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 Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains 
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Post Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
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By Michael Lombardi
Front Office View
Published: Nov. 16, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 at 10:41 p.m

Three weeks ago, after soundly beating the New York Jets 30-9 on their own field in New Jersey, the Miami Dolphins had the look of a potential playoff team, with a rookie quarterback leading them back to the promised land.

However, as is often the case when rookies start at quarterback in the NFL, Tannehill hit a wall and the Dolphins followed suit. The Dolphins lost their third consecutive game on Thursday night, dropping a 19-14 decision to the Buffalo Bills. Thus ends the playoff talk, and we're all reminded to have a little patience.

Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde said it best back in the 19th century: "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes." Tannehill and the Dolphins clearly need more experience; therefore, they need to make more mistakes.

Tannehill is one of four quarterbacks who were taken in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft in April and one of five rookie signal-callers to start since opening day. However, it was never the intention of the Dolphins to have Tannehill lead the team this entire season; not because they worried about his talent level, but rather because they wanted to allow him time to grow into the game and adjust, since he was entering pro football with just 19 college starts at quarterback. But in this league, injuries force teams to make adjustments. When David Garrard went down early in training camp, Dolphins coaches called upon Tannehill to start, and he looked surprisingly poised and ready to handle the challenge.

He was not effective on opening day against the Houston Texans. But starting with the Week 2 game against the Oakland Raiders, Tannehill began showing progress, growing each week, gaining more confidence with every throw and leading the Dolphins to three wins in the first six weeks. Not to mention, two of their three losses in that span occurred in overtime. It was clear: Tannehill was rapidly improving.

But suddenly, over the past three weeks, Tannehill has not progressed. He has hit the proverbial "wall" that all rookies hit. What is the wall and why do rookies hit it?

When a rookie starts at quarterback, defensive coaches have to prepare for anything and everything. But after five games the rookie signal-caller's strengths and weaknesses become crystal clear on the game tape. What types of throws he likes, what part of the field he targets the most, how he reacts to the speed of the game, how he handles pressure and how he performs under pressure. Because most rookies are limited in terms of the volume of offense at their disposal, defensive coordinators can get a good read on the young passer and take away what he does best. This cat-and-mouse game is much like a rookie basketball player who loves to go to his right all the time; naturally, the defense learns to force him left. How does he respond? Better question: Can he respond?



Teams now have a read on what Tannehill likes to do, as well as how the Fins have set up their offensive game plan around him. With limitations at wide receiver -- most critically, nobody who is able to stretch the field -- opponents have played more man-to-man against the Dolphins, taking away the easy throws. During the current three-game losing streak, Tannehill hasn't been able to make big plays down the field -- with only two plays over 25 yards -- and Miami has gone just 9-for-34 on third-down conversion attempts. Also, defenses have loaded up on the left side, as most teams realize Miami likes to run behind Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long. And in the last two weeks, the Dolphins have gotten behind quickly, putting their offense in catch-up mode, which takes away balance in play calling. Adding to the problem: The Dolphins' defense has regressed of late, allowing both the Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills to run the ball effectively and control time of possession.

All of these problems are interrelated and certainly not solely the fault of the inexperienced Tannehill. To understand the struggles of Tannehill -- or the effect of "the wall" -- is to understand the Dolphins' broader team problems. Yes, Tannehill has to improve, he has to grow within the offense, but the Fins also have to improve around him in terms of their overall talent level. This was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Dolphins -- and a learning experience for Tannehill. So while these past three losses are painful in terms of their playoff hopes, they also serve as a reminder of what Miami must do to improve.

When the Dolphins can play their style -- which is playing from in front, stopping the opponent's run game and making a few big plays -- Tannehill will look like the best thing to happen to Miami since LeBron hit South Beach. But when they get behind early in games and fail to make big plays, they will struggle. This is the reality of where they are as an organization, so don't get down on Tannehill. Just know that as the team around Tannehill improves, so will he. He can break through this wall -- he just can't do it alone.

...


http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100000 ... wing-pains


Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:46 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Like I've been saying all season. Eventually the piss poor weapons this team has will catch up to them. There is only so much you can do when you have what we have right now.

Ireland better be ultra aggressive next April on acquiring multiple WRs and a TE.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:55 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Sounds like its more than just Tannehill being "figured out".

I still think you won't be able to judge where this team truly is until the end of next year.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:05 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Wow I am surprised after reading that article about Miami's piss poor weapons that they were able to win any games this season.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:08 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
AQNOR wrote:
Wow I am surprised after reading that article about Miami's piss poor weapons that they were able to win any games this season.


The defense could keep the score down and opposing defenses thought blitzing the rookie QB would simply rattle him.

Think of it as a smaller sample size of the Wild Cat. It wasn't going to work forever.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:27 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
jammer wrote:
AQNOR wrote:
Wow I am surprised after reading that article about Miami's piss poor weapons that they were able to win any games this season.


The defense could keep the score down and opposing defenses thought blitzing the rookie QB would simply rattle him.

Think of it as a smaller sample size of the Wild Cat. It wasn't going to work forever.


Exactly. There's only so much you can do with the limitations that we have. Defenses have completely figured it out. You can blame Tannehill and Sherman all you want, but it's not their fault that they can't block a 4 man rush, and that their WR's can't get open or make plays after the catch, while the run game is putting you in 3rd and long consistently.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:21 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
So if the Phins improve this season or have a good game it will be because the piss poor weapons play better or because the D's we play can't handle the Phins piss poor weapons?


Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:19 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
AQNOR wrote:
So if the Phins improve this season or have a good game it will be because the piss poor weapons play better or because the D's we play can't handle the Phins piss poor weapons?


I'll let you know when it happens.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:43 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Cool, thanks bro.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:57 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
some of them just don't get it, or never will Phins Rock.

I thought it was amazing what Tannehill was doing the first 8 weeks with Hartline, Moore, fasano etc. This is the least scary offensive lineup in the league.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 12:24 pm
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
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All of these problems are interrelated and certainly not solely the fault of the inexperienced Tannehill. To understand the struggles of Tannehill -- or the effect of "the wall" -- is to understand the Dolphins' broader team problems. Yes, Tannehill has to improve, he has to grow within the offense, but the Fins also have to improve around him in terms of their overall talent level. This was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Dolphins -- and a learning experience for Tannehill. So while these past three losses are painful in terms of their playoff hopes, they also serve as a reminder of what Miami must do to improve.

When the Dolphins can play their style -- which is playing from in front, stopping the opponent's run game and making a few big plays -- Tannehill will look like the best thing to happen to Miami since LeBron hit South Beach. But when they get behind early in games and fail to make big plays, they will struggle. This is the reality of where they are as an organization, so don't get down on Tannehill. Just know that as the team around Tannehill improves, so will he. He can break through this wall -- he just can't do it alone.


A lot of people have been down on Tannehill in the local media right now, saying teams have "figured him out". Most notably, MR. I HAVE A CRUSH ON DAVID GARRARD (Omar Kelly). Leave it to a member of the national media to get it right (something they almost never do). But I've been saying these exact things all along. What teams have done to us the past three weeks are more of a reflection of them figuring out our entire offense, not just Tannehill. Actually, strike that, two weeks, Tannehill played well against the Colts in my opinion.

Tannehill is fine, he just lacks a run game or any deep threats right now. Those lacks lead to him having to play a certain way. When the team around him improves, he'll improve, it's as simple as that. The fact that he was able to throw for 400 yards with Bess and Hartline still baffles me. The fact that he'll be breaking Marino's rookie passing yardage record in roughly 10 games also baffles me. This kid is rare, I hope he can get things back on track and try to finish the season strong. He's got plenty of time to do it.


Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:15 pm
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Another important factor has been the coaching staff's inability to make use of Tannehill's strengths in critical moments. Especially in making half-time adjustments.

Sending Bess deep with double moves is not going to work because he is not that type of receiver regardless of who is playing QB. Keeping Tannehill in the pocket instead of allowing him to move around is also a big mistake. Not making use of Fasano is also hurting Tannehill's chances.

Seems to me that Sherman and Philbin have hit a bigger wall than Tannehill.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:14 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
wkloiber13 wrote:
The fact that he'll be breaking Marino's rookie passing yardage record in roughly 10 games also baffles me. This kid is rare, I hope he can get things back on track and try to finish the season strong. He's got plenty of time to do it.


You really have to stop pimping the Marino rookie passing numbers. Every time you do it you continue to mislead. Marino played 9 games his rookie year. He also had a 96 QBR, 20TD's and only 6 INT's ..... numbers that Tanny can't even touch right now. We haven't had any other rookie QB's start like Tannehill from which to judge how hard it is to get that yardage total.

Tanny is averaging 212 yards a game in a passing league. 20% of it came in a single game. That's accomplishment? No way man.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:35 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Rock Sexton wrote:
wkloiber13 wrote:
The fact that he'll be breaking Marino's rookie passing yardage record in roughly 10 games also baffles me. This kid is rare, I hope he can get things back on track and try to finish the season strong. He's got plenty of time to do it.


You really have to stop pimping the Marino rookie passing numbers. Every time you do it you continue to mislead. Marino played 9 games his rookie year. He also had a 96 QBR, 20TD's and only 6 INT's ..... numbers that Tanny can't even touch right now. We haven't had any other rookie QB's start like Tannehill from which to judge how hard it is to get that yardage total.

Tanny is averaging 212 yards a game in a passing league. That's accomplishment? No way man.


you've already admonished him for the Marino comparisons. Enough already.


Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:38 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
swerve13 wrote:
you've already admonished him for the Marino comparisons. Enough already.


Oh right .... because you've said nothing up to this point how often he's posted it.

When you're a mod, come talk to me about how many times I can post about anything I feel like.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:40 am
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Rock Sexton wrote:
swerve13 wrote:
you've already admonished him for the Marino comparisons. Enough already.


Oh right .... because you've said nothing up to this point how often he's posted it.

When you're a mod, come talk to me about how many times I can post about anything I feel like.


I'm not saying he's Marino, or anything like Marino. Your making your own arguement on that one. All I'm saying is he's going to break Marino's rookie passer record. That's it. I'm only pointing to the fact that he's going to break an almost 30 year old team record. That to me is a step in the right direction for this franchise. You can think whatever you like.

In addition, Tannehill only played one series against the Jets. That has significantly lowered his average yardage per game. If you take out the Jets game he's probably averaging something more like 235 yards per game. If you spread that out over a season that is about 3,700 yards in a seasons time. I'm sorry but that is good for a rookie passer. For a comparison, Manning threw for just under 3,800 yards his rookie season, the second highest mark of all time.

While I agree with you that the lack of touchdowns is alarming, and possibly a sign of bigger problems, I think it has more to do with the team around him than Tannehill himself. Here is why. Just two weeks ago this team was in the top five in the NFL in redzone efficiency, now I think we're something like 13th. So clearly we were not completely failing to score in the redzone. In our only trip to the redzone last week, Tannehill threw a strike to Bess.

What this team struggles with is drive killers. Like Carpenter's missed FG, or Hartline's fumble, or Bush's fumble and Incognito's penalty the week before. Yes Tannehill has 11 interceptions this year, that's about one pick per game, not good at all. But we've also got 9 fumbles lost (about 1 per game) by runningbacks, receivers, etc. this year. We're also the 5th most penalized team in the NFL. We average 5.7 penalties per game this year, and we've been averaging 7.0 penalties the last three games. That too is unacceptable. This is a young team that is making a lot of costly mistakes.

So while Tannehill certainly isn't helping things, he's the best option we have right now, and he's just part of a much bigger problem happening right now with this team. In my eyes, Philbin and the rest of the staff need to address Tannehill's INTs, the rest of the team's fumbles, and penalties. We're playing like an undisciplined football team right now. Until we play more disciplined and with more consistency, expect more of the same. We need to learn to win as a team. That might take some time.


Mon Nov 19, 2012 12:43 pm
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
wkloiber13 wrote:
I'm not saying he's Marino, or anything like Marino. Your making your own arguement on that one. All I'm saying is he's going to break Marino's rookie passer record. That's it. I'm only pointing to the fact that he's going to break an almost 30 year old team record. That to me is a step in the right direction for this franchise. You can think whatever you like.


A 30 year old team record.

Let's think about that for a moment. Marino played in 16 more seasons after his rookie year. How many other rookie starting QB's have we had in the 13 years after his retirement?

Surpassing Marino's 9 game total yardage mark means nothing. Just stop trying to dress it up as being anything more than it is.

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Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:34 pm
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Post Re: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins enduring normal growing pains
Rock Sexton wrote:
wkloiber13 wrote:
I'm not saying he's Marino, or anything like Marino. Your making your own arguement on that one. All I'm saying is he's going to break Marino's rookie passer record. That's it. I'm only pointing to the fact that he's going to break an almost 30 year old team record. That to me is a step in the right direction for this franchise. You can think whatever you like.


A 30 year old team record.

Let's think about that for a moment. Marino played in 16 more seasons after his rookie year. How many other rookie starting QB's have we had in the 13 years after his retirement?

Surpassing Marino's 9 game total yardage mark means nothing. Just stop trying to dress it up as being anything more than it is.


I'm calling it a step in the right direction that's all. The numbers aren't eye popping, but they're solid (I'm referring to passing yards, not touchdowns). 230 or so yards per game is a good first season, especially when you consider the kid is raw and likely to improve significantly over the next few years with help.

I've been a big proponent of us drafting a quarterback in the 1st round ever since Marino retired. Tannehill is a step in the right direction in my opinion, whether he becomes great or not. It shows that our franchise is finally stopping the trend of putting a bandaid on a gunshot wound. Throw away quarterbacks like Trent Green, Daunte Culpepper, and Chad Pennington are now a thing of the past, and it's a good thing.


Mon Nov 19, 2012 3:28 pm
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