Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins offense haven't utilized the deep passing game the entire season but on Sunday against the New England Patriots, we saw an aggressive Tannehill attempt numerous deep passes, either connecting or drawing a penalty on more than half of them. What took them so long and why haven’t they been doing it more? Mike Wallace chimed in earlier this week although his answer to that question was interesting.
“You will have to ask coach. That’s a tough question for me to answer. There’s not one person I can’t run past, not one, but there are a lot of factors that come into (deep throws). You can’t just say, ‘Because Mike can run fast we can just throw it deep.’ I don’t think it’s that easy. We have other factors going into the play. It takes 11 guys, not just one or two guys. I think our coaches do a lot of studying, they do a lot of film work, so they know what they are doing. There’s a reason behind everything. Sometimes we don’t even know what the reason is, but you can’t question everything.”
Wallace said that at the end of the half against the Patriots when Joe Philbin used the timeouts, it was one of the best calls in football that he’s seen.
“I’m pretty sure, at the end of the last game, at the end of the half, I’m sure there were a lot of people questioning Coach (Joe) Philbin for calling those timeouts, but, at the end of day, it worked out well for us. It was the best call I’ve probably ever seen in football by him doing that. You can’t question everything, even though that’s your (the media) job. That’s not my job. My job is to go out there and play. You are asking the questions. I don’t really have an answer for you on that one. You will have to ask our coaches.”
Philbin said that the game-plan will dictate what they call over the next two weeks and nothing is set in stone because things change throughout the course of the game.
“Each week on our game-plan we have a category called shots where potentially, depending on what happens after the snap of the football, there is a chance the ball could go vertically down the field. I can’t predict that we are going to do it six times or we are going to do it once. We may call five and it only happens twice. It’s hard to say.”
Ryan Tannehill echoed what Philbin said, saying that the number of deep passes depends on how the game unfolds. He noted that they go into each game with a plan of how they are going to attack each team and that there have been games in the past where they’ve called a lot of deep passes but things just didn’t work out after the snap. Tannehill said that on Sunday, there were some good opportunities and he was happy with the way he threw the ball.
“I thought we had some opportunities. Coach did a good job of calling the plays at the right time, and we had some opportunities to make plays. I was happy with them. There’s one I would like to have back to Rishard (Matthews) down the left side. But other than that, I felt pretty good about them. We practice it all the time in practice. So it’s not like two more reps in a game is making that much of a difference. The more you do something, the better you get at it.”
Some have questioned why Jarvis Landry doesn’t get more involved in the deep passing game because of his hands but he said that’s not necessarily his role on the team.
“I get my fair share of intermediate passes. That suffices for all the deep balls. I think, for me, it’s be able to do what I do underneath to allow those guys to get open and those guys to do what they do over the top to allow me to get open underneath. It’s a real good thing.”
After so much talk all season about Tannehill not having success throwing the deep ball, he found that success on Sunday. We’ll see if it was a fluke or if it’s something that’s going to become more of a trend moving forward.
This story was written by Matthew Cannata. Follow him on Twitter: @PhinManiacs