Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been among the league leaders in sacks and quarterback hits since he was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. A large part of the reasoning behind those hits has been the shaky play of the offensive line, which has been in a constant state of flux between new players being added and injuries decimating the starters during the season. There is, however, something to be said about Tannehill holding the ball too long at times, trying to find the perfect play, rather than taking what the defense has given him and making a good play. It has, at times, seemed like Tannehill has been thinking more than he has just been playing the game.
This year, as the team goes through minicamp, Tannehill discussed that issue. “I think he just encourages me and what I see,” Tannehill said on Tuesday of head coach Adam Gase. “He’s a big supporter of whatever we feel – what you see – then you can’t think about it. You’ve got to just let it rip and make it happen. So that’s something I’ve been trying to work on this offseason is ‘Hey, don’t think about it. Just play what you see and let it rip.’”
Last year, Tannehill’s first season with Gase, finished the season with a career high in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and passer rating. He only played in 13 games after a knee injury sidelined him for the end of the season and the team’s first playoff appearance since 2008, coming up just short of the 3,000-yard mark for the season at 2,995 yards; he also threw 19 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. He was sacked 29 times on the season, which extrapolates to 35 sacks if he had played the final three games and would have been tied for the lowest sack total of his career.
Along with Tannehill looking to “rip it” without thinking, the team is also looking to speed up the offense, something that did not work as well last year when the players were still trying to learn and understand Gase’s offense. Now, in their second year, the team is looking to bring back the no-huddle, up-tempo offensive options.
“I just don’t think that we knew as an offense all the details of what we needed to do to make it happen quickly,” Tannehill explained, continuing with the team of thinking less and just doing. “We were able to do it, but we weren’t doing it quickly, and when you don’t do it quickly, you might as well just huddle and everyone get some time to think about exactly what they have to do. The whole point of no huddle is to keep the pressure on the defense and if you’re allowing defensive linemen to sub in and sub out and not keeping that heat on them, then you might as well just huddle. So I think that’s kind of the crossroads we hit last year.”
“We come out wanting to play a little faster than we did last year,” wide receiver DeVante Parker added. “We’re getting a hang of the offense now. We’re just coming out playing faster than we did last year.”
“I just feel like guys are more comfortable,” wide receiver Kenny Stills weighed in on the speed of play topic as well. “Obviously in anything that you do, the second time going around, you’re going to be more comfortable and be able to go out there and just play fast and think less.”
The defense has started to notice the change in speed for the offense as well. “Yes, it’s the second year in the offense,” safety Reshad Jones replied when asked about the offense. “It was hard for those guys to pick up the offense last year; but now, I think they feel comfortable and more reliable. They know where each other is going to be. Ryan is feeling a little bit better throwing the ball. He’s got weapons now with all of those guys on the offensive side of the ball. It should be fun and interesting.”
Jones continued, looking at what kind of pressure an up-tempo offense puts on the defense. “Getting the play in,” he stated. “The defensive coordinator has to make a perfect play (call) within a split second. We’re tired. The defense is rushing back to the huddle (and) we’re tired. It’s challenging.”
The Dolphins continue their minicamp through Thursday, then will break until late July.