Welcome to part 3 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.
If you want insight into how bad the offensive line was for the Dolphins last year, here is a decent example. The Dolphins are in max protect against a single high safety, as they are just running two possible receivers. The whole idea of max protect is to buy time for the receivers to get open down the field, as you can see these slow developing routes. However, the right tackle whiffs on the play, which forces Osweiler out of the pocket towards a linebacker. Ideally, the running back stays to protect against this linebacker, but he’s too busy chasing down the defender that just beat the right tackle. Once the tackle whiffs, this play is all but over because the linebacker has a clear path towards the QB. The play is developing too far down the field, and Osweiler doesn’t have the space to step up and throw this pass.
How does this impact the Jets? Darnold is a better passer on the run but this is still a problem with the Jets offensive line woes. The main issue here is how the play calling had the right idea, but the line tanks it.
I’m not sure what Osweiler is reading on this play, because they have trips left with the perfect play to convert this 3rd and 4th play in the red zone. They have two in breaking routes, with a slot receiver cutting outside. All the QB here has to do is read the linebacker on the play. If the linebacker stays home (as was the case here), then hit the outside breaking slot receiver for an easy conversion. If the linebacker follows the slot receiver, then the first in breaking receiver has inside leverage in the end zone and the QB has a clear path. Instead, Osweiler completely ignores that side, rather looking towards the other side at the crucial moment a decision had to be made. I don’t understand the progression of this read, because his first read needs to be slot receiver. Notice the timing of the routes, because the slot receiver breaks first. At the same time, the tight end towards the bottom of the screen is just setting up the fade route towards the back of the end zone. The whole play is schemed to be read from slot receiver out break, second receiver with the inside route, and then a possible fade to the other side. Instead, the QB looks around aimlessly, and throws away the pass.
How does this impact the Jets? This is once again, an example of how they dialed up an easy play for the QB, but the QB just reading it completely wrong and leaving points on the field. I’m not sure this would have been a touchdown, but it most certainly would have been first and goal. It’s vital that Darnold gets acclimated to the playbook, because these are the easy reads that were missing last year in the red zone.
On this play, the Dolphins have a shot at a long touchdown, but Osweiler abandons the pocket and rushes out, instead of just stepping up and allowing the routes to develop. He has two options down the field, with the middle receiver all but assured to have inside leverage on this route. Part of the blame has to be on the offensive line, but this is a play call that was set to succeed, but the QB didn’t keep his eyes down the field. The problem isn’t stepping up on this play, but his decision to run towards the left side. The moment he’s stepping up in the pocket, he has a receiver running right down the middle with an expected cut to the inside. The direct defender on him has his hips turned to the wrong side as well, so the QB just needs to step up and throw this pass. Instead, Osweiler escapes the pocket first, before reassessing his options, but by then the defense has recovered.
How does this impact the Jets? Sam Darnold has an innate ability to keep his eyes down the field while moving in the pocket, a trait he displayed numerous times last year. Gase does have a tendency to call plays that develop further down the field at times, but it only works if the QB can stay calm and avoid sacks, and throw with anticipation.
This play is titled the Hackenberg throw. First of all, this is pretty much a mirror play from the missed touchdown two plays ago, with the TE running a slant route instead of a fade. The play is there on 3rd and 5, but Osweiler just flat out misses the throw. Notice his lead foot and how it’s pointed towards the sidelines. This was Hackenberg’s main issue coming out of college, where he would throw against his body, and the ball would be inaccurate. Osweiler actually has two options on this play, with the first one being the missed throw. The second built in option is that TE crossing route, since they even set up a pick play to help free the receiver. The tight end runs open as well, but Osweiler doesn’t see him at all.
I know it’s beaten to death at this point, but these are situations in the red zones where drives were killed, when the play call had easy reads to help the QB.
How does this impact the Jets? Christian Hackenberg is no longer on the Jets, so he can’t hurt you anymore.
Brock Osweiler threw it to quite possibly the one guy that is extremely well covered on this play. The other guys aren’t quite as open as it may seem, but I wanted to use this to highlight bad reads. The Texans are in zone cover 2, except the linebacker is matched up one on one with the tight end. Everyone else is in zone cover, which is what Osweiler reads. His first read is towards the bottom of the screen, which is where he reads zone. However, when he moves on from the first read, he should see the linebacker turned around and running step for step with his tight end, therefore indicating the defender isn’t in zone coverage. However, Osweiler throws this pass anyway with a linebacker running step for step and a safety over the top. He has two receivers beating the initial zone, which were better choices. They weren’t as open as the end result because he has to make that throw over the initial zone, but before the safeties come into play. If the zones are too far back, they have an easy dump off pass to the running back available, guaranteed to gain yards on first down. Instead, this is almost picked off by the safety because Osweiler threw this ball assuming he had zone cover on his tight end.
How does this impact the Jets? Sam Darnold is good at reading defenses, but these are concepts that he will have to learn with experience. He has to realize that schemes aren’t rigid in calls, where it’s zone or man all the way across (as much as Todd Bowles would disagree), so he will have to adjust based on what he sees down the field. On this play, the linebacker with his back turned running down the field indicates man cover for just the tight end, and he should have moved onto his other reads.
I love the set up of this 3rd and 10 play to beat zone coverage, which also shows an adjustment on the same drive as our previous play. Similar to the last play, the middle linebacker stays in man coverage (this time with the slot receiver) and the outside receiver cuts into the vacated spot. If you compare this play to the last one, you can clearly see the adjustment to the defense and how it created a wide open passing lane. On the last play, the outside receivers ran go routes, where this is a deep in route assuming the linebacker will stay in man coverage. Unfortunately, the offensive line is horrible for the Dolphins, and Osweiler isn’t great at throwing on the run. He makes the correct read here, but the throw is off-line because he has a defender in his face.
How does this impact the Jets? Gase had trouble with late developing plays in Miami, because the offensive line just wasn’t good. This is a play that should have been an easy conversion because the defense is only rushing four, and it’s the perfect route combination against this particular defense. The plan falls apart because the guard falls prey to a spin move and leads the defender right to the QB. I expect the Jets to go heavy on the offensive line in the draft (possibly by trading down) because shoddy line play caused massive headaches for Gase in Miami.
Thanks for reading part 3 of our Gase’s Offense: Tannehill/Osweiler Held Him Back series. Please check back with us soon for Part 4.