Written by Matthew Cannata | Twitter: @PhinManiacs
When a report about the mixed emotions on the offensive side of the ball dropped last week from Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network, it also included the tidbit that Ryan Tannehill isn't allowed to audible and/or change protections at the line of scrimmage.
Not surprisingly, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor disputed this and even went a few steps further to really break it down and take us through a few situations to get us to understand how much freedom Tannehill really has at the line of scrimmage.
“Clearly, I won’t give away information that I think would be useable by someone else, but I will say this, one of the things that I think is special about Ryan, I think we’ve mentioned it in here before, is how he sees the field and can react to things that happen, because he does that so well, probably as much as any place that I’ve been or at least equal to the places I’ve been. Ryan has more options than a lot of quarterbacks that we’ve coached."
What kind of options are they exactly though? Are they verbal audibles, silent audibles, protection changes or something else? Lazor continued into even more detail.
"Some of them are what you would call verbal audibles, some of them are right at the snap, some of them are built in options. It’s how we choose to play football. Ryan has the ability to handle those things and in my opinion does them very well. I think that’s one of his strengths. He uses all of the different options, whether they be audibles or built in options to get the ball distributed around the field. That’s probably when we’ve played our best offensively, is when he’s used all of those things.”
One of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, Peyton Manning, is a master at the line of scrimmage with his line calls - changing coverages, dissecting defenses and sometimes, yelling out a bunch of things but not doing anything at all. Lazor thinks that Tannehill could continue to learn a lot by studying Manning and what he has done and what he will continue to do throughout his NFL career.
“The answer is yes he absolutely can learn from other quarterbacks. He’ll spend time in our meetings, Zac (Taylor) will show him examples, sometimes it’s easier to show a quarterback a bad example of someone else. Sometimes, as a player, it seems like all day long, you’re getting corrected, you see some good things, but you get corrected, you’re making mistakes, what do I have to fix? Sometimes it’s a little bit easier to take a coaching point when you see someone else screwing it up. So sometimes we give them bad examples. Sometimes we give them good examples, we might cut out explosive plays or touchdown passes or different situations that other quarterbacks do and try to find a little time to show them that. I’ve learned personally, sometimes I’ve learned just standing on the sideline."
How important is it once everyone is in a game situation? Lazor said that after the first drive, he can get a good feel for how the quarterback of both teams are going to perform.
"Usually once the game gets going, I have a hard time, but maybe if they get the ball first, that first drive I can watch it and just watch how guys carry themselves, how they operate, their mannerisms, the inflection of their voice at the line of scrimmage. I think quarterbacks can pick up on all of those things. I think over time the NFL quarterbacks who are around and are open to learning from each other and from seeing other guys, they can pick up things that end up getting incorporated in their game.”