Sunday, January 12, 2014

A thought about the playoffs, QBs, and coaches

Watching the games yesterday made me stop and think...all of the teams that made the tournament have the winning combination of coach and QB. Its not so much that one of the them is so great (though in several cases that's part of it), its that the combination works. They believe in each other and achieve success.

So if we look first at the coaches, what do they generally have in common? IMHO its simple, their in-game decisions are good. They don't do things to harm their teams, rather they challenge them to do their best. And they show a certain level of passion for the game. Now in some of them, its very obvious with the flashy emotion on the sidelines (ie, the Harbuaghs), and with others its more cerebral and their outward emotions aren't all that, but they do get fired up when they need to - and don't for example, give the fist pump when there's a field goal (Bill Bellichick anyone?)

And what does Miami have? A coach who isn't a great leader, and sometimes he makes questionable decisions. Does that make him particularly bad? Probably not, but then he doesn't seem to have "it"....and his relationship with the QB? Well more on that in a moment.

The QBs in the playoffs are all top-tier guys. They have a will to win, and its been evident since the day they took the field. It didn't take over 30 games for people to say "oh yeah, he's progressing and maybe good one day." Nope, they're all guys who can win games, and have always had the talent.

And so, while this will undoubtedly generate discussion and will cause people to call me names, I think Ryan Tannehill is not that type of guy. He's ranked in the low 20s (out of the 39 guys who started a game this year), in Quarterback rating, ESPN's QBR, in efficiency, yards, and a few other categories.

And the thing about him is that still hasn't shown that fire, nor has he taken the team on his shoulders and won a game for them, but he has lost a few through his play.  And it seems to me that the coaches have simplified the playbook for him, because he's not ready or they don't trust him.  And in either case that screams problem to me.

Sure, you could push the blame to the o-line, or somewhere else.  But a top-tier QB will overcome that and elevate everyone else's play (can you imagine Peyton Manning or Tom Brady using that as an excuse?!).

To those of you who say it takes time....how much more time are you willing to give this guy?  He's been at it 2 seasons already.  Want to wait another two?  A few games?  When is it enough?  He needed "weapons" and the team went out and got Mike Wallace, and it seems clear these two couldn't connect, and probably never will.  Wallace needs a guy who can drop it over his shoulder - Ryan is not that kind of a QB. 

Perhaps he could be a decent middle-of-the-road QB (I will never in a million years believe this guy will be an elite QB) with the right coach - but that brings me around to the coach/QB relationship.  These guys don't have it.  Do you think Philbin really believes in him?  Do you think Tannehill would ever argue about being taken out when they decide to kick a field goal?  And when Tannehill has not-too-nice things to say about the departing OC, who is the coach's friend and mentor, how well do you think that relationship will work out?

Bottom line: they need to be on the same page, but neither one is the right guy for the other (and probably neither of them should still have jobs today, but that's another story).

If the coach can't or won't be replaced, the only alternative is to replace the QB.  And I am advocating for them to get one of the top guys in this year's draft!  There are a lot of them, and if Miami doesn't have a problem trading up to #3 to draft a defensive lineman who played about the same amount as I did, then they should be able to maneuver into a position to get Bridgewater!  Wouldn't that be sweet?!  Take the guy and let him compete with Tannehill.  It allows you to possibly stash one and trade him if the other works out.  (and we all know Ryan wouldn't win out in that scenario)

Somebody undoubtedly will want Tannehill - heck the Jags took Chad Henne...

Its just time to move on.  And I'm hoping they do. Bridgewater is my new man crush, and I will watch him wherever he goes.  He's from Miami, so talk about building some hype and putting fans in seats...


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11 comments

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David,

I agree with you sentiments on Thill - he'll end up being a journeyman, like Checkdown, in two years. If the new GM comes on board, I would like to believe the guy will seriously look at drafting a QB. Many would say that would be a wasted pick, but I can't believe any new GM wanting to build a good reputation would hang their hat on Thill.

Nonetheless, I hope Thill proves me wrong, I really do, but...I don't think it'll happen.

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We gotta get the line straightened out otherwise it won't matter who is back there getting sacked 58 times.
Granted Tannwhill couldn't hook up deep with Wallace more than 4 times and it is very frustrating. Maybe the kid just doesn't have it or maybe, from what I have read, they just didn't practice it enough. Wallace had hamstring issues so they may have been nursing that.
Either way, I am willing to give the kid at least another year. He went from 12 TDs and 13 Ints to 27 TDs and 17 Ints. He is improving and was ranked 10th in passing yardage.

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Tannehill is not the Dolphins problem. Put him behind an o-line that plays at something better than high-school level, and give him anything resembling a running game, and he's more than good enough. You don't have to have a Dan Marino at QB to win. In fact, Trent Dilfer has more SB rings than Marino. Think about it.

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In the modern era, elite QBs win SuperBowls. The only exception was Dilfer, but in his case he had what was probably the best (and definitely one of the top 3) defenses of all time on the other side of the ball.

In that case, a "caretaker" (to quote Wannstache) would - and did - work.

Not many teams have that to work with.

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Brady was a caretaker earlier in his career when they had a great defense and won multiple SBs. Now he is elite with no rings in 9 years.

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Carl, I have the answer. RG3 is not happy in Washington. He would like a new start. Why not in Miami. RG3 and mike Wallace, Hartline and Ted Ginn, would not be fair to the league. If we cannot get RG3; then I am sure that there are several Qbs similar to his skills coming out of the draft this off season. If nothing else, there has to be a qb competition. Ted Ginn will likely be a free agent. I wish that we had never traded him He was our Jets killer. Carl, Tannehill and company hurt the dolphins nation to severely; he has to go! I would rather have Chad Henne or even Popeye; after the spinach of course.

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You guy's that want to get rid of tannehill are...in a word, crazy. The 2014 season should be his rookie campaign if he had been a four year starter in college. So by that standard he should be taking the league by storm and hitting his peak in one to two more seasons...right on schedule. He has improved every year, and there is zero reason to think he won't continue that trend. With an offensive line that isn't...offensive he will have time to survey the field without having to rush every read and throw. He'll settle down and make some of the throws he missed this year. A runniing game that picks up first downs and keeps down and distance manageable and that also improves him as a quarterback. RT will be just fine. The only way I take a QB in this years draft if I'm, the GM (and I obviously am not) is if Moore is released/traded and replaced by a fifth or sixth round developmental rookie...then Devlin would be the primary backup.

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You know...I set here and listen to some extoll the virtues of Thill and even one say it is just his 2nd season...Hell....Moore his first year here had but three games warm up and finished as I recall 6 and 3 after that...and the game Tannehenne was hurt and Moore came in after not even playing for 2 seasons got rid of the ball quicker and connected long better than Thill while the defense knew he was in desperation time and had to pass...And IMO that tells me we have a better QB on the roster than Tannehill

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You are right. It would be a wasted pick. Tanny through for more yards than another other QB in his draft class despite being hit more and sacked more than any QB. He did so despite the fact that the Dolphins became 1-dimensional. Before replacing your franchise QB might want to consider putting at least a decent O-line in front of him.

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Man, David, you are killing me. Big gnarly offensive lines and winning the battle of the trenches wins Superbowls. Ravens? Got there and won by winning in the trenches. I know you refuse to acknowledge this but you can't simplify football into being a QB only league. You only think the QBs are great because they were on teams that won Super Bowls. By your calculation Dan Marino was not a great quarterback. Is that what you are suggesting?

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I have to ask. Which Miami Dolphins team were you watching? As I saw it, Moore stepped in only twice this season and did nothing with either attempt. Moore threw one long pass and followed it up with a pick. Did you notice that in many games, after Martz abandoned run Miami was in the "desperation time" you mentioned? Look at the number of attempts. Every team knew to beat Miami you just come after Tannehill. Despite that he led his draft class in yards.