Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Miami Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been making excellent progress in his development over the past three years. His numbers have improved each year and it seems like they will do so again this season. But that doesn't mean there aren't still specific things for him to work on.
The most obvious weakness in his game is his deep ball throwing ability. His accuracy has come into question, and his completion percentage in 2014 would seem to reflect that, as he completed only 16 of his 53 throws that traveled over 20 yards, resulting in a 37.7% completion percentage.
Of course, a lot of that had to do with the receivers he was throwing to, and there were several moments throughout the season where a play could have been made and it simply wasn't for one reason or another. A more in-depth look at Tannehill's deep ball can be found in our own Matthew Knowles' film review here.
Since then, Tannehill's deep ball has shown major improvement as the chemistry he shares with his new weapons on offense has also vastly improved. It goes hand in hand you see. The newly crowned franchise quarterback has also made some strides in his pocket presence, which was also an issue he seemed to have.
Now with all that out of the way, Tannehill is now trying to work on another aspect of his game that could definitely use some work: the back shoulder fade throw. This type of throw is very difficult to pull off, particularly in the endzone, as it requires pinpoint accuracy to be able to get the ball right where it needs to go. This is a throw that elite quarterbacks find ways to make work, and in recent practices, Tannehill has been working hard on making that throw work.
An elite quarterback that does have the ability to make that throw is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whom head coach Joe Philbin worked with during his time as the offensive line coach, and later as the offensive coordinator. Having worked closely with Rodgers during his development, Philbin knows what it takes to make the throw work.
“It takes commitment just like anything else." Philbin said of the back shoulder fade throw. "If you’re going to be good at something then you have to practice it and you have to devote time to it and repetitions to it and you have to feel like you have the right chemistry with the right receivers."
The word "chemistry" has been thrown around a lot these days, and several players have made comments over the past several weeks about how the feel around the team is different than it has been in previous years, and Tannehill stepping up into a leadership role has greatly helped that.
But it takes more than chemistry to make the back shoulder fade work, and Philbin discussed the more technical side of what makes the throw work.
"I think it’s obviously team specific and sometimes it’s gameplan specific," Philbin said. "Maybe it’s better against a certain corner, it’s obviously better against certain coverages and all that stuff, but I think all teams make their decisions based on that, ‘Do we have the guys that throw it well? Do we time it well and catch it well? Does it make sense against what they’re doing?’ amongst some other things.”
Tannehill's ability continues to grow each and every year, and now that the young QB entering his fourth year as a starter, it's about time he started working on specific aspects of his game. As long as he's trending upwards, there's no telling just what his ceiling could be.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @FLSportDebater
Latest Dolphins News