Ryan Tannehill has a better deep ball than the son of the football gods himself, Tom Brady.
At least in 2016 he did.
Yes, Ryan Timothy Tannehill III was significantly more accurate chucking the ball down the field last season, and 19 other quarterbacks were as well. While Brady is a butcher in the short-to-intermediate passing game (think under 20 yards), he connected on just 38.7 percent (ranking 20th) of passes traveling 21 yards or more.
Tannehill’s 55.6 percent ranked third, trailing only Sam Bradford (1st) and Andrew Luck (2) while looking down on the likes of big names like Drew Brees (4th), Matt Ryan (5th), and even Aaron Rodgers (7th).
The mind-boggling stat was one of many uncovered in the 2017 Pre-Snap Reads Quarterback Catalogue, an expertly crafted guide by Cian Fahey taking you through the most detailed and advanced quarterback analysis (nearly 200 pages) I’ve ever encountered.
The Pre-Snap Reads Quarterback Catalogue is available now. Select chapters can be bought individually https://t.co/axpACswJKN
— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) April 29, 2017
How about that for an offseason nugget, one you should probably keep in your back pocket for the next time you encounter the most obnoxious fan base in sports. Where Brady dominates is on the intermediate routes, leading the league by a wide margin on balls traveling 11 to 20 yards (75%).
It’s important to note Tannehill didn’t throw deep that frequently, attempting those deep balls just 10 percent of the time, which ranks 21st, but it’s still impressive, especially considering his perceived deep ball issues from earlier in his career and the fact his offensive line has always been below average.
If we widen the scope on 2016, Tannehill was actually not only one of the most accurate passers in football but also one of the unluckiest.
He ranked fourth overall in accuracy percentage at 80 percent (Brady was 10th) and was not to blame on a league-high 50 percent of his 12 interceptions. Here’s how Tannehill’s accuracy stacks up from various levels:
To 0 YDS: 95% (3rd)
1-10 YDS: 82% (11th)
11-20 YDS: 68% (7th)
21+ YDS: 56% (3rd)
The entire premise of this premium guide was to remove all the incomparable variables when studying quarterback play. Some passers have more time to throw. Others have wideouts who can’t consistently get open. Some face much tougher defenses throughout their 16-game season sample. This is why raw quarterback metrics are deceiving.
The numbers Fahey uncovers from studying what feels like years of tape remove all the noise so we can better compare the game’s most critical position across an even playing field.
For instance, Tannehill’s protection last year continued to be awful. Of his 27 sacks, only one was deemed unavoidable — ONE. To add context, his avoidable sack percentage of 3.7 percent was nearly one/fifth of Brady’s (17.4%), who ranks 16th, and about TEN times less than David Carr’s (40%), who ranks 32nd.
So next time you hear about Tannehill’s lacking pocket presence, throw that number at that ignorant hot-take spewer because it appears to be pure fiction, at least as it pertains to the 2016 season.
“His pocket presence criticisms have largely been misguided based on playing in pockets that were never clean,” Fahey writes, “so there is little that Gase can ask Tannehill to do that he will struggle with.”
Under his detailed breakdown of number 17, Fahey says Tannehill’s only poor performances came against the Bills and the Rams. That’s one bad performance for every eight games.
Fahey did express a concern with Tannehill going forward but it had nothing to do with his talent or skills, but how he’ll respond mentally to his season-ending knee injury.
“He has played behind some of the worst offensive lines in the league over the course of his career,” he writes. “The Dolphins passing game should have been a travesty because of it. His willingness to take hits and keep delivering the ball accurately prevented that from happening. It’s also why he got hurt against the Cardinals. That’s the biggest question for Tannehill moving forward. Will he continue to be as confident in his feet and decisive with his actions in the pocket after suffering such a significant knee injury? Only time will tell.”
While Tannehill needs to prove he’s capable of bouncing back from a serious injury, his ability speaks for itself. As a high-end quarterback in a league starving for them, Tannehill may not be on the same level of quarterback gods like Brady or Rodgers, but he’s quietly ascending the ranks no matter what the raw numbers or old-school “analysts” tell you.