The 2013 campaign was a good one for quarterback Ryan Tannehill even though his team missed the playoffs and finished 8-8 on the season. Tannehill is a very solid quarterback, especially for only being in the league for two years.
What must Tannehill improve on to take that next step from good to great? I decided to look at the Patriots game (arguably Tannehill’s best game) to take a closer look at what needs to be changed.
As most of you know, Tannehill was sacked 58 times in 2013, 11 more than any other quarterback in the league. A lot of the blame is placed on the line for not being able to protect Tannehill, he was under pressure 33 percent of the time last year, the 19th worst in the NFL and his sack percentage was 26 percent, the highest in the NFL. So what can he do to fix that?
Tannehill didn’t use his legs nearly as much as he could have and this is a perfect example. He wants to throw the ball deep and doesn’t realize the pocket is collapsing. Tannehill had options here and needs to learn to recognize where his guys are.
This is another good example where Tannehill keeps looking downfield, no matter how good your line is, there will be times where you need to make your own plays (both of these plays resulted in sacks).
Don’t Stare Down a Single Receiver
I kind of hinted at it with his pocket awareness but Tannehill loved to stare down a single receiver. He needs to do a better job at finding the open receiver or even checking down.
This play lasted all of five seconds, the entire time Tannehill was looking at the left side of the field, he had time to step up and check out the whole field. He could of seen that wallace had about five yards of separation between him and the DB. Instead, the ball was almost picked off.
This play just screams “NO!” to Tannehill. He stares down Rishard Matthews who has three guys ready to make a play on the ball, he could easily hit Hartline (not highlighted) or his check down, either would pick up the first down. Luckily, Tannehill overthrew his target and it fell incomplete.
The Deep Ball
Everyone and their mother knows that this is an issue; Tannehill has a very inconsistent deep ball. For this, I tried to stay away from Mike Wallace. I know that Wallace is made for the deep ball, but for every Tannehill missed throw… you can find one that Wallace could have adjusted to and caught. Instead, I found two plays back to back that describe his deep ball perfectly.
This was an absolute beauty thrown by Tannehill to Matthews. 30 yards downfield to only where Matthews could catch it. Matthews lays out and makes an outstanding catch. Good throw, good catch.
The ball is a little hard to see here but it is about five yards ahead of a wide open Hartline. It was about the same distance as the Matthews throw, but maybe even easier. It seems that Tannehill tries too hard to hit an open wide receiver, instead of just throwing the ball and letting his receiver catch it. His deep ball accuracy was 17th in the league even though his receivers dropped five passes that would qualify as “deep”.
Plenty of fans have fallen off the Tannehill bandwagon, but if he can improve these three parts of his game, he could easily be a top ten quarterback in the NFL. Year three will either make or break Ryan Tannehill.