The Silver Lining: Ryan Tannehill Succeeds in Week Two Despite Team’s Ineptitude
There were very few Miami Dolphins players who actually drew a positive review from Sunday’s 23-20 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The game would’ve been a complete blowout had one of those positive players not been manning the most important position on the field: quarterback.
Ryan Tannehill played one of his best games to date. No, his 30/44, 359 yards and 2 TD stat line is not the flashiest we have seen, but the progress that he showed was undeniable.
The types of throws that Ryan Tannehill attempted were things we would never have seen him do two years ago. Even last year, the deeper and tighter throws he made routinely on Sunday were impossible for him. Tannehill dropped the ball into coverage over linebackers, and really made it look easy.
One of the best elements of Tannehill’s game was the way he worked with tight end Jordan Cameron. Cameron’s size and speed made him a unique target, and Tannehill figured out how to utilize him very well. It seems that he is becoming more comfortable with the concept of targeting each receiver differently based on their abilities, now that he is more comfortable in the offense. Tannehill understood that he had to hit Cameron up the seam, and allow him to use body position to box out or go up for footballs. Luckily for Miami this paid dividends, and the Tannehill/Cameron combo created huge gains for the offense.
Ryan Tannehill’s newfound ability to play to specific receivers’ strengths made the afternoon more eventful for Jarvis Landry and Rishard Matthews. Both were called upon to make physical plays, and they answered the call in spectacular fashion. Matthews had a huge day, posting six catches for 115 yards. He was one of the most electric receivers on the field, and his surprise position as the starter seems to be fitting him (and the rest of the offense well).
Jarvis Landry made some seriously acrobatic plays, with one catch coming up the right side of the field from Tannehill. He placed it over the linebackers and Landry snagged the ball with one hand and managed to come down with it. See, Odell isn’t the only LSU receiver with serious ball skills.
I am not under the impression that Tannehill’s game was perfect. There were serious miscues in the red zone, and a couple of missed throws. But, I place much of the blame for the offense’s inefficiency on Bill Lazor. I was unimpressed with most of the play calls, and it seemed like the throws that Tannehill made bailed out the coaches from an even worse afternoon.
Since Tannehill came out of Texas A&M, we have waited to see the arm strength in action that he showed in college. Yesterday’s game was the first time that I saw Tannehill consistently (I mean almost every possession) use his zip to squeeze a ball into tight windows. Not only has he showed physical improvement, but he has also shown serious mental steps in terms of going through his reads. While the team must be emotionally battered after yesterday, I have rarely seen Tannehill making throws with as much confidence as he did yesterday.
No folks, it isn’t optimal. Tannehill’s efforts meant nothing due to the lack of protection, dumb penalties, and an unruly defense with an out of touch coordinator. But that doesn’t mean we can’t praise him for a really special game. Ryan Tannehill is one of the main reasons that yesterday’s game wasn’t any worse than it actually was, and that is saying something. While this loss will sting for the Miami Dolphins, they can at least take solace in the performance of Ryan Tannehill.
Within a linebacking corps that is rather pathetic, Jelani Jenkins is the lone bright spot. He consistently shows good decision-making and burst. He explodes into the backfield and is the only player at that position for Miami who can be truly disruptive. In my article yesterday I stated that if a regime change occurs, I feel that Jelani Jenkins will be the only linebacker brought back. Not only do I feel that he will be brought back, but I think after one more year he could be a serious player for this team.
What else is new? Reshad Jones continues to show that he could be the best player on Miami’s defense. If Suh and Wake continue to fail in the pass rush, Jones will certainly be the Dolphins’ crown jewel this season. Reshad Jones could be the team’s best tackler, as he combines physical ability with impressive predictions of the opponent’s plays. Oh yeah, and he made another huge goal line play. Keep feasting, Reshad.