Tempo is Key: Why Miami Needs to Employ the No-Huddle More Frequently
Out of the ashes of yet another disappointing Miami Dolphins defeat in New England has risen a legitimate silver lining. Adam Gase’s offense performed extremely well in the second half as the team went with the no-huddle approach down 31-3. While the end result remained a loss, Ryan Tannehill was able to command the offense to the tune of 21 unanswered points. The Miami Dolphins’ quarterback even completed 20/21 passes in one particular stretch of impressive play. So, what changed in Miami’s offensive gameplan to allow such a significant shift? Well, Greg, the answer lies entirely in the no-huddle offense.
1. Historically, Gase’s offense thrives in the no-huddle:
Over the last several years, Adam Gase has used the short-passing game as the bread and butter of his offenses. He has adopted Peyton Manning’s penchant for running a fast-paced quick-read offense. However, Gase didn’t just ride Manning’s coattails to get where he is right now. In their time together in Denver, Gase added innovative route concepts that allowed Manning to have 2 of his 3 best statistical seasons of his Broncos career. While Gase is obviously missing the caliber of talent he had in 2013 with the record breaking Denver Broncos offense, I’m going to use that team as my primary example:
On this play, Demaryius Thomas is the quick read on a slant route while Julius Thomas goes deep. Rather than staying close to Julius Thomas, the linebacker elects to help the cornerback neutralize Demaryius Thomas on the short route. However, because the safety was deep, there was a solid 5 yard window for Peyton Manning to work with. And the result of the play is a 44 yard gain on a 1st and 20.
From there, Gase and Manning seize the opportunity and switch to the no-huddle:
The safety is poorly positioned and Julius Thomas has no issue embarrassing the linebacker in coverage. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that the Broncos offense caught the Baltimore Ravens defense with its pants down.
Ultimately what makes Adam Gase’s system work is the ability to fool players and coordinators alike with his playbook and innovative route designs. The no-huddle offense only makes it more difficult for defenses to figure out what the offense is going to do. The offense develops the ability to build on momentum as defensive players have no time to substitute and defensive coordinators don’t have enough time to properly respond to the previous play. As long as passes are being completed, Adam Gase’s offenses are at their best when the game is at its fastest.
2. Masking deficiencies in the run game:
If you are a fan of old-school dominant running games, odds are that you were nauseous all day on Sunday. Arian Foster went down with an injury early in the game after compiling just 9 yards on 3 carries. Jay Ajayi was mediocre at best as Arian Foster’s replacement, gaining a measly 14 yards on 5 carries, while fumbling on a pivotal drive early in the game. Kenyan Drake played well in his limited debut, logging his first career touchdown, but only had two carries. The matchup against Seattle in Week 1 wasn’t much better for the running back unit as they compiled just 47 yards on 15 carries. Considering that Arian Foster is already nursing an injury, Jay Ajayi is in the coaches’ doghouse and Kenyan Drake is a rookie with two NFL carries to his name, I’m not convinced that improvement is imminent.
Luckily, the no-huddle offense can mask the deficiencies that the Dolphins have at the running back position. Quick-read short routes like slants, drags,and screens can move the chains as well as rushing can, provided that the passes are being completed. It doesn’t take a genius to know that a five yard gain on a quick slant is better than a three yard. Bill Belichick observes this concept better than any other coach: If the run game isn’t working, he passes and vice versa. That’s why he has 4 Super Bowl rings with a system quarterback. Considering that DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry play well when catching passes in tight windows, and Ryan Tannehill has exceptional short pass accuracy, I think it’s pretty reasonable to follow suit.
After all, this…
…is a lot better than this:
3. Tannehill is improving with added control at the line:
Love him or hate him, Ryan Tannehill will play his best football with control at the line of scrimmage. Joe Philbin held Tannehill back, and ensured that Tannehill was always bringing a spoon to a gunfight. Now, under Gase’s tutelage, Tannehill seems to be developing the confidence and poise to run the offense. It takes a special quarterback to direct an offense at the line of scrimmage, and even more so to run the no-huddle offense. Based on Ryan Tannehill’s statistics from the first half (10/18 116 yards and an interception) to the second half (22/27, 271 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception) it’s pretty clear that he knows what he’s doing when he has control. He spread the ball around very well, and mixed in some beautiful deep passes to go along with the death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts approach. For his most impressive stretch he completed 20/21 passes, including 14 straight.
One need only look at some of his plays that came about while running the no-huddle:
Like this play to DeVante Parker.
Or this touchdown to Kenny Stills.
Or this beauty to Jarvis Landry.
Yeah. Even Jordan Cameron can look good when the Dolphins run the no-huddle.