Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins Just Need Timing and Time to Excel in 2013
I'm not a fan of what I've seen from Ryan Tannehill thus far in the preseason.
The quarterback I saw last season who showed progress with every game seems to have disappeared over the offseason. We saw it against the Cowboys last Sunday Night in the Hall of Fame Game when he seemed to spend too much time getting worried about being hit, throwing well off the mark.
We would see the same thing in the first three drives against the Jacksonville Jaguars—only this time instead of just being off the mark, he would take a sack on the second play of the game.
On that play it did look like he was looking deep to Mike Wallace (circled in Miami Dolphins-aqua), who like any other veteran was only going about 80 percent on the route because it is the preseason, and Tannehill was too locked into Wallace to successfully check down to any of the open receivers (circled in Miami Heat-red).
This isn't an excuse for Tannehill but rather an observation. He'd face the same dilemma on the following play, which resulted in a two-yard gain on a 3rd-and-11.
The Ryan Tannehill we saw last year wouldn't have played like he did in the first three drives of the game. He was tentative, inaccurate and seemed fearful of his life.
As much as you might want to blame the wide receivers and offensive line for this, you really can't, because it's on the man nicknamed Sho'nuff to show that he has enough.
I understand that the first six paragraphs of this piece read like I copy and pasted directly from Omar Kelly's clipboard; however, I come not to condemn Tannehill, but to offer this sage advice to Dolphins fans.
All Tannehill lacks right now is timing, and this will come with time.
Tannehill has been inaccurate, but he hasn't been inaccurate to the point where his passes are about to be intercepted. (Tannehill has had yet to throw an interception in 14 pass attempts this preseason.)
His inaccuracy has been all about timing, where he throws the ball a split second too early or too late, resulting in the ball getting to the receiver but not at the ideal time.
This aspect improved as the game went on Friday night, so it should improve
as the preseason and training camp goes into the regular season.
The third drive against Jacksonville was Tannehill showing the potential that he teased Dolphins fans with last season, going three of four for 52 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dustin Keller.
Keller was credited with a tremendous catch, but from what I saw, Tannehill threaded the needle perfectly, throwing to the one spot where Keller could make a catch—had he thrown it high, it likely would've been intercepted.
Prior to that pass, Tannehill would throw a beautiful 24-yard pass to Keller that put the Dolphins in Jacksonville territory. On the throw, Tannehill hit Keller in stride as the pass went over his shoulder into his hands, allowing him to get a few yards after the catch.
Tannehill has his timing with Keller down pat now, as he does with Brian Hartline after a successful 2012 together and as he's getting to with Brandon Gibson and Mike Wallace—on the second drive Tannehill completed a 14-yard pass to Gibson where the two looked to be on the same page.
Once Tannehill has the timing down, you will see better quarterback play. But the key is patience.
Will Ryan Tannehill continue to improve?
Next week Miami plays Houston, which will be a test not only for the offensive line but for Tannehill as well. This is despite the fact that you won't exactly see the same Texans pressure you would in the regular season.
The key to watch in that game is how the offense's timing improved upon this week in Jacksonville.
Miami has the tools to be a good offense, but Tannehill, his receivers and the offensive line will have to improve on their timing as a whole.
That will take time, and fans will have to be patient.
For more of Thomas' observations on Friday's game vs. Jacksonville, check out Dolphins Central Radio on Profootballcentral.com. New episodes every Monday Night on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and YouTube.
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