Ryan Tannehill 6’4″ 222 lbs Texas A&M
Entering his third season in the NFL, this will be a very key year in understanding who Ryan Tannehill really is as an NFL quarterback. Hovering around the middle of the pack for the past two years, Tannehill has to show some improvements this season in order to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins don’t just signs this year, they wanted to see measurable improvements this year to last. Some of those improvements he should be showing is his accuracy and efficiency, getting the ball out quickly and on time, and how to take what is being given to him by the defense.
1. Tannehill has to improve the consistency of this accuracy this year. In his previous two years, Tannehill has struggled with being a consistently accurate quarterback. In his rookie year, Tannehill had a 58.3 completion percentage and last year he was at 60.4 percent. It was an improvement but clearly shows that he needs to be more consistent.
In the picture above, you can see that Tannehill places the ball perfectly where only Brian Hartline can catch it. He placed above the linebacker, and on the opposite shoulder, away from the cornerback. Tannehill obviously has all the arm talent he needs to be successful in the NFL, he just needs to throw the ball with this kind of accuracy, as opposed to over and under throwing Mike Wallace on deep bombs.
He also needs to improve his quarterback rating. He has had ratings of 76.1 and 81.7 in his two years. Again he improved his quarterback rating, but it is not good enough to be able to lead the Dolphins to the playoffs. The vast majority of starting playoff quarterbacks have at least an 85 quarterback rating. If Tannehill can add another 5.6 rating boost from year two to year three like he did in between rookie and second season, then that would put him at 87.3, which would mean the Dolphins would likely be in serious playoff contention.
2. Another issue that Tannehill has struggled with is throwing the ball on time. In the West Coast offense, it is all about timing and if the quarterback cannot get the ball out on time, then the offense won’t function as it should. Granted Tannehill’s offensive line was terrible last year and it was very difficult at times to execute, Tannehill caused anywhere from seven to twelve sacks last year because he held on the ball too long. That is an issue that is imperative to clean up
In this picture, Tannehill is throwing a timed quick slant to Mike Wallace. After his three step drop, Tannehill should be cocking his arm back to release the ball the instant his back foot hits. As you can see from the picture, both of his hands are still on the ball, which led to an incompletion.
When Tannehill gets the ball out of his hands, he can be a very efficient and effective quarterback, like in the San Diego Chargers game, the second New England Patriots game, and even the Atlanta Falcons games last year. But when Tannehill hesitates for whatever reasons, like in both Buffalo Bills games and the last New York Jets game, the Dolphins’ offense struggles and Tannehill plays very poorly. The faster Tannehill makes his decision and gets the ball out of his hands, the better this offense will be this year.
3. Finally, Tannehill needs to take what the defense gives him. Too many times in the previous two years Tannehill has forced a throw to a wide receiver when the running back was open, or stood in the collapsing pocket when he could have stepped up in the pocket to make the throw, or ran through an open lane in the rushing defensive for a first down instead of forcing a throw.
In this picture, the Tannehill has an open pocket to step up into with an open receiver to his right. But instead he is sitting back in the pocket, looking to his left. He also could have ran to his left as well, but instead he forced the pass to the left with the result being an incomplete pass. And in the picture below is the passes by direction by Tannehill from PFF. As you can see, Tannehill is efficient and effective in the intermediate routes, passes to his right, and down field passes to his left. (and as a side note, if Tannehill passed better deep his left, why didn’t former offensive coordinator Mike Sherman put Wallace on the left side more often?)
While this is a fixable problem for Tannehill, Bill Lazor and the coaching staff need to train him to get through his progressions quickly and make his decision of whether to throw or take off running instead of holding onto the ball and taking an unnecessary sack.
If Tannehill can improve on these three areas, look for Tannehill to have around a 63 percent completion percentage, an 85 to 87 quarterback rating, 4,200 to 4,400 yards, 24-28 touchdowns and lower his interceptions to eight twelve. That would be a very nice improvement for Tannehill and the passing attack, and it would most likely mean that the Dolphins would be in playoff contention, if not vying for a better playoff seed.
Projected Depth Chart:
Starter: Ryan Tannehill
Backup: Matt Moore
Third Stringer: Pat Devlin