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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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Wow, this guy just loves giving me attention.... you know I am not the girl in my profile pic, right???

s morris?? kid is horrible. be shocked if hes even drafted

6th rd pick for thigpen

I agree dusty but some people have a 2nd round grade on him. It would be a wasted pick if you ask me. Guy plays like he doesn't even understand the object of the game. The U with a halfway decent Qb this year would've been the 2nd best team in the ACC this year.

MIT, I believe Aaron Murray can go as high as late 1st rd. No one virtually ever heard of Matthew Stafford(Georgia) until it got closer to draft day. Stafford didn't lead Georgia to National Titles, not even a SEC Title.

I can so see the same thing happening with this Georgia qb too. I see Murray as a possible late 1st rd pick. Possibly even mid 1st rd.

Should've traded for the old White Sox closer instead... Bobby Thigpen.

Or even the old arse Steeler WR, Yancy Thigpen. Either would've been better.

Sam, not so sure it happened with Stafford that way. The buffalo bills guys near here had their Stafford watch on that year from November I remember. he was heralded for sure.

BUt Murray, def see him as the best in that next tier after the top ten pick guys. (well from the guys I've seen play - better pro prosect than McC or Morris)

MIT, Stephen Morris will go undrafted. I've seen ZERO in his college career that would impress me enough to use a 7th rd pick on him if I were an NFL gm.

Sam, not going to find me disagreeing on Morris at all. Prototype size and arm strength don't mean squat if even the college game moves too fast for you...

no chance mark, kiper had him 6-7 rd at best. most likely wont even be taken

MIT, about Stafford, same as with Murray. Never won any titles at Georgia, yet, NFl scouts fell in love with their size and arm strength.

Murray looks like a Stafford clone to me. I could be wrong, it's just my gut feeling.


A System QB on an NFL team playing against college players. That is what I call A.J.

Agreed. If my team had real Bad QB problems. Then I might take him in the 3rd on intangibles alone. The Jags, The Vikings, Maybe the Browns. Nah, not the Browns. A.J will suffer bad in Cold Weather. He doesn't have the Arm to throw against the Wind.

But the Dolphins don't need to waste a 3rd rd Pick on AJ. For that use the same 3rd rd pick on Murray. Murray is a guy that can benefit from sitting a year and has the Arm Talent to battle any QB with a little bit of seasoning.

Instead of wasting a 3rd on McCarron or Murray, I would rather spend a 5th on S.Morris and have him sit for a couple seasons as I slowly develop him into a 2nd rd pick that I can get in a couple of seasons.

Have him beat out our #3 his first season and beat out our #2 his 2nd.

The Fins need to concentrate on the Line and getting 1 more LB with their first 4 Picks next season.

The Draft should look something like this.

1- LT
2- RT
3- RG
4- LB
5- TE
7- LG

4-7 don't need to be day 1 starters. We just really need more depth at those position.

I believe J.Jenkins will start at LB next season over P.Wheeler.

hardly any nfl qbs win titles in college

MIT, I said to Dashi I would use a 3rd rd pick on McCarron simply because he could still be available. I mean, look what we've been getting for our money with 3rd rd picks in Miami anyway?

So why not use it on qb that after this college season may have won 3 STRAIGHT National Titles. At least it shows we were swinging for the fences with only a 3rd rd pick.

As you can see if I was Ireland I wouldn't even draft a Qb for this team next year because we have way bigger needs. And our backups will do at least for 1 more season.

Dashi, I'm a big jenkins believer too. Guy can ball and has shown it when he's in there. Wish we would see more of him. ALso questioning why give Misi that extension. The Dolphins would be able to go sideline to sideline easily with Ellerbe flanked by Jordan and Jenkins.

Jenkins with a 4.5, jordan and ellerbe run a 4.6. Adn all three can play...

Hate to emulate Omar but, SMH....

And I wuld also like to see the OL helped primarily through free agency and trade. I hate using draft picks strictly for need....

Sam, I'm not so keen on using a draft pick on a qb but i think 3rd round on is a crap shoot anyway ...

Dashi, I HIGHLY DOUBT Murray will be around in the 3rd. It would not surprise me in the least if Murray goes 1st rd.

Personally, I never thought Stafford(Georgia qb too) would have any NFL success. Murray reminds m of Stafford a Georgia. Neither won any kind of titles.

But, like Stafford, seems the scouts are having an infatuation with the kid. Like Stafford, I believe he'll go 1st, no later than UPPER 2nd rd.

MIT maybe extending Misi makes him more tradable. He doesn't have a huge contract. Only thing is, when Misi isn't in we have no one capable of setting the edge on that side.

But, if Jordan can be that guy, it really opens up that option of trading Misi.

Ture that Misi's cap hit is never huge, right around $2M every year. We can even use him as an extra linebacker at that cost and not have it matter much.

I would like to see a lot more Jordan/Jenkins though. jenkins is a very similar player to Sio Moore who i also liked out of UConn and starting and playing well for the Raiders.

Salguero me thinks T-Hill should not be changing how he attacks deep throws,in fact he shouldnt be attacking any throws.Thats what the offensive line should be doing to opponents on running plays.
T-Hill probably has slippery skin and should wear the Quarterback gloves that the fish provide for their get.
If you need any more suggestions let me know amigo.

Vernon has 5.5 sacks in 10gms. Puts him on pace for 8-9 sacks for the season. If someone told me Vernon would have 8 sacks his 2nd season, I would gladly accept that number.

Posted by: Mark in Toronto | November 21, 2013 at 03:59 PM

Fully agree.

Sam, yeah Vernon has produced at that 2nd DE spot for sure. Another reason to leave Jordan be at OLB...

Just put Matt Moore in on deep plays like 3rd and longs.

Kiper had Tannehill going in the 3rd rd. Ireland should've listened.


Agreed. Jenkins and D.Jordan will look great flanking Ellerbe. Misi would be by #4 and Wheeler would be cut.

Misi and Jordan bring you versatility because they can play OLB and DE.

Jenkins and Ellerbe can play MLB or OLB. And will both be on the field in my Nickel Package.

tannehill was next 2 picks if mia passed on him


Agreed. Off of Arm Talent Alone Murray will be a First Round Pick.

Murray has a lot of flaws.

But what Murray has that scouts love is that he has ran a Pro Offense for 4 years and can throw it thru a wall.

Murray right now would be Top 5 in the NFL in Arm Strength.

Top 5, in no particular order.


Now arm strength doesn't make you a great QB. But every coach loves a guy with a big arm. They feel all they have to do is Coach him up. Murray gives you that and that he already has some experience running a Pro Offense. You don't have to only use Chapter 1 of your playbook. You just have to chip away at a couple of his flaws. Teach him how to read defenses better. The Talent is there.


Ellerbe has been an amazing disappointment for the money we paid him.

He rarely gets to the point of attack quickly enough and can't cover to save his life.

Jordan looks like he may be a great player if given some reps, but its almost impossible to say how Jenkins or Jordan will be unless they get a shot. Philbin won't get them out on the field when healthy, just as he does with the offensive players.

The rookie DB's are still on the bench while Carroll gets toasted. CB is the biggest concern on D for me a the moment.

Our LB's aren't that great but after Grimes our D backfield is terrible.

Because our O is so people forget how bad our LB's and DB's have covered and tackled this season.

Marco I believe Philbin is using the "GB-way". GB never starts rookies unless a ton better than "expeinced player" ahead of them.

Jordan's most likely a starter next year. The others will see their playing time increased. It's the GB-way.


We know, Tannehill Sucks!! Fire Ireland!!

Like I said, Stick to that.

Ellerbe is getting paid half of what Dansby was getting paid, and is doing just as well a job if not better and still has the potential to get better the more he plays in this defense and builds more chemistry with his teammates. MLB is the player that has the most to do in any defense. They are the QB of the defense. Reason they wear the green dot on their helmet on defense. They call the plays for the DC. They make all the pre snap adjustments.

Ellerbe is getting paid what Burnett was getting paid. He is getting paid middle of the road for a MLB.

Well Sam,

Nolan Carroll is getting toasted the flame grilled way and costs us points.

Fair enough to slowly introduce them, but lets see what they have to offer ?

Given the play of Wheeler and Carroll shouldn't we at least see if the rookies can outlpay them, or at least give us enough evaluation playing time for next years draft ?

Thats right Dashit.

Ellerbe has been a real slide from the level of play we got from Dansby.

Wheeler, well he is up there with Jackie Shipp, man he can't cover or tackle. Against the Chargers he was a little better but throughout the year he has been another disappointment.

Jenkins, not sure. I thought he would get more time on 3rd and long as he was highly rated coming out off Florida as one of the best coverage LB's.

ALL BETS ARE OFF WITH A LOUSEY O-LINE! everything gets better when they get better… running, pass protecting, ball possession - ergo - defense being fresh, points scored, points allowed, qb not talking to himself with a tin hat on… and lets not forget about WINS. Fins addressed 9 of 13 positions in the last off season… I think they can dedicate themselves to 3 more on the o-line in the next.

I was willing to go along for the ride with Chad Henne's development. It was both frustrating and disappointing when it didn't happen. Nowadays a quarterback should show more than what Tannehill has through almost two full seasons. Wake me up when the he's "franchise quarterback" is in town, and he's performing like a star, the way a franchise quarterback should. Mechanics this, pocket presence that, deep ball accuracy bla bla bla.

Tannereach is a bust.

How many pick six's has he had dropped this season.

At least two by my count would have been game over.

The guy is what ? 2-9 in fourth quarter comebacks ?

Wait, his yardage is up from last season, qbr too.

STFU already, he blows.

Jets, Bills and Patriots sweep the Dolphins.

Dashi eats his aqua and orange turds.

This guy will find a way to sugarcoat anything.

Must be mentally ill.

If the Dolphins don't win another game.

He'll blog about what great cap shape Ireland has put the team in, and this is why he should keep his job.

Ellerbe has been a colossal bust, same as the rest of the free agent pick ups and arguably the worst draft class in franchise history, 2013.

Go away stupid, you have no credibility.

Mark In Toronto has way too much time on his hands.

Great post 'Mando,but honestly I believe that T-Hill just doesn't trust his own right arm; a lack of self-confidence perhaps. Anyway, let's hope T-Hill figures this thing out this Sunday. Go Fins!

T Hill needs to trust the arm but, more importantly, read a defense. That is is weakest attribute right now. I watched the INT versus SD last week and he should have recognized the safety help on Hartline. Meanwhile, Clay was wide open on the opposite side of the field and probably could have ran for a first down and more. It happens on most of his INT's. Read and check off Tanny!

for those of you who think that thill is not accurate you are wrong. i believe he has thrown the ball great this year. yes he could use a little work with mike wallace, but i think besides that he is slinging the ball around very nicely. oh by the way, iim not sure if you missed it, but he has been told by both philbin and sherman to stay in the pocket this year. our coaches want him to stay in the pocket and learn how to throw between the tackles. that is the resin he is not moving too much. i agree he could use some better pocket 'awareness' but all in all i think he is doing a nice job. watch some other QBs around the league. guys like stafford and cutler half the time are just throwing up jump balls and their guys are catching them. we don't have guys who can do that so every throw has to be on the money, and IMO for the most part they are. also lets not forget that the line is terrible and we have no running game. its his second year guys, i think he will be fine, you just have to give him some time. he has all the tools, now he just needs to apply them. i also think that our coaches are stressing to not turn the ball over and it shows. thill looks like he's a little tight sometimes like he doesn't want to make a mistake. right now he's learning how to play QB, eventually he will start playing football, moving and throwing with a looseness. remember aaron rodgers his first couple years, he was getting sacked a lot and playing very tight. thill looks like he's playing the same way. philbin knows what he's doing. let him work. and get behind him for christ sake. everybody knew we weren't going to win the Super Bowl this year, with all the new pieces and what not. he's a second year QB. he will improve. oh and for those of you who think that he doesn't have the arm, you must not be watching the kid throw, he has a cannon.

"Tannehill should spend five minutes watching the Dan Fouts highlight film on YouTube ...
THAT is how you throw the deep ball ..."
LMAO! Tannehill is not nor ever will be Dan Fouts. Kinda insulting to even mention his name in the same sentence.

1 GM can be wrong. 5 can be wrong. 32 can't be wrong. Certainly no bloggers opinion trumps theirs.

Posted by: Ian | November 21, 2013 at 06:21 AM

Au Contraire, Ian. 32 teams were wrong for 5 + rounds about Mr Tom Brady, 3 rounds about mr Russell Wilson, and could name 50 more.
do agree that once a guy (Moore) has played significant games, THAT plays a huge part in an evaluation. Yet Rich Gannon, unwanted by all but the Raiders after 9 years was MVP of the league that year.
My point being there are no absolutes. In the right offense, Moore is good enough to win a Super Bowl.

Where a training camp and 4 preseason games and 10 regular season games into the season and the kid still has problems throwing the deep ball? Armando was right he missed Hartline allot last year deep. Has Tannehill ever thrown a ball where all us Dolphin fans say wow??? Maybe the ball to Clay last year.

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