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Miami Dolphins

Charting Ryan Tannehill 2018 – Week 3 vs Oakland

Travis Wingfield

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Go To Week 1 vs. Tennessee
Go To Week 2 at NY Jets

Week 3 vs. Oakland –

Though Ryan Tannehill played his sharpest game of the season, the passing numbers are rather inflated. With a touch of appreciation for his quarterback, Adam Gase was the proverbial inflator using the forward touch pass on two separate jet-sweep misdirection runs (passes).

With the Oakland defense hell bent on shutting down the inside run, and zone-read concepts of the Dolphins playbook, Miami turned to its seventh-year quarterback, and some crafty play-calling to capitalize on a vulnerable Raider Defense.

Leading the team in rushing for the day and completing the lowest-probability touchdown pass across the week-three NFL landscape (20.3% probability; source: Next Gen Stats), Tannehill led his team to a thrilling come-from-behind victory.

With plenty of time to progress through his reads, Tannehill was taking shots down the field with regularity. The Oakland pass rush arrived just five times on 26 drop backs. The pressure rate of 19.2% was a nice change from last week when pressure arrived at a rate double that total (40.7%). The average time from snap-to-pressure was 2.3 seconds.

Under pressure, Tannehill came up aces. He completed three-out-of-four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown under duress. He was taken down for one sack on the day.

The depth of the Miami passes was, far-and-away, the highest of the season. Averaging 9.3 air-yards-per-throw, aggression was the name of this game.

 

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 3/5 (60%)
11-19 yards 4/4 (100%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 11/14 (78.6%)

 

Tannehill has found fire on the intermediate pass this season. Tannehill has been on-target 11-of-12 times on throws between 11-19 yards.

Throwing into coverage proved fruitful for the Miami quarterback. On his six passes into coverage, four were completed for 92 yards and a touchdown. Adjusting for Devante Parker’s drop, that number would’ve been 5/6 with 125 yards and the score.

Tannehill was accurate on 19-out-of-23 throws. His misses were a pair of passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, an underthrown go route to Kenny Stills, and the potential touchdown on a post-route to Stills.

The 19-of-23 number accounts for the entirety of Tannehill’s mistakes. The one sack arrived in 2.66 seconds with no separation down field, and there were no egregious errors reading the defense.

Miami converted 12-of-26 of Tanenhill’s drop backs into first down. The 46.2% first down rate is the best of the season for the Miami offense.

The shotgun was used on 20 of the 26 drop backs and play-action was called seven times. Tannehill completed five of those seven play-action passes for 69 yards. One incompletion was a mis-fire on a potential touchdown to Stills off play-action, and Devante Parker dropped the other.

The Dolphin offense could’ve had a perfect 7-for-7 day on play-pass with 128 yards and a touchdown if properly executed.

Gase’s offense is still primarily an 11-personnel attack.

Miami’s personnel groupings, on passing plays, were as follows:

 

11-personnel 20 snaps
12-personnel 3 snaps
20-personnel 1 snap
13-personnel 1 snap

 

Yards after the catch weren’t prevalent in this game until the final offensive play for Miami. Without Albert Wilson’s 78 yards’ worth of YAC, Miami had only 75 yards after the catch, just 30% of the total passing yardage. With Wilson’s big gainer, Miami’s YAC went up to 52.9% of the passing game production.

It was a banner day for Tannehill in the box score. His passer rating is climbing, his record as a starter has been off-the-charts impressive his last 11 outings, and Dolphins fans are starting to buy in on the 30-year-old gun slinger.

The biggest takeaway from the game was Tannehill’s poise in the pocket, and the potential of how deadly this offense can be when the quarterback is protected. Tannehill’s big, precise arm was on-point throwing the ball down the field.

For that reason, a couple of nifty scrambles, and a day free of mental errors, Tannehill earns a resounding passing grade in this contest.

Result: Winning Performance

2018 Performance Results Number of Games
Winning Performance 2 (TEN, OAK)
Inconsequential Performance 1 (NYJ)
Losing Performance 0

@WingfieldNFL

Play-by-play Chart:

DrivePlayQuarterDown DistDownDistancePersonnelFormationBound/FieldResultThrow LocalDirectionPressurePres TimeContestedRouteTargetAir YardsYACPlay ActionGun/UCFD/TD
1111st and 101st10202x1BoundaryCompletionOn TargetMiddleSwingDrake-67Gun
2213rd and 63rd6113x1BoundaryPBUUnderthrowLeftHit1.68YesGoStills22Gun
2313rd and 93rd9113x19 yard runGunFirst Down
3411st and 101st10112x2FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleSlantAmendola86YesGunFirst Down
3511st and 101st10112x2BoundaryCompletionOn TargetRightSpeed OutStills60Gun
3613rd and 83rd8113x1BoundaryCompletionOn TargetMiddleHit2.51DragParker13Gun
3712nd and 172nd17113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleFlatGesicki-12Gun
4813rd and 163rd16113x1BoundaryOff targetHighMiddleScreenDrake-3Gun
4923rd and 93rd9113x1FieldCompletionOn targetLeftHit2.86YesPost cornerStills340GunTouchdown
51021st and 101st10112x2FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleSlantAmendola85YesGunFirst Down
61121st and 101st10112x2BoundaryCompletionOn TargetMiddleOverDerby151GunFirst Down
61221st and 101st10123x1FieldCompletionOn TargetLeftDeep outStills147YesU/CFirst Down
61321st and 101st10132x2FieldOff targetWideMiddleHurry1.98Post Stills26YesU/C
61422nd and 202nd20113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleYesHitchGesicki110Gun
61523rd and 193rd19113x2SackSack2.66
61632nd and 172nd17112x2BoundaryCompletionOn TargetRightFlatDrake33YesU/C
71733rd and 113rd11113x1BoundaryPBULOS batRightHitchGrant4Gun
71831st and 101st10113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleYesOverAmendola150YesU/CFirst Down
81931st and 101st10113x1BoundaryCompletionOn TargetRightYesGoParker324GunFirst Down
82032nd and 92nd9113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleShovelGrant-422GunTouchdown
82142nd and 102nd10113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleSquare InGesicki613GunFirst Down
92241st and 101st10112x2BoundaryDropOn TargetMiddleYesPostParker33YesU/C
92342nd and 102nd10113x1FieldCompletionOn TargetMiddleSwingWilson-22Gun
92443rd and 53rd5113x1FieldPBULos batMiddleSwingDrake-4Gun
92541st and 101st10123x118 yard runU/CFirst Down
102642nd and 42nd4122x1BoundaryCompletionOn TargetMiddleShovelWilson-478GunTouchdown

Additional Videos:

Tannehill scrambles for 18

Tannehill’s eye-manipulation and accuracy on display here

Kenny Stills puts Gareon Conley in the spin-cycle and Tannehill drives the out-route

Easy read and accurate throw makes for an easy completion

Miami finally began to use the RPO look for easy yardage on the slant to the vacated middle

Tannehill has always had issues with short, touch throws

 

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Miami Dolphins

Taco Charlton: New Acquisition Analysis

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins go back to the 2017 first round defensive end well, claim Charlton from waivers

The 2017 Dolphins were, sadly, one of the more anticipated teams this organization has assembled in recent memory. Fresh off a surprise 10-win season, heading into year-two of the new system, and bevy of players returning from injury had fans feeling optimistic.

Patching up the perceived holes on the roster — like the defensive end position — started with an atrocious Andre Branch extension, and ended on the draft’s opening night with a handful of edge rusher prospects ripe for picking.

Derek Barnett came off the board before Miami could pluck the future Super Bowl hero, but everyone else was available. Jonathan Allen was selected five picks ahead of the Dolphins, but he was billed more as a three and five-technique inside player, not a true edge rusher.

That left Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, Tak McKinley and T.J. Watt. Two of those players are off to sterling starts in their young careers — the other two are nearing their respective last legs, and both are now Miami Dolphins.

Charlton received his release from the Cowboys earlier this week after an under-whelming 34-game stay in Big D. Taco’s snap count is revealing of the feeling about the player among the Dallas staff.

 

Year Taco Charlton Defensive Snaps Played (% of Cowboys’ Defensive Snaps)
2017 399 (38.2%)
2018 401 (39.2%)
2019 0

 

A 40-percent snap-taker is typically indicative of one of two things for an edge player. He’s either a situational savant — whether that’s to support the run game or pin his ears back and get after the quarterback — or that he’s the second option in the rotation, A.K.A. a backup.

Charlton’s production suggests that he was the latter, and only because of his draft status. His descent into a game day inactive signaled the end of his time with the club that drafted him.

Rumors of a trade were speculated as the reason Charlton was a healthy scratch for the season’s first two games, but Head Coach Jason Garrett referred to the numbers game. “We have 10 guys on the active roster on the defensive line and we dressed eight for the game. It felt like the guys we had up there gave us the best chance,” Garrett said via a report from Bloggin’ The Boys.

Still, we have 800 reps to look at to figure out where it went wrong for Charlton, and if he possesses a legitimate shot to fit this scheme and carve out spot in the future plans of the NFL’s most steadfast rebuild operation.

First, let’s start with the type of player Charlton was supposed to be coming out of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program.

The Dolphins are a team that adheres strongly to prototypes all over the field, but particularly in the trenches. Explosive metrics aren’t nearly as important as length, strength, read-and-react skillsets, intelligence to process and execute a variety of roles (stunts, twists, slants, picks), and most importantly, playing with heavy hands.

His fit begins with his build. At 6’6’’, 270-pounds with 34.5-inch arms, Charlton looks like plenty of defensive ends in a Brian Flores (Bill Belichick defense) before him. Charlton doesn’t check off all those boxes from the previous paragraph, but he hits enough of the buzz words to justify a flier.

This from Lance Zierlein of NFL Media.

That immediate get-off and quickness would’ve suited him better in Miami’s wide-9 alignment under Matt Burke. The length will benefit him, especially as he forces tackles to quickly get into their pass sets. The challenge will be developing a secondary move to work back inside and underneath the tackle.

The glowing praise for his twist, bend, and lower-body control will serve him well in a defense that will stunt, stunt, and stunt some more.

Most of all, the length will help him excel in this scheme as a run defender. To lock out and hold the point of attack are keys, and those are areas that put Charlton on the map as a first-round prospect.

The weaknesses from that blurb are alarming. Getting washed out of his gap by power and allowing blockers into his frame will earn him a quick ticket right out of town — those are the departments where the surprise cuts in Nate Orchard and Dewayne Hendrix struggled.

Lack of consistency, takes plays off, needs a coach that will push him — those are the final takeaways from Zierlein’s conversation with an anonymous AFC Executive.

If there’s any one thing you can point to with Flores as far as his football acumen — this excludes leadership and communication — it’s his ability to coach football (novel idea, huh?) This feels like a Flores pet project.

Let’s get into some of Charlton’s Dallas tenure, starting with his metrics from Pro Football Focus.

Charlton has 38 total pressures in his two years as a pro (4 sacks, 8 hits, 26 hurries). He compiled those numbers on 464 pass rush reps, a pressure on 8.2% of his pass rush snaps — not good. His 4.1 weighted pass rush productivity mark in 2018 ranked 132ndamong all edge rushers.

Charlton missed four tackles on 34 opportunities — an 11.8 missed tackle percentage, also not good. He made 23 run-stops on 346 snaps against the ground game. That mark — 6.6% — landed Charlton at 73rd among edge defenders in 2018, and 143rd in 2017.

The majority of Charlton’s work came from the right side of the defensive line (position vacated by Robert Quinn, currently held by a cast of many in Miami). Charlton lined up for pass rushing situations on the right side for 67.3% of his total reps.

Now, for the tape.

If Charlton can piece together the finer points of his game and develop a better arsenal or rush moves, he’ll stick as a building block. The decreased workload this year, his lack of production dating back to college, and inconsistencies makes one wonder about the drive and work habits.

We’ll quickly find out about the character of Charlton. If he embraces this opportunity, it’s a great landing spot for him. If not, he’ll be back on the unemployment line in short order.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen Named Starting QB vs Cowboys; Claim DE Taco Charlton

Chris Kowalewski

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Only minutes after the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 loss against the Patriots, Head Coach Brian Flores maintained that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback… “Right now”.

By Thursday afternoon, it became clear that “right now” had passed as Josh Rosen was announced to take over the starting QB position ahead of Miami’s first road trip this Sunday against the Cowboys.

Fans had caught intermittent glimpses of Rosen’s abilities through the preseason and he has seen the field during replacement duty in Weeks 1 and 2, so far completing 8/21 passes for 102 yards, 2 INTs and a 38.1% completion percentage.

While Rosen has not yet led the Dolphins to regular season points, the second year passer will find his opportunity to do so in Dallas and the Dolphins will be able to make further evaluation of 2018’s tenth overall pick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran standing and experience had given him the early advantage, but the time has arrived in for the Dolphins to see what the future may bring – if anything – for Josh Rosen in Miami.

Whilst the national attention seems to be focused on Chris Grier’s rebuild of the roster, the Dolphins have claimed former first round pick, DE Taco Charlton, released by the Cowboys on Wednesday.

Charlton was the Dallas Cowboys’ first round selection in 2017, having played in 27 games (7 starts) and registered 4.0 sacks and 47 combined tackles.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Cowboys Week Three Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins Search to Stop the Bleeding in Big D

Who: Dolphins (0-2) at Cowboys (2-0)
When: Sunday September 22, 1:00 PM East
Where: AT&T Stadium — Arlington, TX
Weather: Dome
Vegas Slant: Dolphins +21

The hits keep coming for Miami. Another prominent fixture of the roster has been jettisoned, and another loaded team is on the docket for the downtrodden Dolphins.

This current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys is akin to what Miami hopes to build in a couple years’ time — stout trench play, emerging young quarterback, and star-studded skill positions.

Three touchdown underdogs for the second consecutive week, the Dolphins are introducing college point-spreads into the National Football League. Miami’s 19-point home handicap last week was the biggest such spread for a host team since the 2007 season, and the Dolphins are now channeling the 2013 Broncos-Jaguars game that climbed up over 25 points before betting closed.

The Dolphins were far more competitive last week, even if the scoreboard didn’t show it. Contributions from star Cornerback Xavien Howard, upstart Linebacker Jerome Baker, and surprising recent addition Vince Biegel were the silver linings in the 43-point thrashing; we’re looking for more of those in Dallas.

The Scheme:

Offense:

The switch from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore might’ve been the biggest upgrade in the NFL this offseason. Moore, a coach’s son that made it to the NFL for his cerebral prowess at the quarterback position, is dressing up Dallas’ offense with disguise, misdirection, and tendency breakers.

Dallas varies it’s running scheme, but the talent to execute simple gap-schemes and power concepts allows Moore to get creative with the play action game. Cowboys players praise Moore for his nuance and emphasis on getting players in position to exhibit their best traits.

Scheming chunk-plays in the passing game, running the football to keep the offense on schedule, and devising red zone concepts to free up pass catchers in the condensed area already has Moore’s name circulating as the next hot head coaching candidate.

Defense:

On top of impeccable front-seven talent, the Cowboys borrow concepts from some of the most accomplished, revolutionary defensive schemes in the history of the league. Rod Marinelli still carries the title of Defensive Coordinator, but it’s a co-op with he and the up-and-coming Kris Richard.

With elements of the Tampa-2 from Marinelli’s days with the Bucs — and more recently in Chicago — fused with Richard’s rendition of the wildly popular scheme originated by Pete Carroll, Dallas is successful in a multitude of packages and pre-snap disguises.

Creating one-on-one rush opportunities from their elite pass rushers, while playing a variety of cover-3, 2, and 1 on the back-end, the Cowboys can apply pressure while dropping seven — the ultimate goal of every NFL defense.

Look for Chad O’Shea to attack this defense with more in-breaking routes. That means high-low and drive concepts (designed to displace zone coverage and attack the middle of cover-1 and Tampa-2 defenses) and seam shots with the Cowboys drop two deep.

The Players:

Offense:

Dak Prescott is off to an MVP-caliber beginning to his 2019 season. Prescott handles pressure in two ways — the type of pressure applied by ferocious fronts, and the pressure of big moments. He’s accurate, creates opportunities off-script, and allows Kellen Moore to utilize designed runs.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Then there’s Zeke Elliot, who’s just getting rolling. Zeke, behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line with the healthy Travis Frederic, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’El Collins, Dallas can line up and push teams off the football.

The Dolphins must get big showings from Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins to hold the point-of-attack and free up Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan to meet Zeke in the hole.

Amari Cooper is one of the game’s best route runners, and he pairs that with size and speed. He’ll be a tough matchup for Miami, unless Xavien Howard wants to travel with the Cowboys play maker. That opens up another bag of worms, especially as Miami will be working in a new safety alongside corner-convert, Bobby McCain.

Jason Witten is back, but he serves mostly as an additional lineman and the forgotten man in the red zone (as far as the defense is concerned, Witten has two touchdowns already on plays that schemed him wide open). Michael Gallup will miss this game while the resurgent Randal Cobb will help keep the Miami defense honest horizontally in the misdirection game.

Defense:

Jaylon Smith leads the defense with his instinctive, urgent playing style that pairs well with uncommon physical traits. He and Leighton Vander Esch set the tone in the middle of the Dallas defense, and a lot of the scheme is designed to free these two up to wreak havoc. Smith’s athleticism allows Marinelli to keep the Tampa-2 concept alive.

Demarcus Lawrence is set to have a field day. Miami haven’t been able to block anybody this year, and now will have to handle one of the game’s best pass rushers against deafening crowd noise.

Byron Jones has fallen out of favor in Dallas. The dependable Jeff Heath, and the underrated Xavier Woods make it so, while Chidobe Awuzie locks down the opposition’s number one receiver. Dallas’ vulnerability in this position group from the perimeter corner position opposite Awuzie. Jones has been playing corner to pair with slot specialist Jourdan Lewis and Awuzie.

If Miami can create one-on-one passing opportunities into the boundary, look for O’Shea to attack vertically and hope to steal some points — the best bet here is likely Preston Williams.

The Medical:

The Concerns:

Quite literally all over the football field. Dallas can line up with power and milk the Dolphins defense dry. They can attack vertically, or in the controlled passing game with well-timed shot plays built into the offense, all on top of exceptional red zone production in the early going of 2019.

Demarcus Lawrence leads the team in pressures, but he’s only pulled the quarterback down once — that ties the team lead. This Cowboys pass rush is going to be champing at the bit to pad those stats, and there’s no reason to think Miami can handle the relentless pressure, even without blitzing.

The Opportunities:

Special teams might be the one area Miami can spark some magic. The Dolphins are off to a slow start in this department as well, but Jakeem Grant’s big-play ability will be needed if Miami are to pull the miracle upset.

Finding vertical shots — whether it’s Mike Gesicki splitting the Tampa-2, Preston Williams winning an outside release into the boundary without safety help, or getting a fly-by from Grant, Miami needs some fireworks.

The Projected Outcome:

The game plan came together defensively in the first half against the Patriots, but it’s a challenge for even the league’s best stop-units to carry a lifeless offense. Unless the Dolphins can finally sustain some drives and convert in the red zone, this game will get out of hand. It’s doubtful Miami can do that, so look for an aggressive offense that tries to hit the big play.

Dallas just has too much star power and excellent coordinators for Miami to pick them off — or even cover.

Dolphins 6
Cowboys 31

@WingfieldNFL

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