Ryan Tannehill Is Not the Problem for the Miami Dolphins Offense, so What Is?
Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
It doesn't look pretty in the box score, where the rookie quarterback went 11-for-27 for 112 yards and an interception, but Tannehill was not the problem.
Look to the Dolphins' shaky corps of pass-catchers for a majority of Friday's biggest miscues.
Tight end Anthony Fasano dropped three passes, including one would-be touchdown on a simple four-yard pattern. The other receivers combined for three more drops on Tannehill's watch, with wide receiver Legedu Naanee accounting for two of them.
This goes beyond Naanee and Fasano, though.
The pass-catchers have been considered a weakness by anyone who's been paying attention and/or watching Hard Knocks. Why else would the Dolphins go after Chad Ochojohnson?
Essentially, what Jeff Ireland is saying is, "Will the real wide receivers please stand up?"
It's only the preseason, but early indications are that the Dolphins don't have any of "those guys" he was talking about. If they do, those guys have two weeks to step up and make themselves known.
In a high-tempo offense in which one of the goals is to run 90 plays per game, one of the most important things for the Dolphins to do will be to convert third downs. They went 3-for-11 on third down with Tannehill under center against the Falcons, but there were two drops by Fasano on third down and one play in which the tight end ran a nine-yard pattern on 3rd-and-10.
Tannehill is not the problem.
Regardless of blame, if the Dolphins want to achieve that magic number of 90 plays, they'll have to do better than that.
The best glimpse we got of what the offense should look like at the tempo the Dolphins want to play came in the second quarter when they marched 78 yards on 13 plays in just three minutes and 57 seconds of game time. Tannehill was showing great command of the offense, specifically the no-huddle, as he has throughout the preseason (except those first two drives).
Dolphins radio announcer Jimmy Cefalo pointed out that the Falcons were gasping for air (per The Palm Beach Post). The average amount of time between each play was just 17.6 seconds. Everything was going according to plan.
Can the Dolphins offense be successful with this group of wide receivers?
Tannehill is not the problem; the pass-catchers are. The current unit lacks top-end talent but has a lot of youth with potential. There's always the possibility that someone could step up.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot the Dolphins can do about it either way at this point. Unless they plan on scrounging the scrap heap as cut-downs are announced, the Dolphins will have to roll with what they have on the roster and hope that the real wide receivers do, indeed, stand up.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained first-hand.
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