Tannehill about it this week. It's become more than just a rare happenstance now. It's an issue -- one that Tannehill got advise on how to solve.

"We talked to coach Philbin yesterday and that’s one of the things he told me," Tannehill said. "Just go out there and let it rip. When a guy gets that open, sometimes you kind of tense up and you don’t want to overthrow him so you end up underthrowing him. I just have to go out there and let it rip and not overplay it."

I asked Tannehill if he's likely to take Philbin's advice and attack the situation differently this week.

"Yes, I think so," Tannehill said. "We had a couple other shots in the game where he got behind guys and one time I got flushed out got bumped and flushed out and I had to throw it to (Rishard) Matthews over the middle and another time I got sacked on it. We had a couple more opportunities where he got open, just wasn’t able to get him the ball.  You’ve got to hit the ones that are there, if you only get one shot a game to get him the ball I have to just throw it out there and let him run underneath it.

"That’s what he’s here to do.  He’s got the legs to run underneath it and it’s on me to just throw it out there and let him get it.” 

Here's the thing: Tannehill is a young quarterback and he's still learning the job. But I get the feeling he's trying to be too fine and too perfect for his own good. He needs to trust his instincts more. He needs to use his many gifts -- one of which is the ability to throw the football a long way.

He's been aiming the ball. He needs to simply pass it.

"Yes, I think I just get conservative," Tannehill admitted. "You see a guy, like I said with so much space and separation between him and the defender, he had five yards or something on the guy.  You see that space and you're thinking just get him the ball. Instead of, just throw it out there, play football and let it rip."

This can go one of two directions now.

Tannehill, reined in for too long, can feel free and start playing rather than thinking. And we'll start to see his deep completion percentage improve.


Tannehill, despite given the freedom to rip it, simply hasn't the touch or deep ball accuracy that must be inate to a quarterback to be the launching point for a deep passing game.

There is some reason for hope here. Last year Tannehill completed zero percent of his attempts of 41 yards or more. He was 0 for 3. This year he has completed 16.7 percent of his 6 throws of 41 yards or more. That still isn't good enough, but it suggests some improvement.

The question is can Tannehill make a much more significant improvement.

You have to consider that Wallace averaged eight touchdowns per season and 17.5 yards per reception his four seasons in Pittsburgh. In Miami he's basically been turned into a possession receiver who has one touchdown and is averaging 12.1 yard per catch.

But in Pittsburgh, Wallace played with a quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger who completed at least 33.3 percent of his passes on throws of 41 yards or more the past three years and in 2009 completed a whopping 46.2 percent of such passes.

Big Ben can wing it.

Can Tannehill match those numbers? Impossible to tell.

But he needs to bring his numbers up soon. Otherwise, what everyone sees as an issue that needs work could soon be viewed as a fatal flaw in Tannehill's game.




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Hi Mando
Love your work - I think the word you might be looking for is "stalag" WW2 German POW camp reference ?



Good job Armando.

Tannehill should spend five minutes watching the Dan Fouts highlight film on YouTube ...

THAT is how you throw the deep ball ...

let 'er rip!

It's not as bad as Armando makes sound like. Check out the bleacher report on this issue. It's not all on Tannehilll.

Here's the thing: Tannehill is a young quarterback and he's still learning the job. But I get the feeling he's trying to be too fine and too perfect for his own good. He needs to trust his instincts more. He needs to use his many gifts -- one of which is the ability to throw the football a long way.

He's been aiming the ball. He needs to simply pass it.

This is what I believe to be true. It's overthinking. Anyone who saw the 4th down throw to Rishard Matthews vs Baltimore knows he can make any throw. The reason he was able to make that one was it was all or nothing and he HAD to just let it rip. I think the losing streak and the failure to get on the same page with Wallace have made Tannehill tense in those long ball situations.

At some point Tannehill has to learn to trust his gut and not try to overthink if he wants to play with the big boys for a long time.

Much ado about nothing.... A ship sailing away, not likely to be seen again after this season. Chad Henne Jr.

Being conservative on the football field is a matter of confidence not accuracy, and Mr Tanne has neither. You can beat this thing to death but in the end Tanne isn't the franchise QB. He simply doesn't have the talent, he's not real smart. I mean, how many times does he have to get sacked because he holds the ball and won't throw out of bounds? Why doesn't he know when to run? This game is to fast for him and he's not making any progress, he's worse this yr then last. One TD pass to Wallace in 10 games is rather telling. At 5-5 maybe its time to sit him down and let him see whats going on. The Dolphins might have a grip but it aint on the playoffs, thats to funny to be taken realistic. " Oh boy we're 5-5 and off to the playoffs " DuuuHHH.

Spot-on again, Mando.

Just the fact they are talking about it between Philbin and T-hill shows they are working on the problem. I would think it would be something they would work on daily until it improves either at practice or after. Just 5 passes a day and maybe some with coverage. Let these guys work it out...that's one thing we are seriously lacking on offense is explosive TD plays from the running game and passing game.

I agree with DrgonFly34 and his previous post. T-hill was a stretch where he was drafted. Others would have drafted him one might indicate, well they are elated they did not draft him now. There are things that you can not teach. Wes Welker and Steve Smith WR quickness out of the break to create separation can not be taught. Accuracy, relaxing and confidence are so hard to develop. Why are the Dolphins working on something one would have addressed in college? T-hill did not have the college experience needed. Everyone knew he was a project and now the project might be more than an NFL team is willing to deal with at this level. The jerks on this site have blamed Wallace but it's clear that the delivery guy has the issue. DB's will pick up on this to cover closer knowing that they will have T-hills lack of accuracy to assist them.

It was reported in training camp that the coaching staff didn't put any extra emphasis or practice time into Tannehill throwing deep to Wallace. Another miscalculation by the coaching staff. But I'm wondering why the 2 parties don't get together on their own and practice the deep throw and timing of it. How do you think Manning was so proficient with Harrison and Wayne? They were out on the field on their own time getting better. Not that difficult to figure out. Unless your associated with the Phins.

You take a project QB when you and your scouts and your OC that has coached him believe he has the potential to be our best QB since Marino.

Who would we have if we didn't draft him? Orton? Flynn? Some other back up rarely good enough to be a back up?

So he has some flaws. The QB position takes time. Just ask Brees. Most positions take time.

Most of you have no perspective season to season how things work. All draft picks should be pro bowlers by year to or you are ready to cite them as busts.

For all you Matt Moore fans - he tested the open market. Not one of the other 31 teams were considering him as a starter, so he stayed here.

So forget your argument that Moore is better. If 32 GM's don't think he is starter material, a long term solution, then he ain't. 1 GM can be wrong. 5 can be wrong. 32 can't be wrong. Certainly no bloggers opinion trumps theirs.

Tannehill did have one perfectly thrown ball that would have gone for an 80 yard TD against Cincy but the DB tackled Wallace in desperation after he got behind him.
The resulting pass interference call got us about 30 yards or so but the TD would have been much nicer.

Ian your premise is wrong therefore your conclusion is wrong. Matt Moore accepted money and greater security for him and his family to be the backup QB over the opportunity to win a starting job. Moore with less talent on the team and given the opportunity was the 12th rated passer in the NFL. What is T-hills NFL rating. Moore is NOT the long term answer for the Dolphins but the phins have a good enough team to possibly make the playoffs if they do not have a guy giving the ball away on turnovers and missing wide open receivers deep....

Big Ben did it by extending plays breaking tackles. henceforth Wallace wide open because the DB became distrcted.

Wallace had dropped more passes that hit his hands than Tannehill has missed bombs.

On the "GO" pass "GO-GO" run subject Tannehill did make progress against San Diego. We passed after a "GO-GO" as often as we ran.

If Wallace makes those mid range passes that he drops, we'd be saying wow, he is a great WCO receiver as well.

henne had the same problem. both tanne and henne are afraid of making mistakes downfield. all good QB's put air under it and throw as far as they can. its up to a speedy receiver to go get it. its not that difficult.

I agree with your first post Ian, but disagree with the second. 31 GM's passed on Kurt Warner....twice. He went to the arena football league once. Then, after the Giants cut him, he signed with the Cardinals, and took a franchise that had never done anything to the brink of a Superbowl win. Since he retired, they are back to their old ways.

That said, I think Tannehill has the potential to grow into this. My concern is he lacks a certain intangible: That certain "gamer" quality that Moore seems to have when he gets into games.

Really Ian what about all the fumbles, interceptions, high passes so the safety out of the play has an opportunity to intercept....Opportunities for the opposing team to win the game. A better team than the Chargers will exploit T-hill.

Ok,Thill,Wallace,and the entire team has had numerous OTA's,training camp,five pre-sason games,and ten regular season games,and they are still trying to figure things out? Huh? This coaching staff is pathetic. With all of the talent on this team we will be lucky to finish at 500,and you can chalk it up too poor coaching,game planning,game day adjustments,etc.

When the season is over everyone can jump on tanne's back. Go ask the Rams what they think of Sam Bradford? First pick overall and he is avg at best!!!

I have been critical too of Tanny, but let's see a little more. The game this week will be decided by a big play or two. A deep td to Wallace would be nice.

Once he hits one like that the feel for the pass will be stored in muscle memory and also as a mental picture.These people know if they do it once they can do it again or thats how they approach it.

Wow, I must be some kind of Illuminati or something. I've been saying this for 2 months here, but Nobody listened. When you get the ball in your hands, IMMEDIATELY throw it deep to Wallace, he'll run under it. If not, you try it again. Tou'll hit 1 or 2 more of those throws that way than what's been happening up to now.

The kid is spooked about throwing picks. He throws a deep ball next week and a Panther picks it off, the usual suspects will be demanding his scalp.

That said, the key is practice, and to listen to the Dolphins, you'd think this isn't a focus at practices.

Everyone was saying the same thing and doubting
Drew Brees his first THREE seasons, then he took off.
Tannehill has the potential, be patient, and let
him develop.

None threw more picks than Brett Favre, however he also completed some amazing Game winning plays. He's a HOFer, no shame in that at all.

It's "stalag" mando.....lol.

Mark in Toronto....

Since you don't believe me....will you NOW take the coache's words from his own mouth....or better yet....will you listen to Tanne...

There is NO STAT for what your eyes tell you what is happening on the feild...

belive what you see....save the box score for Fantasy Football....

This is not a dig @ Tanne....

but with his helmet on....he looks like a football player...

but every time I see him without his helmet...All I can think abot is Stiffler fro "American Pie"....

The resembelence is uncanny....

This I have been saying also but for a longer time, since last year's pre-season Game when I saw Tannehill make a play. Ryan T is NOT a disciplined, methodical QB, he's naturally a gun slinger, just as Favre was. He DOES have the intelligence to adapt to whatever they require of him, but inborn, he's an attacking, let's go get it now Guy.


I don't agree with tat statement (Gun Slinger)....

Gun Slingers can be reined in...but never fully controlled...they are NATURAL improvisers....

The ONLY comparison I will make with Tanne and Henne...is that they both (while coachable)....seem to lack the improvisational part when things don't go as planned IE...fetal postion sack...when the pocket breaks to soon...

Guys that think on there feet (no pun intended)...Newton...Wilson...they see the man get beat before it happens...anticipate it if you will....and sometimes...even move in or out of the pocket in a way that helps the struggling OL man...and still keep their eyes down feild....

Tanne has scrambled on occasion...and found Hartline...but it seems more of a pained practice...then a natural thing....

The crew the usual suspects are all major a**-h***s on this site, they know who they are right Oscar Dashi Mark in Toronto. Bottom line #17 until proven otherwise can't throw the deep ball period !!

I'm told Tanne is fast....alo I have never witnesed it first hand....

If it is true he is fast...that should be a strength that the we play to...and force the Defense to accout for him...it can open up recievers a bit more as well...

I'm not sayinmg RG3 him...but certainly John Elway him....

make it know that if he gets the edge (and is close to the sideline....that he will run....and make them respect that....

Well, I didn't want to say this, Kris, but you force me to it. Tannehill's intelligence is light years ahead of both Henne and Favre combined, therefore Ryan is more adaptable to coaching.

You have to have a clean pocket to throw deep accurate passes. Deep throws are more about footwork than anything else.

Wallace is giving Miami exactly what was wanted- double coverage on many plays and keeping safeties from cheating up in the run game. Unfortunately, the offensive line play has been so bad that there has been little-to-no opportunity for the Dolphins to take advantage.

However, expecting Wallace to be the same as he was in Pittsburgh was bad thinking. Equally bad is to think he will become something different in Miami.

Tannehill will not make the plays that Roethlisberger made famous; nor will the Dolphins offense resemble the Pitt offense that made Wallace seem like a great player. Further, Wallace has no incentive- with $30M guaranteed- to become anything other than the long ball threat fans cheer for.

This should have been resolved in training camp! I recall Mando's notes from camp indicating the Tannehill/Wallace combo failed to connect on many attempts.

So...everyone knew it was a problem then, and here we are at week 11 and it's still a problem.

...and Tannehill is talking like he was just made aware of it yesterday???

Mando hit the nail on the head with this comment:

"Tannehill, despite given the freedom to rip it, simply hasn't the touch or deep ball accuracy that must be inate to a quarterback to be the launching point for a deep passing game".

If Tannehill had the inate talent to throw the long ball it would have been present day one in training camp.

Now every corner this side of CA will be keying on Wallace, knowing Tannehill will be heaving out a least 3-4 long attemtps to Wallace per game to prove to everyone he can connect with him.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then, and eventually Tannehill/Wallace will connect and it will most likely be the result of the CB slipping on the coverage.

IMO. This is a combination of failures from the O-line, coaching and even the fans. Going back to the class of 83,there was Marino, Elway, Kelly O'Brien. We as fans keep comparing him to Luck, R.G III, Wilson and looking to him as a Marino replacement, he is overplaying his talent and having no o-line does not make it easier. The coaching staff needs to bring in players and set a game plan to develop his talent and in doing so it will boost his confidence. Right now with the sacks, fumbles and interceptions he is playing without any confidence. A lot of what Philbin did was exploiting the defense, looking at this year looks like the running game, slot receiver and TE are the only positions that have had a little success. Not enough time being given for the deep routes to open up. All in all an unconfident, nervous QB.

This blog would be easier to read if posters (Armando included) could spell, use proper punctuation and grammar, form complete sentences, etc. I am the grammar Nazi.
That being said, I think Tannehill will be a very good QB, above average at worst. His deep passing issues are correctable, but he clearly needs to work on his pocket awareness (especially with such a crappy line). Keep in mind that even the great QB's miss some deep throws. I just wish Tannehill would overthrow, rather than under throw. Wallace needs to do his part by catching whatever hits his hands and be more willing to fight for the ball.

um, he " tmiss ",just plain suxx that's y

billcale, if that's the case (that Wallace is giving Miami what they wanted) then that's another HUGE indictment on the GM. First off, Miami has loads of 3-and-out's. So for all the double-teaming he's getting, the offense STILL sputters far too frequently. Second, if he's keeping safeties from cheating up, and the run game is STILL horrid, then again, the GM didn't think out the plan too well if that was his goal.

I happen to disagree. Wallace was given all that money for one reason and one reason alone, to increase the chunk plays and add quick TDs to the offensive weaponry. And that didn't play to the strengths of the QB. And that's why things aren't working. However, per Mando's stats above, Tannehill improved by 16% in deep passes this year, and only needs to improve 16% more to equal Big Ben's stats. So we'll have to wait and see if Tannehill can make that jump in year 3.

Thill overall has a -7 TD's created to turnover ratio, one of the worst over the last two years amongst QB's with 25 starts.

The deep ball problems will always stop Wallace from getting into the game, which is a crying shame.

His mechanics are truly poor when throwing the deep ball. He never steps into those throws, thus they always end up short. Thills footwork is also suspect to say the least. Thills abilty to move around in the pocket and keep the play alive is also weak.

However against the Chargers and at points in the Bucs game Thill threw very well on the run on those rollouts.

Thill also has a very accurate quick hit ball out in the flats and the 10-15 yard zone. He floats the ball deep so often and Im starting to believe it may be confidence rather than his arm strength.

To give evidence of deep ball accuracy one could site the deep ball to Gibson against the Ravens that went for 46 yards.

Thill may have the arm but not the self belief. Either way if its not sorted out by the end of the year, we have to look at a young prospect with the arm and confidence required to use Wallace and take us to the next level.

Don't get me wrong, we as fans have every right to express our concerns about our team and it's strengths and weakness. I come on this site every day and read through all the legit opinions and agree or dis agree but
then again some of us are thick skinned and some are sensitive. Tannehill might be the sensitive type, and all the negativity is getting to him.

Yes, 32 GMs can be wrong. Remember, the entire world thought the earth was flat...
One this is for sure, Moore throws a beautiful deep ball.

We should be encouraged by an article like this. Admitting you have a probelm, is the first step to fixing it. I am surprised Philbin actually answered the question and went into detail. Philbin basically said, what I said earlier in the week. Tannehill just needs to throw the ball a hard as he can and let Wallace try to catch it, this method will produce better than a 17% completion rate

Ok,Thill,Wallace,and the entire team has had numerous OTA's,training camp,five pre-sason games,and ten regular season games,and they are still trying to figure things out? Huh? This coaching staff is pathetic. With all of the talent on this team we will be lucky to finish at 500,and you can chalk it up too poor coaching,game planning,game day adjustments,etc.

Posted by: Mr. Titman | November 21, 2013 at 06:58 AM
Yeah, that's pretty close to what I was thinking. Here we are with 6 games left and NOW it's a concern?
If this doesn't wake up the Philbin apologist, I don't know what will. Zac Taylor is your QB coach, really?
I have to blame Tannehill a little too. He had the greatest QB of all time offer to help but he refused. What a opportunity!

The way Wallace is being used by Sherman also makes it hard to get him deep. Those screens and underneath routes take forever to set up. The Pats fire them off so much quicker and use them, as do the Broncos and Bears.

For a guy that has played in this offense for 5 years Thill seems slow to react to the plays and struggles to find his second read.

If we get a new GM, he will bring in a new coach and OC. Thill will have to start over in another system. Thats the end of Thill as the starter unless he can turn his game around.

Opti, I don't buy that. They are saying the same about RG3 here (that this is the first time has been vilified, etc.). Please, I understand these are kids, but this is a professional sport. And they're being paid millions. If you're THAT sensitive, then you'll never make it in the NFL (a la Jonathan Martin) and it's better to weed you out now.

I don't see Tannehill as being sensitive at all. I think he just isn't as skilled in certain areas as other QBs. He either never will be or has a farther way to climb to get to where he needs to be. I seem him as a middle-of-the-pack QB right now. I think you stick with him another year (maybe 2) as long as he continues to grow, but don't resist drafting another QB if there's one tempting enough to take. It's better to have too many QBs than too few.

And before anyone whines about that tactic since we need so much, I am NOT advocating taking a QB 1st round this upcoming Draft. I want the best lineman we can find with our 1st pick (and maybe 2nd and 3rd too).

I know Ryan T. Is an easy Target when it comes to completing passes to Mike W. I have watched every single play this year and in my opinion Mike is a very big disappoint all by himself. I hear everyone say he was brought in to be the speed guy but guess what, a 60 million dollar contract requires more. I don't see a whole lot if heart when it comes to challenging DB's for the ball. At least try to knock it out of the DB's hands if the pass is under thrown. Can Mike jump, I have yet to see him reach to the highest point on a deep ball to make a play. His hands are always around his chest waiting for the ball to land there like a loaf of bread.
Give some serious effort and I'm willing to bust T' s chops.

Yes Thill has many apologists like Mark in T et al. They all cry foul play as we show Thill's many weaknesses over his period behind center for us.

Philbin and friends really have handcuffed the offense for much of the season because of Thill's limited skills. When he does go deeper than 20 yards, I just hold my breath as the balls look like the old MarcWilson rainbow flutter.

Realistic make a solid point...Wallace is not fighting for the ball like most Alpha receivers do.
The label of him being a one trick pony seems to be accurate and I'd take Brandon Marshall over Mike Wallace ANYDAY!

Where is Thill when he gets drops ??? He should be in the recievers face and give it to them.

Thills leadership skills are non existent. Can anyone show me an occasion where Thill has given a reciever even a look after a drop ? When has Thill gone into a ref for an awful call ? He doesn't have that competitive streak.

Brady for example torn the ref a new one on the last play aginst the Panthers. Earlier in the year he got stuck into his young recievers.

Sure he is a vet now, but he has had that fire early in his career, as Marino did and even Matt Moore has.

In all fairness to T-hill by comparison...anybody know Big Bens #s on 41yd+ passes his first 2 years in the league?

Marco, you want to ask me out on a date? You keep mentioning me here, what's your deal???

And why is Failbin just now addressing this issue, and why does e have to get involved. He is pathetic and his choice for QB and WR coaches is pathetic!

C'mon. Totally my friend. Its Thill Forward Fast all over again. The talent is here to go to the playoffs, but with the coaching and a certain Thill at the helm we can't close anyone out cleanly.

Looking over the season our D has had to go back into the game after so many 3 and outs. I'd like to see the stats on how many we have had only for us to give up TD's.

Our inability to convert on 3rd and short has been a disgrace.

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