Miami Dolphins: Will Ryan Tannehill have success without Jarvis Landry?
In a move that left many Miami Dolphins fans scratching their heads, the team decided to move on from star receiver Jarvis Landry. Between the speculation, gossip, and rumors surrounding the move only those involved know the true reason. The question on everyone’s mind, however, has to be “Are the Miami Dolphins a better football team without Jarvis Landry?”. More specifically, will Ryan Tannehill be a better quarterback now that his go-to receiver is gone?
The Dolphins might have chosen to replace Landry’s production with two veteran receivers who they hope can fill that void. Both Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson will have big shoes to fill in terms of production but for Dolphins fans it should be viewed as all bad. Can the team really do more with less? Let’s examine the offseason and break down the key components going forward.
One of the largest benefits of the newer weapons on offense is speed. The strength of Jarvis Landry was getting open by clean route running combined with quick breaks to create separation. While it works for moving the chains, it often limited the offense to 3,5 or 7-yard gains unless a juke garnished a few more yards-after-catch. More often than not the Dolphins went to Landry and quick screens and slants designed to maintain possession.
Of Miami’s newest weapons only the blocking tight end Durham Smythe (4.81) runs a 40-yard dash at a slower speed. The Dolphins core receiving group averages a 4.50 where Landry clocked in at 4.77 with his 40 time. So just how much will speed change things for quarterback Ryan Tannehill?
While Adam Gase was said to be a quarterback whisperer before coming to Miami and a guru of offense the Miami Dolphins have stalled out in his tenure. Finishing near the bottom of the league statistically puts him on par with the offensive-minded guys who came before him. However, it may not be all his fault. Other than the injuries that have derailed the team, Gase seems to be coaching down to a level of what works and handcuffing himself to the two-star players Ajayi and Landry for continued success.
Granted the Dolphins have had most of their speed before this year’s draft, adding a few key components in the short game will help spread the offense out. If the receivers can create more separation and stretch the field, defenders won’t be able to cover the deep routes and cheat towards whatever side Landry would be lined up on. With a true tight end like Mike Gesicki and speedsters underneath in Amendola and Wilson, Miami will be able to overload defenders on either side of the football and create mismatches on defense. Expect a jump in passing yards for Tannehill this season with increased activity in the mid to long-range throws.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains has promised a more no-huddle offense this season, something Adam Gase has tried to set up for two years. Ryan Tannehill has thrived in the hurry-up offense to the point you wonder why they don’t run it every play. The downside of this particular offense is more often than not you’re running the same quick throw plays that limited the Dolphins during Landry’s tenure. With enough emphasis on the mismatches and speedy receivers, the Dolphins might force defenses to play a bit more conservative. Ideally, this could force the old “bend but don’t break” mentality that keeps defenses backpedaling. If the Dolphins become any bit of a red zone threat this offseason, a no-huddle offense could play right into Ryan Tannehill’s strengths.
No More Safety Net
Landry in a way was not only a playmaker for the Dolphins, but he was also a safety net for Tannehill and the offense. When all else failed, get the ball to Landry and hope he could do something with it. No more training wheels when it comes to the offense now. Tannehill will have to read the field quicker, take his time and let plays develop and spread the ball accordingly. If the offensive line breaks down he’ll have to decide when to stay in the pocket and take the hit, and when to roll out and extend the play. From what Adam Gase says of their twice-injured QB, he’s picked up a lot of offensive cues while watching the team struggle last year. Hopefully, his knowledge helps with his decision-making down the road.
In no way shape or form should this be taken as a knock on receiver Jarvis Landry. What he did for the Miami Dolphins in his time, he should be given nothing but respect. He was the spark of the offense that kept Dolphin fans excited on game day. It has been a while since the team has had a dynamic receiver become such a fan favorite as he slashed through the record books. However, far too often, he was Ryan Tannehill’s go-to guy. By shifting his focus from one receiver to the entire team it will force the Dolphins to acquire a new identity on offense. It’s been said every year that this will be the quarterback’s break out season. For once, they just might be right.Follow @Coach_Rick12