The Jets hired Adam Gase to be the new head coach, and the decision was met with widespread skepticism, of which some have dissipated. The main point of contention is the lack of progress from Ryan Tannehill, and the putrid offensive rankings of the Dolphins when led by the so-called offensive genius.
We break down film from two games (Patriots/Jets) early in the season to show why Adam Gase’s offense is not entirely at fault for the terrible rankings, and why Ryan Tannehill plays a major role in limiting the offensive potential. We will look at other games from the season as we move through the off-season.
This is a pass that goes for 0 yards to Albert Wilson, but it looks like a bad read from Tannehill. The Dolphins go empty backfield, with 3 receivers stacked to the left side of the formation, and 2 on the other side on a 1st and 10 play. The team is running a pick play to the right side of the formation, while they are running a quick screen to the left side of the formation. However, look at the defense on this play, because they dedicated four defenders to three receivers to the left side, and threw a linebacker in there to take away the quick inside slant. Essentially, the entire defense is playing a throw to the outside, while the linebacker inside the slot receiver has the sole function to prevent a quick inside slant. Once the inside slant is taken off the table, the linebacker rushes the QB since his task is completed. Tannehill is playing right into this defense, when the other side of the field is set up much better for a completion. The pick play should cause one of the receivers to break free, and in this case both receivers are open. The quick slant to the middle of the field is open with a trailing linebacker, and the route to the TE is open as a one on one match up with the safety. On the outset, this play looks like a bad set up by Gase, but they have the built-in option to beat this defense on the other side of the field. Unfortunately, Tannehill doesn’t read it at the line, even though his first look is to his right side. He comes off the read before the pick play even takes effect.
The very next play, and there are glaring issues once again. The main problem from Tannehill on this play is the post snap read. The Dolphins have a double move down the sideline with Albert Wilson (guarded by Gilmore), and Tannehill locks in on the match up. The problem is really the deep safety and that is the biggest read here for this throw. The Dolphins are running a post route in combination with the stop and go route, and it’s designed to occupy the safety. If the safety bites on the post, then the outside route will have a much better shot. If the safety doesn’t bite (as was the case here) then the post route is practically wide open for a sizable gain. All Tannehill has to do on the play is read the safety and know he’s sitting on the go route from Wilson, so the post route will have a much better shot. However, the QB takes the deep option with an impossible throw. The cornerback is only a step behind so anything under-thrown will be contested, while the safety is over the top, thus anything overthrown will be picked off. The two defenders will converge on the receiver by the time the throw reaches the target area, making a miraculous catch the best case scenario. They are lucky this ball isn’t intercepted. Once again, I can’t blame this pass on Gase, because there is a built in counter to this defense, which Tannehill ignores completely. However, I am going to blame Gase for the route concept from Albert Wilson. The young receiver establishes outside leverage on this play, while running a stop and go, which is perfectly fine. The biggest issue is his fake stop move to the outside, which doesn’t fool the cornerback. Why is he faking to the outside? He is running right near the sidelines, at which point, Gilmore doesn’t have to turn his hips because there is a very small window for a throw to the outside. Why isn’t the fake towards the inside, so Gilmore is forced to turn his hips, which would allow for a better release? Hip manipulation is vital in pulling off a double move and this set up has minimal cause for reaction from the defender.
The very next play, so we’re talking the entire drive here. Tannehill does call an audible on the play, so it’s not clear how much of the blame falls on Gase and the staff. The clear first read is Amendola from the slot, who is open for a brief moment at the first down marker. Tannehill is staring him down from the get-go, but doesn’t pull the trigger, opting to make a difficult throw to the outside. Don’t pay attention to the throw, since Tannehill was hit as he was making this throw, which is why it’s well off target. The bigger issue is that he has a receiver with at 1-2 step separation running down the field, but instead picks the guy that is extremely well covered. This is just a bad read once again, where possibly open receivers weren’t targeted because of terrible post-snap reads. Another thing to notice is the set up for Tannehill because notice how long he takes to rewind himself, after moving on from Amendola. This is why Dan Orlovsky was talking about “magical sloppiness” from Sam Darnold, because he doesn’t always need to reset his feet perfectly to make a good throw. If Tannehiill could have sped up his set up on the play, he would not have gotten hit, allowing for a great chance of completion. Once again, it’s an audible play so I’m not sure how much of the blame can go on Gase here, but a heavy dose can be placed on the QB.
There are 2 receivers running wide open down the middle of the field with open space on 1st down, and Tannehill throws it right to the defender, and once again is lucky it’s not intercepted. This isn’t a complicated breakdown, because the read is the late rushing linebacker. If the linebacker stays with the receiver, then Tannehill has space to run to the outside or hit Gore in stride for a sizable gain. If the linebacker disengages the receiver, then you have two passing options instead of a pass or run option. This is a play that you just can’t miss, and the QB misses spectacularly.
The play call has free receivers to both sides of the formation as dump off passes that should get at least 4-5 yards, if not more, but Tannehill decides to throw this pass to the receiver who is double covered. The Patriots are well ahead by now, so they are willing to allow dump off passes and defending the deep routes. However, by adamantly focusing on throwing deeper passes, you are playing right into their comfort zone.
To be completely honest, I don’t want to put his game against the Jets in this article, because the Jets might be one of the worst coached teams in the league. When reading this, remember Tannehill finished 17/23 with 2 TDs and a 123.1 passer rating. I’m placing it in the article because everyone here is familiar with the defense.
This play call is absolutely idiotic from the Jets’ defense, considering it’s 3rd and 8. The Jets have two deep safeties, with a linebacker dropping deep like it’s an end of the half situation. The Dolphins have a myriad of crossing routes, with at least two wide open. There is a two-tiered crossing pattern from the left side of the formation, with the second player easily open for a pass. From the right side of the formation, there is another crossing pattern with a receiver that doesn’t have any defender near him whatsoever. The Jets triple team the running back out of the backfield here essentially, as you can see the linebacker (Lee) follow the running back from the start. This aspect of the play is fine and dandy. However, Trumaine Johnson hands over his receiver to…….open space, so he can double team the running back out of the backfield on 3rd and long. Jamal Adams also is looking at the running and creeping towards the sideline, thus making it a 3 on 1 match-up. All Ryan Tannehill has to do here is avoid throwing it to the running back, and this is an easy conversion. Nevertheless, determined to cheer up Todd Bowles, he helps the Jets escape by throwing it to the one guy that is well covered, and the receiver is stopped short of the first down. On the Jets’ side, there aren’t any explanations for this defense because they let two receivers roam wide open in the middle of the field.
This is another negative play from Tannehill, as you can see how he botches a perfect opportunity. The Jets blitz with Jamal Adams, and they have a tight end come across the formation to pick up the blitz on this play action play. Notice the direction of this play action, as it’s towards the right side of the formation. The whole purpose of the play action is to draw in the linebackers (which is exactly what happens) and hold the safety (which is exactly what happens). The play is set up perfectly to throw the comeback route to the left of the formation because the Jets’ defender is giving up space, and the receiver is open for this route. Tannehill even looks at the receiver as his first read, and inexplicably peels off to the covered options on the other side of the field. In the meantime, Adams has now evaded the TE, and chases down Tannehill for the strip sack, which is recovered by the Dolphins. This is another case, where the play design worked EXACTLY as planned, yet Tannehill made the wrong read. Ryan Tannehill has a lot of tools, but his ability to read defenses is sorely lacking, and it hampered Gase’s offense.
This play isn’t as egregious as the others, but once again you see an opportunity to convert on third down foiled by the QB’s ineptitude. The Dolphins run a three-tiered slant against zone, and Tannehill has the opportunity to hit at least two of them. Nonetheless, Tannehill holds onto the ball and eventually gets sacked, when once again the defense had given him a good chance to convert.
How can you miss this throw? Remember the stats from the game for Tannehill.
Adam Gase goes for the kill shot here, and gets a receiver with at least 2 steps ahead of the nearest defender, and Tannehill flat out misses him. The Jets are caught in a zone defense here with the safety turned around to the wrong side. It’s clear the corner-back expects safety help over the top, but it never materializes as the safety goes towards the middle of the field. If the safety doesn’t go over to the middle of the field, then the slot receiver from the right side of the formation is going to open for a sizable gain. If the safety doesn’t go to the middle of the field, but Jamal Adams takes the slot receiver over the top, then the outside receiver from the right side of the field is going to be open down the sideline. You can see how the progression is set up from left to right for Tannehill, but he has his first option wide open. It’s a great set up by the Dolphins, especially because Todd Bowles is playing “What would I do” defense and expecting a run up the middle with the lead.
Adam Gase is not perfect by any means, as we will explore later in the off-season. However, his offensive system was extremely limited by the inability of Ryan Tannehill to make post-snap reads, which thwarted numerous opportunities for easy yardage and first downs. I’m not making the argument that Gase would be the poster child for offensive innovation with a good QB, but judging by purely stats is an empty exercise. Tannehill has the physical ability to make every throw in the book, and enough mobility to be a threat in the running game, but his play recognition is definitely not up to standard. These are just two games I’ve looked at, since Jets fans are familiar with both of the defenses. I’ll look at other games from this past season as the off-season rolls on to highlight the reason why Miami might trade up in the upcoming draft for a QB. Furthermore, we will examine some of the shortcomings of Gase’s passing offense as well because he certainly wasn’t perfect.