Ryan Tannehill might be the most polarizing player in the history of the Miami Dolphins’ franchise.
Weeks ago, Miami’s quarterback was described as a “personality-devoid choker” by a local gossip columnist, the reason two lineman were cut by writer Omar Kelly, and possessing a lower ceiling than former Dolphins third-stringer Brandon Doughty, according to radio host Orlando Alzugaray. Today, the perception is gravy with the team amid a four-game winning streak and Tannehill coming off one of the best games of his career.
One major misconception on the Tannycoaster has been his deep ball, which fans and media alike have assumed to be inadequate. This is far from the case, notes Cian Fahey of Football Outsiders in a recent film room analysis.
It’s fair to say Tannehill doesn’t always make these plays. It’s not fair to call this game an aberration though. Tannehill has always been a talented deep passer. His perception has been hurt by having ineffective receivers. Whether it’s Mike Wallace‘s inability to track the ball and his penchant for trying unnecessary one-handed catches, or Kenny Stills‘ inconsistent hands, or Jarvis Landry‘s inability to get open deep, Tannehill has never had a receiver who he can trust to make a play on the ball if he puts it in the right spot.
Tannehill’s perception has also been hurt by how bad some of his misses have been. Accuracy should be measured by how often you make a throw, not how it looks when you miss or when you hit. It’s why guys like Derek Carr have their accuracy overrated. Every pass Carr throws looks pretty because of his instantaneous release and the velocity he generates, but his consistency on a play-to-play basis isn’t where Tannehill’s is.
He ranked fourth last season in deep ball accuracy. Also realize Fahey has been praising Tannehill all season, well before the team’s recent streak, which featured some spectacular throws down the field from No. 17.
So while it appears Tannehill may be finally turning the corner, some smart football minds like Fahey think he’s been standing there all along, just that we’ve been unable to see it because of the disastrous support around him.