Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Belichick wary of Tannehill's ability to use his legs


Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill's athletic ability has always been a dangerous, if rarely-used, aspect of his game.

This year, under Bill Lazor's Chip Kelly-influenced offense, that trait figures to be a threatening elements of Miami's option playcalls.

This fact is not lost on the head coach of the Dolphins' Week 1 opponent, the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick.

"We're very aware of him," Belichick told reporters Tuesday, via Patriots.com. "He has excellent speed. I'm sure if he has a chance to keep it, he'll keep it. If we take that away, then he'll do something else. You have to defend everything in option football."

The Patriots held joint practices with Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles in August, where they undoubtedly experienced defending option plays similar to what they'll see in the regular season opener. But Tannehill's running ability presents a much different challenge.

"I'd say he's a lot faster than [Eagles quarterback] Nick Foles," Belichick said. "He can run away from most defensive linemen and linebackers. So keeping leverage and containing him is going to be a big part of us being successful against the Dolphins."

In truth, Lazor's offense remains somewhat of a mystery, with some Dolphins players recently commenting that just a small fraction of the playbook has been exposed in preseason games.

New England's coaching staff, like us fans, will likely see many things for the first time on Sunday.

"[The Dolphins] haven't run all that much," Belichick said. "We'll see how it is in the regular season."

Don't be surprised if Miami mixes in a few plays for Tannehill to use his legs to keep the defense off-balance. Bill Belichick certainly won't be.

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