Before most every practice, Ryan Tannehill does his best Mike Miller impersonation (minus the balky back, of course).
Tannehill spends five minutes lofting footballs into a small, netted target from a considerable distance, like Miller unleashing a deep three. On Wednesday, Tannehill couldn’t seem to miss, dropping most every toss into the intended target.
On Sundays, he has been just as effective.
Through the first six games of his young career, Tannehill is at his best when chucking downfield. On throws of 20 yards or longer, Tannehill has completed 11 of 19 passes for 395 yards, two touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions. His quarterback rating at that distance — a sparkling 137.5.
“It’s been unusual for a rookie or any about else to have that kind of accuracy on the deep ball,” Jets coach Rex Ryan marveled Wednesday. “He takes shots and hangs in there and makes accurate throws down the field. It’s been impressive.”
Tannehill is not only one of the league’s best deep throwers (statistically, at least), but, surprisingly, he is also far better at that than he is on intermediate routes.
The rookie’s completion percentage drops to 50 percent, and his quarterback rating to 55.9, on passes between 10 and 19 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.
When asked to explain that disparity in effectiveness Wednesday, Tannehill merely shrugged.
“I think there’s areas of improvements in both situations,” Tannehill said. “You go back to the [first] Jets game, there were some balls downfield that I left out of bounds. Those are huge plays for us, if you just let the guy try to make a play.
“You’ve got to improve in both areas.”
He’ll have a chance to do just that come Sunday, when the Dolphins face the Jets once again. (He completed 16 of 36 passes for 196 yards and threw a pick when the teams met a month ago.)
And, based on New York’s changes in personnel, there’s reason to believe Tannehill will fare better this time around. Jets all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis tore his ACL in that game and is out for the season.
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