I think here is some good analysis on answering the question, Is Tannehill holding onto the ball to long and taking sacks because of this tendency?
The Miami Dolphins demonstrated significant issues protecting franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill through the first three weeks of the 2013 NFL season. Tannehill took 14 total sacks in only three games, which—according to statistics on the NFL's official website—leads the entire league by a significant margin.http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1786 ... on-offense
After allowing Tannehill to be sacked nine times during the first two games of the season, the Dolphins understandably put an emphasis on keeping pressure off their franchise quarterback. Yet, Tannehill still took five sacks during the game. Here we will explore the extent of the problem, as well as to what extent the quarterback, coaches and blockers can be blamed as the Dolphins continued to struggle protecting Tannehill during the game.
First we should outline the full extent of the problem against the Atlanta Falcons. This is important because the Dolphins can, and have, stated their case: Their overall protection of Tannehill improved against the Atlanta Falcons.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman had the following to say to a group of reporters, including Matt Kelley of the Miami Herald, “I don’t think our quarterback is getting hit a lot, but we’re giving up a lot of sacks.”
He is correct, at least as far as the game against the Atlanta Falcons is concerned. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Tannehill was pressured on 40 out of his 123 dropbacks during the first games. That ranks No.11 in the league for lowest pressures per dropback.
Therefore, the problem is not necessarily that Tannehill took too much pressure during the games, but rather that too much of the pressure resulted in sacks.
Many, including Tim Ryan, who called the Falcons-Dolphins game for FOX Sports this past Sunday, take that as a sign that most of the fault belongs to Ryan Tannehill himself.
The logic is sound. Other quarterbacks deal with pressure. In fact, most quarterbacks are dealing with more. Yet, not all other quarterbacks are getting sacked as often as Tannehill.
A closer examination shows this not to be the case.
According to data from Pro Football Focus (subscription required), the amount of time that passed on average before Ryan Tannehill's 14 sacks was seventh-lowest in the league.
Sometimes, such as when you have a relatively small number of sacks, this can be a sign that your quarterback demonstrated significant ability to get rid of the football quickly in the face of pressure. Therefore, the only sacks the quarterback does end up taking are ones that happen so quickly they could not be avoided.
Peyton Manning, for example, took only four sacks in the first three weeks, yet those sacks happened in the fourth-lowest amount of time in the pocket. From this, we can infer that Peyton generally gets rid of the football before he can take a sack, yet occasionally takes a sack when the protection breaks down to such a degree that the sack happens too quickly for Peyton to do anything about.
The figure implies the same about Ryan Tannehill. Also, using Pro Football Focus' data we see that Ryan Tannehill's average time until his throw attempt is third-lowest in the entire NFL at approximately 2.3 seconds. Only Matt Stafford, of the Detroit Lions, and Andy Dalton, of the Cincinnati Bengals, get the football out of their hands more quickly, on average. The median average time to a throw attempt is a little higher than 2.5 seconds.
Yet the fact remains that Tannehill has taken a staggering 14 sacks, leading the league.
This paints the picture of very poor pass protection.
Ryan Tannehill is not holding the football too long. He is getting the football out of his hands more quickly than 90 percent of the other quarterbacks in the league. His sacks are not the result of the occasional brain fart wherein he holds the football much longer than usual, as evidenced by his time-to-sack average being seventh-lowest in the NFL.
In fact, below you will find a perfect example of the timer sounding off in Tannehill's head, letting him know that he needs to get out of the pocket.
... (six videos with analysis cut out)
This has become a serious problem. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was limited in practice all week heading into the Atlanta Falcons game, though he ended up listed as Probable on the official NFL injury report. He cannot continue taking this level of punishment.
Over-zealous television announcers should not continue to blame Tannehill for the better part of these sacks, as we have demonstrated that the bulk of them come far too quickly for him to be blamed.
While the quarterback ultimately decides whether any given play will be a sack or not, Ryan Tannehill's standards of practice dictate that he should be one of the least sacked quarterbacks in the NFL at this moment. Instead, he is the most sacked quarterback.
This leads us to conclude that a combination of coaching mistakes and protection miscues by the Dolphins blockers are primarily responsible for the excessive sack totals.