Posted: 9:33 am Wednesday, September 12th, 2012
Miami Dolphins Talking Points: Chad Pennington believes he knows why Ryan Tannehill’s passes are getting tipped
By Post Staff
A trio of Dolphins talking points to jumpstart your Wednesday:
1. Chad Pennington believes he knows why Ryan Tannehill’s passes are getting tipped.
The hot debate around South Florida since Sunday has revolved around Ryan Tannehill and the amount of tipped and batted passes he had in the loss to Houston. Was it the quarterback’s fault? The offensive line? The coaching? A string of bad luck? Or do the Texans simply deserve credit for making big plays?
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Tannehill needs to find better passing windows, though everyone on the offense shares some of the blame. But Philbin didn’t provide insight as to how Tannehill can go about improving in this area – in college, Tannehill also had eight interceptions off tipped passes during his senior season.
So, naturally, we turned to one of the smartest quarterbacks on the planet – Chad Pennington, the former Dolphin and Jet who got more out of his limited physical skills than possibly any player over the last decade. Pennington, now living on a horse farm in Kentucky, said Tuesday that he thinks he has diagnosed Tannehill’s problem after watching the highlights of Sunday’s game.
“Especially with the underneath routes, you have to have what they call a ‘high plant leg,’” Pennington said. “You actually have to throw it taller than what your body is. You have to get up on that front leg and be able to extend as high as you can and almost throw down.”
“Watch Peyton Manning – he gets really tall. Because those routes are not about arm strength. It’s about getting the ball over the defensive linemen and getting it back down to your receiver. You can’t stay at the same level that you would if you’re throwing a 20-yard out route.”
“But that’s something that’s certainly correctable. He has to work on it in practice every day. He’s got to get as many throws as he can before and after practice, to where when you’re in the game, you don’t have to think about it.”
Well put by Pennington. Tannehill, who stands 6-foot-4, doesn’t need to fix his throwing motion. He just needs to work on his mechanics and realize that he can’t throw every pass out of the same stance.
2. Dolphins need Daniel Thomas back against the Raiders.
The Dolphins return to the practice field at 11:30 a.m. today, and one player who might not be there is running back Daniel Thomas, who suffered a concussion in the second quarter of Sunday’s game and not only didn’t return to the game, he didn’t even return to the sideline.
Thomas was not in the Dolphins’ locker room on Monday, and the severity of his concussion is unclear. It certainly didn’t look good – Thomas was essentially carried off the field by two trainers propping him up.
The Dolphins sure could use Thomas on Sunday against Oakland, a stout defensive team that allowed just 32 rushing yards and a 1.6 average to San Diego on Monday. Although Thomas only had three carries for 11 yards and lost a fumble, he also ran 32 yards on a screen pass, and at 6-1 and 230 pounds, he’s a better option on the goal line than the smaller Reggie Bush.
The Dolphins also have FB Jorvorskie Lane to handle short-yardage duties, but he’s the only other bruiser on the roster. Marcus Thigpen is a Bush clone, and Lamar Miller, although listed at 218 pounds, doesn’t hit the hole hard like Thomas does and hasn’t impressed the coaching staff yet, earning an inactive spot in Week 1.
If Thomas can’t team up with Bush on Sunday, it could take an important thunder-and-lightning element out of the Dolphins’ gameplan.
3. Darren McFadden will be another tough test for Dolphins’ linebackers.
Kevin Burnett, Karlos Dansby and Koa Misi earned good marks on their first test of the season, holding Arian Foster to just 79 rushing yards on a 3.0 average and limiting him to one catch in three targets for minus-4 yards.
This week, they have their work cut out again as Darren McFadden and the Raiders come to town. McFadden only rushed for 32 yards on 15 carries against San Diego, but he also had a whopping 13 catches for 86 yards out of the backfield.
Hope the linebackers bring their running shoes on Sunday, because McFadden is basically a one-man team – the team is so desperate at receiver that former Fin Derek Hagan was signed last week and played significant snaps against the Chargers. If the Dolphins can’t slow McFadden down, it could be a long, hot day in South Florida.