As the 2013 season has progressed, it’s been clear Miami Dolphins second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has continued to grow and become increasingly more comfortable in his role. With his production on the rise, Tannehill now finds himself in position to help lead Miami to the playoffs with just four games remaining.
Part of that success has been Tannehill using his legs more often, whether it be simply rolling out of the pocket, or actually taking off to pick up yards on his own.
“It’s just situational,” Tannehill said in an interview with the Finsiders. “Some games, you want to say, ‘Yeah, pull it down and run’, but there’s no running lane to step up and run through. The past couple of games, I think there’s been one or two times each game where coverage down field, I felt a gap and was able to squirt through there and get a first down with my legs.
“It depends game by game whether you’re going to be able to use your legs or not. Obviously, if the coverage is tight downfield, I want to be able to move around and get out of the pocket.”
Additionally, Tannehill has also made improvement in terms of completing passes down field. He’ll be the first one to tell you he isn’t where he wants to be yet, but there’s no doubt he has grown more comfortable as the year as gone on.
“Hit them—that’s the only thing that comes through my head—get the ball out there and let the guys run underneath it,” Tannehill said. “We didn’t really have too many called this last game against the Jets—one early, but I got hit right as I was releasing it and kind of pulled it out of bounds.”
However, Tannehill has also excelled in taking what opposing defenses are giving him.
This Sunday, he will face a new challenge in the form of the Pittsburgh Steelers and legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau. Known for bringing plenty of pressure, Tannehill understands the blitz means nothing more than an opportunity to make a play.
“It definitely opens up things downfield,” Tannehill said. “If they’re going to pressure you, they’re either going to be in a zone coverage where they’re short a guy downfield, or they’re going to be trying to push guys all the way across the formation in man coverage. So it definitely opens up some possibilities for us downfield. It’s just a matter of picking it up whenever it’s coming and getting the ball out.”
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