What Miami Dolphins' Use of Read-Option Means for Ryan Tannehill's Development

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IFebruary 13, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 23: Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins runs with the ball against the Buffalo Bills on December 23, 2012 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Bills 24-10. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III were eased into the NFL by coaches who weren't afraid to adapt the read-option in their playbooks.

According to reports from CBS Sports, the Miami Dolphins will join the read-option craze in 2013.

Tannehill is probably smiling from ear to ear. His athleticism was part of what made him a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and that athleticism will be key to his development. Now, he'll get to put it on display on a much broader basis in 2013.

It took awhile for Tannehill to start using his legs; he rushed for just 30 yards in the first nine games of the season until rushing for 33 yards in one game against the Seahawks. He finished with 211 rushing yards on the season (4.1 yards per carry), and had four games over 25 yards rushing.

Whether it was the read-option or simply scrambling on a broken play, Tannehill proved he has the legs to cut through defenses and pick up big yards.

The Dolphins ran a few read-option plays in 2012, but really unveiled it against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15.

On 2nd-and-4 out of the shotgun, Tannehill faked the handoff to running back Reggie Bush at the mesh point, but kept the ball himself, running off left tackle when he saw the entire defense drifting to the offense's right.

The Dolphins offense was driving, but had struggled to this point; the 9-yard gain on the read-option breathed life into the Dolphins as they would go on to score 21 points in the remaining 33:29 of the game.

What the read-option adds to the Dolphins offense is another dimension which must be accounted for. Teams must be aware that the run remains a threat even when Tannehill lines up in the shotgun. That will only help things out in the passing game, if the read-option is effective in picking up yards.

It also allows the Dolphins another way to exploit matchups. Teams with slower linebackers are less equipped to stop the read-option, especially if they are the read on any given play. 

Most importantly, the read-option will allow the Dolphins offense to scheme to Tannehill's strengths, which should allow him to continue to grow in his second year.


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 or via team press releases.