Welcome to part 2 of the series about the faults with Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler, with regards to how it limited the effectiveness of Adam Gase’s offense. We will discuss the issues with the offense itself in a later series, while also discussing the bright spots within the same offense. Please don’t take this article as an excuse for Adam Gase, since he’s far from perfect, but this is just about how his quarterbacks held him back. Please check back with us for the rest of this series.
This is a play from the Bengals game for Tannehill, in which he has two wide open options and it ends up being an incomplete pass. The blame partially goes on the QB, but the guard gave up pressure to Geno Atkins, who got a clean shot at Ryan Tannehill. I want you to notice the importance of the late movement against this coverage. The slot receiver goes in motion, which brings the slot cornerback towards the formation, at which point he switches assignments with the safety on the other side of the field. The cornerback is now protecting against the run, while the safety is in pass coverage. Therefore, the late movement now has switched strengths to weaknesses in coverage. You would normally assume a cornerback isn’t as good at tackling as a safety, and the safety isn’t as good at coverage like a cornerback. It doesn’t factor in for this play, but I found it interesting as to how a late motion changed the coverage on the play.
The left guard does a terrible job at stopping Atkins, which blows up the play. However, we’re really just looking at the concepts here since I doubt many of you care to see Ryan Tannehill succeed. The play call has two receivers wide open on the play. The initial move of the slot cornerback gives a one on one match up to Kenny Stills, which he wins. The movement across now holds the safety towards the line of scrimmage because his assignment has changed, thus freeing up the second receiver for an in route. If we assume assignments switched, notice how the initial slot corner drifts back into the middle as soon as he sees that as a passing play. If the safety had done the same, the second route towards the bottom of the screen would not be open, or at least as open.
The whole point is moot because the guard is overwhelmed, and Tannehill gets hit as he’s throwing. This goes from a great play design to failure with one extra step from the QB. Tannehill hesitates to throw the ball and holds on for an extra second, which leads to him getting hit.
How does this bode well for the Jets? Darnold has “magical sloppiness” according to Dan Orlovsky, which help him make accurate throws without setting his feet properly. Therefore, he’s better prepared for a situation such as this play because he would be more accurate without setting his feet. I’m not saying Gase is going to dial up plays to get his franchise QB obliterated, but he’s more suited to make good throws out of bad protection.
This is a 3rd down and short play, and it’s a much-maligned screen pass. However, notice how it was set up perfectly to succeed, but the right tackle blows his assignment and torpedoes up the play. The late movement once again is clearing one side of the field, while changing assignments. How does the movement make an impact on assignments? Notice the cornerback on top as the runner goes in motion. He moves to the slot receiver, while they are in man coverage, therefore his assignment is to follow Danny Amendola on his route. This is a 3rd and short play, so he needs to be aggressive on the slant route from the slot position. Amendola on the other hand, has a chip block assignment for this play towards the linebacker. Ideally, Amendola chip blocks the linebacker to slow him down, leading him towards the right tackle. Unfortunately, the right tackle runs too wide, and gives the linebacker a direct path towards the passing lane. It’s hard to tell if the pass is tipped, but in either case, Drake drops the ball.
How does this bode well for the Jets? Instead of Amendola in the slot, the Jets can put Quincy Enunwa in that spot, who is a much better blocker. On the outset, this seems like a failed screen pass in a critical situation. However, before you take out the Brian Schottenheimer voodoo doll of offensive coordinator malpractice, know that it was a great call. If the right tackle could stay in his lane, this would be an easy conversion.
If you want to know why Ryan Tannehill never improved much as a QB, here is Exhibit 18. He never takes his eye of the intended receiver, even though he’s covered extremely well on this play. Could you call a penalty for pass interference? Yes, in New England and if Tom Brady is throwing it, but it’s very close to the 5 yard contact area. There is an easy crossing route open, but Tannehill never sees it come open because he’s busy staring into the eyes of the first read here.
How does this impact the Jets? Don’t look at anyone else but the running back. Notice how open the wheel route becomes on this play. This is why Adam Gase is excited about the Bell signing, because this is a match-up nightmare for linebackers. Bell is one of the best pass catching running backs in the league, and this is a situation tailor made for a wheel route.
Brock Osweiler in to start now for the Dolphins. The next game is against the Bears, where he went 28/44 with 3 TDs and a 94 passer rating. Remember those stats as you read further.
This is a 3rd and 6 play, and Albert Wilson drops a pass down the middle, which would have gone for good yards. Players drop passes, that is normal on any team, so I’m more interested in the route combination here. Notice that Wilson has slight inside leverage on the cornerback (Kyle Fuller) so the inside breaking route should be open down the field. The deterrent to that option is the linebacker in the middle. If the linebacker follows the slot receiver up the field, then this pass is not going to be open. The linebacker stays home in the middle, at which point the Wilson’s route is bound to have inside release. The receiver is wide open here because the defenders ran into each other, but regardless this is a route that should be open down the field. If the linebacker did follow up the field, then there is an easy outlet pass to the running back which should get the first down with the middle of the field abandoned.
How does this impact the Jets? Chicago is a tough defense, as the Jets found out themselves. However, easy reads such as these go a long way in helping a QB sustain drives because it puts them in position to succeed with one or two reads. On this play, the QB has to read the linebacker and then make a fairly safe throw since his receiver should have inside leverage.
This is an easy conversion, all Osweiler has to do is read the defender on tight end Mike Gesicki for the pass. Notice the timing on this play, as the read goes inside out. The first read is Gesicki, and then the outside routes break a millisecond later as the secondary reads. The QB gets exactly what he wants in the defender releasing the TE to the inside, yet Osweiler holds onto the ball until the safety gets all the way down into the play. This was a common theme with Osweiler at times in the game, where he seemed to hold onto the ball longer. However, since he’s a replacement for Tannehill and thrust into a game against one of the best defenses in the league, it’s understandable to be apprehensive. I’m just highlighting this play to show how the play call wasn’t the issue, nor was it complicated. It’s a simple read that was botched, and therefore ended up as incomplete.
How does this impact the Jets? Sam Darnold is quicker at decision making than Tannehill or Osweiler, with better reads.
Thanks for reading Part 2 of Gase’s Offense: Tannehill/Osweiler Held Him Back. Please check back with us for Part 3 soon.