The Miami Dolphins are sitting at 3-3 on the season, a game and a half behind the New England Patriots for the AFC East lead. The team has been inconsistent this year, especially when they have the ball, but things may be starting to come together for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the offense as they settle into the new scheme being implemented by first year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. If the past few games are any indication, the Dolphins, and Tannehill, could be headed toward better days.
Former NFL defensive end Stephen White, now writing for SB Nation, seems to agree:
Miami is a last-second Aaron Rodgers touchdown pass from being on a 3-game winning streak, and Ryan Tannehill's improved play is a big reason for the October turnaround. Here are a few ways the Dolphins have adjusted the offense to improve their QB's chances.
White goes on to explain that Lazor is beginning to tailor the offense to Tannehill, and that Tannehill is beginning to grow into the offense. He describes Tannehill as "more like Alex Smit than Aaron Rodgers," but adds "perhaps that is for the best, for all involved." He identifies two major changes to the offense that are benefiting Tannehill.
1. "Throttle down the deep passing game." White writes that the team has changed from a deep passing game to more of a medium to short route team, allowing Tannehill to get rid of the ball quickly. White explains, "maybe the big free agent addition of Mike Wallace had the team trying to force the ball down the field even though Tannehill and Wallace never could seem to gain any chemistry together on those deeper throws."
2. "Let Tannehill be an NFL rushing threat?" We've all been waiting for this to happen, and it appears the Dolphins are finally starting to come around to letting Tannehill use his legs. White sees MIami opening up the read-option offense, but also points out, it's not all about Tannehill running (though he does explain how much of a difference Tannehill is doing in his running the last three weeks). White sees Tannehill's passing out of the read-option as a weapons as well, writing "Tannehill looks to be particularly adept at using the read option run fake to help set up quick "pop" passes up the seam."
White starts his conclusion, writing "I get the sense having watched Tannehill over these last three games that the changes on offense have helped him finally turn the corner and he actually has me believing in that team now."
Can the Dolphins keep up the improved offense and using the shorter routes and Tannehill's legs to find success? This week, they face the Jacksonville Jaguars and will look to carry the momentum into EverBank Field. We will see if the changes White has seen from the team the last few weeks will continue this week, and on into the rest of the year.