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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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Another one of your theories, any qb that increases his turnover rate isn't goint to get it done....

Peyton's touchdowns to turnovers regressed in year 4 v year 3

Brees had a worse td to turnover rate in year 3 v year 2

Rivers did the same in year 4 v year 3

Romo in year 4 v year 3

Stafford in year 4 v year 3

Big ben in year 3 v year 2

Flacco this year v last

On and on and on

Fact is Tannehill's touchdowns and yards per game, even yards per attempt are growing at a much faster rate than his (fumbles + ints) per game.

23rd in yards per attempt....


I have to agree with Popeye...stop getting sucked in Mark. He is only going to get under your skin. THill will be fine, just needs better coaching and better play calling.

17th in completion percentage....

even tho he is throwing some of the SHORTEST PASSES per attempt in the league...


How's that for a metric...

Kris is always silent when Tannehill is playing well or making a 4th quarter come back.

Kris is nowhere to be found when Tannehill makes clutch throws.

Kris magically appears as soon as Tannehill falters.

Kris is dying to be right and let us know.

C'mon Phins, I do not know the stats on how 40+ yards Big Ben had in his first 2 years, but if you are doing a comparison, at that time Big Ben set a NFL record for most wins by a rookie. They went 15-1 his rookie season and went 11-5 with a SB win in his second season. So the comparison is way off.

Also, after the Pre snap adjustments none of those other guys make more than 1 read after the snap. R.Wilson makes Two, but he can't make 3 because usually only 2 people go out on patterns in the Seahawks offense. Everyone else blocks.

Those guys have already reached their potential in their offense.

Why do you think Defenses have adjust to them? Why do you think RG3 is Pissed?

N.Foles is another one that is told what to do from the sideline.

Kris--ultimately I think we're at about the same place--I'd give TH a 3rd year to get to a top 12-15 QB ranking/rating, and I'd draft a QB in the first few rounds in this upcoming draft to develop/push him if he doesnt--thats a reasonable/realstic way to approach it, to me. Moore's contract is up next year anyway I think, so we'll need quality QB depth regardless.


You are just making things up....

If Tanne does wel...I praise him period....

If he is Meh (like last game)....I credit him with a win....and call him meh.....

If he is terrible....then pehaps I do go a bit overboard....but I...I expect more from him....

Posted by: WashPhinFan | November 21, 2013 at 01:02 PM

My name is Darkoak and I approve of this blogger.

Coaching, coaching, coaching. Improve that and Tannehill is going to look real good.

Kris, pass attempts per game? 14th.

Those who always suggest drafting one player to push another are clueless. If it takes another player to push you, you would never have made it as far as you did. Players don't push you, the coaches do.

..Dashi @ 12:45.Great post. That is the riddle in a nutshell. IMO it will make or break Tannehill(the choice the staff has made as far as Tannehills roe in the offense)..

To me it is a mistake how Tannehill has been brought along. It may prove to be brilliance if the coaches, and Tannehill can maneuver their way through the learning curve. But it could also spell doom, if things over a short period of time do not improve. It will be easy to look back and point to the type of offense Philbin wants to run and say..This was a mistake...

This is were I sit right now..You and I have debated this since the offseason. The idea of the type of offense I would like to see, and the type of offense we are going to get. At this time I think it is easy to say that my points(we need to run it, 2 tight ends, fullback..more conservative offense) may have been the right approach.

Since this isn't in Philbins DNA(apparently) he is going to live and die by his vision. This is perfectly fine. Tannehill may grow into the perfect quarterback for this offense. We may be taken to the edge of the cliff as far as proof of concept. They(Tanny,Philbin) either drive off Thelma and Louise style. Or they will Bugs Bunny it, and pull it off...

Kris @ 1:03, then Tom Brady must stink then for having a lower completion % and lower yards per attempt than Tannehill???

How's that for a metric???


I don't take your words and twist them...and to the best of my knowledge...I fon't right know falsehoods about your take on subjects....

f I don't know...I say so....

If I believe I do know....then I will continue...but with an open mind...and am open to others views...

I haven't written the book on Tanne....as far as I m concerned...he writes it himself with each game....

I don't have a title yet...

but this is becomming one of those movies that the best parts were all in the pre-views...

and fewer completions per game, fewer tds per game, fewer yards per game....


Kris is the one who wanted McNabb, Flynn, Orton and get this...Herm Edwards as coach!!!!

And you are debating this guy like he has a clue?

Mark...post YOUR LINK....

I POSTED mine....

nothing to hide....and no dig n the fight....


Just in case you missed it....

now show me yours...

Thill will be fine squad, why ? It won't be look at his regression.

People are fooling you with their stato comparison of other amazing QB's from the NFL elite.

Comparisons are fine but please Thill and Brees, Manning, Marino I've heard it all.

People did the same with Cam Cameron and told me the following on year one coaches....

Bill Walsh: 2-14
JJ: 1-15
Chuck Noll: 1-13.

I was told Cameron is fine, back off, shut up he is fine.

No your attempts to link Thill with all these great players is pathetic. Try sticking to Thill now.

Leader of the next to last offense in the ENTIRE NFL
Ranked 22nd in the league QBR
Turnover ratio increase on his rookie year.
Thill has zero leadership ability on or off the field

Marco....we're with you, got it....but offer a realistic Plan B that Miami could implement quickly, with a good bit of confidence.....dont keep saying "not Option A/not Tannehill".....give us a better/realistic Option B, that would improve this team, dramatically, by Sept 1, 2014--I feel they should draft a QB by Rd 3 this year, so a good/solid prospect, but to expect that guy to step right in a play at a high level is foolish--yes, a few have recently, but the overall stats arent promising--at best, that QB would likely take a year or 2 to develop-is that what you're saying you'd want, and be ok with?

T-hill with some better coaching has all the tools. Game will slow down and his confidence will grow. Saw some improvisation last week as he started scrambling. That was the most encouraging thing I have seen all season from him. when the play breaks down it can creat an opporutniyt for a big play.

Would like him to step up and make this his team from leadership stance. Still think you draft a QB in first 3 rounds to push him next season.

lol @ Mark @ 1:10 PM

Truth hurts...go get em!


Would you like to take a moment to inform the blog of your height and weight again?

There we go comparing Brady to Thill.

Ok Thill is as good as Brady mate. I'll give it to you.

Three rings are just a gimick for him.


I always find it funny thatm the first uys to say..."on't compare Tanne to Brady...Manning...Rodgers...Brees".....

WILL ALWAYS use a Manning...Bray...Rodgers...Brees"....when they have a bad game...or down year....

When Tanne has appeared in his 6th SB and is approaching 40....then perhaps we can decide if he Sucks (that year)....or if it is an anomally...

can we do that....

Tell me this,

What NFL team would pay any of you a even a nickel for your opinions?

Some of you talk like you actually know something.

Come back after you've spent 40 hours a week for 5 years watching film with professional coaches and players. Then maybe we care.

While you all sit around finding stats to support your arguments, Bill Belichek says stats are meaningless.

So where does that leave you all?

Kris, there is no actual link because pass attempts per game is something i took the time to calculate by bringing in the info from different pages on ESPN. But I can tell you who all the QBs are that have more attempts per game than Tannehill and you can test a couple and tell me if there are errors...

1 Matthew Stafford, QB DET 41.9
2 Peyton Manning, QB DEN 40.9
3 Drew Brees, QB NO 40.6
4 Matt Ryan, QB ATL 40.4
5 Ben Roethlisberger, QB PIT 38.3
6 Tom Brady, QB NE 38.0
7 Joe Flacco, QB BAL 37.7
8 Sam Bradford, QB STL 37.4
9 Andy Dalton, QB CIN 37.3
10 Robert Griffin III, QB WSH 37.2
11 Tony Romo, QB DAL 37.0
12 Matt Schaub, QB HOU 36.9
13 Josh Freeman, QB MIN/TB 36.8
14 Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA 36.6

Thill will be fine ? Thill will be Thill is another way of looking the other way and hiding from reality guys.

When a mediocre player gets so much love and acceptance I really have a hard time thinking that this is throughout the fan base.

No wonder we keep weak coaches and players around here for so long, is that we allow sb par players to stay here and get a pass.

Maybe thats why Ireland is still on board. Sure keep Sherman too right 31st in the league on offense with his captain Thill isn't that bad is it. We could be the Jags of course.

Henne fans are the same guys who I debated with it seems on this Thill Ride that you are clinging too.

Thill Forward Fast.


I agree ith you....

I think we SHOULD draft one...but if this regime is around...I highly doubt it will happen...

Perhaps competition via FA is the best option...wether it be real...or percieved....

And all you stat fans would be happy with the King of Stats Marino?

Stats mean nothing. Proof positive. So give it up.

What time is the incognito hearing?

I'd take Peyton over Brady any day. He is the best QB of his generation. Still only 1 ring.

And some of you are riding RT half way through his second season.


What you gossip queens lack is perspective,

Is it a team game or isn't it?

One minute it is a one man show, the QB...well how did that work out in the Marino years?

The next minute it is a team game.

So try to stay focused. Mental masturbbbbb causes blindness.

Kris, I've always said you shouldn;t compare qbs of the same class to each other because I'm like, who cares??? What if it's a bad class or and extremely great one, it doesn't tell you enough.

What I do is compare Tannehill to EVERY Qb and see where he ranks. My finding puts him at about middle of the road among QBs who have started at least half their team's games. Not in the junk pile and not in the who, we're going to the super bowl pile. He ranks well abover average in some metrics and well below average in others ... in the end, he converges in the middle which makes him better than any rookie that will come out next year (miles better than EJ Manuel and Geno Smith right now) and also better than any QB you are likely to get in trade or free agency (he's been better overall than Alex Smith or Carson Palmer).

That's all I've said about the kid right now. Of course I keep assessing this on a weekly basis. I'm probably more obsessed than I should be about it. Also explains why I lose my temper when people make arbitraty statements and try to use it as support for an argument.

Here is the real deal....

I don't even think Tanne sucks....

I think he is meh....and I want him o push pass meh...to prety good...

is that really asking to much...

should that reallypush another blogger who I disagree with to change his name 10 times to attack me...

I have nothing against you Dashi....

We disagree...it happens....

Nice to see you have backed of comparing Thill to Brees, Brady and Manning in your dreamworld.

Now we get an ESPN breakdown of attempts.

You already told us that Thill is only 7th in the NFL at turning the ball over per attempt mate.

In that group we have a rookie with weaker supporting cast that Thill, an injured QB playing on one leg and two QB's that have SB rings and are SB MVP's.

We should rejoice Thill is only the seventh worst in the entire league.


I think you and I hane both painted each other into corners...in n effort to make the other person out to be something (or say something) he is not (didn't say)....

I am nuetral on Tanne...leaning toward "not worth it"....

think you are a bit more on his side...but perhaps not totally sold...judging from your 1:27....

I enjoy the debate....but I don't want it to get out of hand...and each game gives us new material to asses...

Dime 9

Bill went on to say regarding stats:

"I’m not saying they’re not significant, they are, but the ones that correlate the highest to winning, you still have to consider them as the most important.”

So stats aren’t necessarily for losers. As long as the stats in question correlate to the Patriots becoming winners.

Thought that was nice.

Dime 9,

Put some evidence into your arguement without any stats ever, ever, ever use them to me or any other blogger mate.

Have us all gasping for breath with your Qualitative Critique of Thill and his efforts so far.

More popcorn and lil bit of butter required. We have a new Dashi folks.

Tannehill cant scramble and cant throw a bomb accurately to save his life, how he was drafted number 8 boggles my mind. Now we are trying to teach him something he should have been taught in high school or earlier? This is worse then chad henne era, bordering on Ray lucas era. We will be moving on to a new qb not soon enough. He just doesn't have it period and never will explanation point.

Belichek showed his team of a play in 2009 where the call went for them. He didn't shoe the play in 2010 where the same exact play, like the other night went against them.

Belichek like all coaches, never give any real information to the public. Just rhetoric to tease them and make them look foolish, much like you do.

mark how does it feel 2 b back in the 1st grade?
and how do u like u'r new principle marco?

Agreed, I think Tanny will be traded after this season. Its clear he cant carry a team.


Well, (leaning forward pushing up my glasses to my bridge), thanks for the input.

Your neutral regarding Thill. Neither for nor against him being our starter. Hardly a vote of confidence them ?

For a guy that likes stats as I 22nd is not the middle of 32 my friend.

As for EJ Manuel, well he is rated higher than Thill, as a rookie in a new system, with a first year HC and he has a lower turnover per game ratio.

Please don't compare QB's if you can my friend.

Compare Thill to Ryan Leaf or Jamarcus Russell and you will wipe the floor with us Thill detractors.


Exactly my point.

This offense is a good offense. It is a complete Offense. The problem isn't that T-Hill can't run the Offense. The problem is that we don't have all the players to run this offense at a high level.

Agreed. Philbin and Co. Want to run before they can crawl. They should've started more conservative cause the players we have on the offensive line don't allow us to send 4-5 guys out on routes. We should at least have 6-7 guys blocking on every pass play.

You know my vision for this Offense. 4 Wide WCO with Spread-Option sprinkled in every once in a while.

We don't even need more skilled position players. WE NEED LINEMEN.


(I know how every one hates that term around here.)

This offense should be running to almost its full potential, with a better O-Line.

QB- Tannehill
RB-L.Miller and some Rookie
WR-Wallace, Hartline, Gibson, Matthews
TE-Keller, Egnew, Sims

If Ireland can find another decent TE (6'5" 260 4.6-4.7-40, OK blocking) in the Mid Rounds then maybe we shouldn't keep Keller. But I would have loved to see what Keller and Clay would've done in this offense together.

With that said, Ireland is not the problem!!

The man is doing his job!!

This team only has 1 weakness left. The O-Line. And we have enough Cap and Draft picks to fix that 1 weakness this off season.

Funny thing is people on here kept saying you don't need an O-Line to have a good Offense in the NFL.

11 players on Offense, 5 of them are O-Linemen, 1 of them is the QB. You tell me the importance of O-Linemen to an NFL Offense.

(Last part wasn't towards you DD, just part of my tangent)


That is that correct...


Are you suggesting we trade, cut or draft competition for T-hill? Are you suggesting draft a QB in first round ( mid round Pick) with a defense that is now below average and definitely a below average o-line. Free agency looks bleak as maybe cutler? no thanks.

He could have used a year or two to sit but was not afforded that. How about coaches do a better job.

Same stats as Luck except ½ pick more/ game but better completion. Same yards.

Needs to better on 3 rd down and 4 Qtr but comparing him to Henne is wrong. I think you draft a QB in 3 rd round with upside and give T-hill one more year before his next contract


Mark it Toronto has CLEARLY pointed out MULTIPLE times that Tom Brady is a BAD deep ball passer. And is considered one of the greatest of all time. Someone with this type of vision and ability to RESEASRCH stats should TAKE OVER YOUR BLOG





I understand you have Extremely high standards(Marino) into what a Dolphin QB should look like in order for you to say he is great. And you want Great not good from a Dolphins QB.

It is like me with RBs. If you aren't Ricky William like, I wouldn't even consider using the word great on you. R.Bush will never be great in my Book when it took him 8 seasons to match K.Abdul-Jabbars record for 1000yd seasons in a Career. And he might retired tied with him.

From Dashing Dashi,

"Exactly my point.

This offense is a good offense. It is a complete Offense.

Currently ranked 31st in the NFL.

We just dont have the players to run it etc.... thats his line.

Thats such a weak response. Put it all on the players. The coaching staff and the GM picked these players to fit around Thill for the Texas A&M show.

We put Thill in place to run the same system he has been in for 6 years now and we are next to last in the NFL.

We have had some injury problems and our O-line has made changes, but so does every team in the NFL mate, its part of the deal. Next man up.

The QB has the keys to the Offense and his abilty tends to be a massive part of its success or failure. We can't run because the D play 8 in the box and dare us to throw.

Most teams dare us to run because our QB is extremely limited in his skill set.

How happy is Reggie Bush to be off this crap franchise? lol


Look up per attempt, not per game.

That is silly making the per game argument. What about If T-Hill averages 30+ attempts a game and the other player averages 20 attempts a game. After 10 games the defense would've had 100 more chances to try and create a turnover.

So you see how ridiculous your per game argument sounds.

My opinion on Tannehill, Ireland, and this coacing staff will have a lot to do with the last 6 games. 9-7 and a wild card, bring them all back. Another 7-9 year, its time to look for different options.

I generally like him and think he will become a top 10 qb, but I could see why people have their doubts. I strongly disagree with whoever is saying he is Henne, White, or Beck.

People who are declaring him a bust already like its set in stone are wrong imo. Just as they could say I'm wrong for waying he has top 10 potential.

The turnovers are an issues, but hes on pace for 4,300 total yards and 25 total TDs. Thats the kind of improvement I was looking for along with the 61.2% completion percentage.

Kris, i agree with you @ 1:31. The only thing tannehill has proven so far is that he is NOT the problem with this team. He is not holding them back from anything. For this team to be relevant, he has to get better, the team around him needs to get better. The only thing he's earned in my estimation is the opportunity to improve.

I'm not voting him to the pro bowl nor am I pushing for a high pick on a qb like I was in 2011 with Ryan mallett (for all those that think i loved Henne too). You and I were both on the Mallett express that year Kris.

Because at some point middle of the road is not good enough anymore ...

GREAT article Mando, your persistance paid off to the point where the players who actually have to make the deep pass happen are actually trying a new approach. your constructive reporting drew attention to a flaw and moved people to act, and since the physical tools(arm strength and speed) are already in place, it is only a matter of time until miami finally achieves what we have coveted for quite some time. sometimes the simple things are overlooked, and i believe this to be the case, WALLACE'S ability to turn on the jets and chase that overthrown ball down is the asset that ross paid for, it's time to cash in on that investment. and from reading your article, we know at the very least that they are practing to make the deep ball a reality...who would have thought that a column writer would be able to make such an impact?? the simple stuff right? it seems like that has to be the remedy, that's what it looks like to me on sunday's. you know when your triming a tree, sometimes you just have to step back and get the WHOLE picture, when triming a tree, if you never step a way from that tree to look at it from the perspective that yourself or other people will be viewing it after it has been cut, you may find it to look really bad. an outside perspective may be all that wallace and tanny needs.

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