12 Games: Miami Quarterback Controversy?


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Looking around at the mental state of Miami’s fans, I get a sense that there is a contingent that believes that quarterback Matt Moore would have attributed more wins to cheer about. While certainly possible, I will  reserve any and all opinions on this, and instead focus on simply the facts and address the balance between perception and reality. A deep analysis on each quarterbacks personal performance is needed, to truly compare. Read on for more.

On the Surface
Moore Tannehill
Games 12.75 12.25
Attempts 347 396
Attempts Per Game 27.2 32.3
Comletion % 60.5% 57.3%
Total Yards 2497 2709
Yards Per Game 195.8 221.1
Yards per Attempt 7.2 6.8
Touchdowns 16 8
Rushing Touchdowns 2 2
Interceptions 9 12
Fumbles 14 6
Fumbles Lost 6 2

If you are a proponent of the NFL’s “Passer Rating”, then there is no debate to be had. Many people however, do not believe that a passer rating can tell the whole story. Count myself among them. If we are limited by the numbers provided by the NFL, it is no wonder why some Dolphin fans wish to see Moore back under center. Moore scores out better in every NFL recorded category except sacks (which lets not pretend this isn’t more on the offensive line), yards, & fumbles. The question remains though to those who understand that the life of a NFL QB is affected by the pieces around him. If an offensive line does not block, pressure could affect accuracy in many ways. If a wide receiver does not get open a QB has to throw it away, causing a hit in completion percentage.

Recent examples of this are happening in Tampa Bay with Josh Freeman. Freeman had under 15 touchdowns last year and over 20 interceptions. No good. Tampa went out and got him wide receiver Vincent Jackson, and drafted stud running back Doug Martin and he now has 25 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. On the opposite end of the spectrum we have Drew Brees who has thrown 9 picks in three games (18 on the year). Has Drew Brees forgot how to make good decisions? Doubt it. There are many more examples of these kind of instances to go over, but let us begin our analysis on the two quarterbacks in question personal stats based on situation.

General Accuracy
Moore Tannehill
Attempts 347 396
Total Yards 2497 2709
Dropped Passes 26 29
Thrown Away 10 18
Hit as Thrown 2 7
Batted Passes 9 14
Spiked Passes 0 2
Yards Lost on Drops 330 196
Accuracy % 72.3% 72.1%
Touchdowns 16 8
Interceptions 9 12
Interceptions on Batted Passes 1 3
All Stats Provided by NFL.com & ProFootballFocus.com

The purpose of this section is to analyze our 2 candidates in the area of general accuracy and ball placement. Its one thing to look at a quarterback’s completion percentage and say he is inaccurate, and it is another to count passes that were not meant to be caught or were not caught when they should have been. Every quarterback has to deal with drops, so their accuracy percentage is always higher than their completion percentage. Looking at the chart above you will notice that from a overall standpoint, Matt Moore and Ryan Tannehill aim the ball just about equally as well. Moore’s 8 interceptions on his aimed passes shows how he protects the ball. For comparison, Ryan Tannehill’s 9 interceptions on aimed passes shows the the same level of care. Moore committed an interception on an aimed pass 1 time in every 40.75 passes, while Tannehill has committed an interception 1 time in every 39.45 aimed passes. The true difference here, is the touchdowns. Matt Moore’s 16 doubles Tannehill’s 8. One of the advantages visible on tape is Moore’s post snap improvisation. Right now, Tannehill does not deviate from the scheduled order of his reads quite as often as Moore.

Also, a benefit that Moore had was a more complete supporting cast. Say what you will about Brandon Marshall’s mind, butterfingers, and character; but the defenses were scared of him and for good reason.  He easily was the most talented wide receiver the Dolphins had and had 108 targets with Moore which attributes 31% of all his targets. He was not a speedster, but he did create the most separation with his physical play style. Moore definitely makes better post snap reads,  as it is one of the areas that Tannehill needs to work on. This should be expected, as a rookie with so little experience dealing with dissecting such complex defensive schemes.

Under Pressure
Moore Tannehill
Games 12.75 12.25
Dropbacks 394 432
Pressured Dropbacks 128 130
Percent of Plays Under Pressure 32.5% 30.1%
Percent of Pressures That Became Sacks 27.3% 19.2%
Sacks 35 25
Number of Sacks Unecesairly Taken 7 2
Adjusted Percent of Pressures That Became Sacks 21.8% 17.6%
Accuracy When Pressured 66.2% 73.1%
Batted Passes 9 14
Batted Pass Interceptions 2 3
Fumbles 14 6
Fumbles Lost 6 2
All Stats Provided by NFL.com & ProFootballFocus.com

When it comes down to producing while under pressure, Tannehill gets the edge. His 73.1% accuracy on aimed passes is better than Moore’s 66.2%. Moore’s accuracy under pressure isn’t anything to knock as it is very respectable as well. The real difference between Tannehill and Moore behind the line of scrimmage really comes in Tannehill’s pocket awareness and presence. While both quarterbacks were under pressure on at least 30% of their drop-backs, the protection Moore dealt with was worse. They allowed a sack on 21.8% of his pressured drop-backs, while in 2012 the protection allowed a sack on 17.6%. Even though the Protection Moore faced was worse, he did not help the cause by causing 7 sacks to occur unnecessarily,which attributes a 5.5% increase in sacks per pressure. Tannehill on the other hand only added 1.6% (2 unnecessary sacks) to his sacks per pressure percentage. While Moore takes care of the football pretty well when throwing, he does not do so while behind the line. Moore had 14 fumbles compared to Tannehill’s 6. Tannehill is most definitely not a master behind an offensive line, as he has had 14 tipped passes this year, which is a trend carried over from college. The issue is mainly Tannehill’s, but play calling and coaching are factors as well. When the play-calling strays to a repatative 3 step drop, the batted passes go up. There have also been instances where the offensive line has been pushed back and no longer has the defensive players hands engaged. This will be something Ryan has to continue to work on.

Passing Deep
Moore Tannehill
Games 12.75 12.25
Attempts 347 396
Deep Attempts (% of all attempts) 59 (17%) 43 (11%)
Deep Attempts per Game 4.6 3.5
Deep Drops 5 1
Deep Accuracy % 47.5% 41.9%
Deep Touchdowns 6 3
Deep Interceptions 8 1
All Stats Provided by NFL.com & ProFootballFocus.com

Many Dolphins fans remember looking at each other late in the year, and commenting on how well Moore throws a deep pass. I myself, have memory’s of this very interaction. As you can see above Moore is pretty accurate at throwing the deep ball with an accuracy rating of 47.5%. Moore’s accuracy throwing deep gave him the 9th best deep ball accuracy rating in the NFL. One thing I had not noticed though about Moore was just how often he decided to go deep. He had the 4th highest deep attempt percentage with 17% of his attempts being deep passes. Another thing I had not noticed was Moore’s riskiness with the deep ball. 8 of 9 of his interceptions were on the deep pass, compared to 6 of his 16 touchdowns. I still think Moore is an accurate deep passer, however he doesn’t pull it down with the interception looming. Name any QB that is above “mediocre” ( think better than Fitzpatrick, Sanchez, Ponder, Henne,  ect.) and they do not have more interceptions than touchdowns deep. It was a bit surprising, to find out really that every QB I considered Moore to be on par with throwing deep, has a positive deep touchdown to interception ratio. Even Tebow, who is considered to be a horrible deep passer,  had 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. This is by no means condemning, as it is kind of similar to a punt and therefor does not hurt field position as much as a short interception, but its still something to note. especially because 2 of 3 years playing this was the case. Essentially, he is accurate, but reckless at times with his deep ball.

There was a time back in week 9 when Tannehill lead the league in deep accuracy with 55.5% on target, but 3 weeks of poor deep passing days (Week 10, Titans- 0.0%. week 11 , Bills 0.0%. week 14, 49’ers 14.9%) His overall deep accuracy has fallen to 41.9%. Tannehill does not attempt the deep pass as often as Moore as he attempts them 11% of his attempts. Tannehill takes care of the ball when throwing deep ball better than Moore with a 3-1 touchdown-interception ratio, but he needs to hit more of them. He is 14th right now in accuracy percentage and has missed a couple sure touchdowns this year.

 Personal Thoughts

Okay, so I lied. I will inject my personal opinion into the discussion.  While I think it is a viable conversation to have whether or not Moore could have had more wins in 2012 than Tannehill, I believe that once you put the rookie in, only injury should take him out. This is a team that needs a lot of work., and considering the talent around him, I think Tannehill has played well. I dont think it would be feasible to expect much more from Moore.  Jason Clary at BleacherReport had this to say about Miami’s offense:

“Miami’s two leading receivers, Hartline and Bess, combine for 60 percent of the entire passing offense. Seattle’s top-two receivers. Tate and Rice, combine for 44 percent of the passing offense. Let’s look at more of the rookies and see how the numbers stack up.

The Colts‘ two leading receivers, Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery, account for 51 percent of the passing offense.

Santana Moss and Leonard Hankerson of the Redskins? Just 31 percent.

Brandon Weeden’s two leading receivers, Josh Gordon and Greg Little, account for 41 percent.”

And this:

“As can be interpreted from the numbers above, Miami essentially runs the passing offense through three players—Tannehill, Hartline and Bess. Miami’s next leading receiver, Anthony Fasano, has just 233 yards—545 yards less than Bess.

The other four rookie quarterbacks? Their teams’ third-leading receivers combine for a total of 350 yards behind the second man.

Take a minute and let that sink in.”

At the end of the day, Tannehill is not far away from a 6th year Matt Moore. I will concede that the Dolphins would probably have won 1 game more (2 if you stretch it) so far with Moore, but that is not magically putting us in the playoffs. This offense is simply under talented at all skill positions that Bess, Bush, & Hartline are not. A West Coast Offense has not been installed, due to the talent not fitting it.  I have to really agree with famed “film watcher” Mike Mayock when he says:

“In my opinion, this kid can play. He’s the future of your franchise,”

“As much as I like Bess and Hartline, you still need somebody who can stretch the field vertically, and without that your quarterback is going to be hampered.

It’s almost like watching an offense playing in a red zone for 100 yards, because defenses begin to compress on you.”

Moore’s Pro’s over Tannehill

•Better post snap improvisation.

•More Downfield attempts.

•Better awkward Delivery to avoid tipped passes.

•More accurate with the deep ball.

Tannehill’s Pro’s over Moore

• Better pocket awareness.

• Not as reckless with the deep ball.

• Better accuracy while under pressure.

• Fumbles less.

Areas where they are equal

• Overall accuracy

• Overall interceptions on aimed passes.

• Mobility

 

 

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