Ryan Tannehill: The weak link the Jaguars must exploit

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Oct 26, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen

Last week, Tannehill completed 64.7% of his 34 passes for 226 yards and a touchdown. He had no interceptions but fumbled on a sack that was recovered by Washington. The statistics hide a rather unimpressive first game of the season for the quarterback, however. Two of his passes could have been picked off, including one that seemed to be thrown directly at a linebacker.

In his two games against the Jaguars during his career, he has averaged a 65% completion percentage, 208 yards, 1.5 TDs, and .5 interceptions.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are entering the Week 2 matchup having limited Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers passing attack to just 158 passing yards (third best in the league). Newton completed 58% of his passes and threw one touchdown and one interception on the day.

It’s a small sample size any way you look at it and, frankly, I’m not sure we can expect the Jacksonville Jaguars defense to keep the opposing quarterback in check all game long without some help from the offense. The Jags held the ball for just under 26 minutes in Week 1.

That said, the Miami Dolphins managed to hang onto the ball for a ridiculously low 22 minutes in their Week 1 win. Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins struggled to move the ball, remaining behind the Redskins until the fourth quarter before drawing even with a field goal and pulling even because of a punt return for a score.

If the Jacksonville Jaguars defense can force Tannehill and company off the field early, then they may have a chance to lean on the running game and play keep away. The defense will have to step up.

Fortunately for the Jaguars, the defense has plenty of standouts.

Dec 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) fumbles the football during the third quarter as Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons (91) and defensive end Andre Branch (90) attempt to make a tackle at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end Chris Smith was the eighth highest graded player by Pro Football Focus at his position in Week 1. He amassed a hit and a hurry on just 17 passing snaps according to PFF’s measurement and should get plenty of looks against the Dolphins offensive line.

Similarly, Chris “Father Time” Clemons put together a sack and a hurry in just 25 passing snaps, coming out as one of the better graded pass rushers as well. Both Clemons and Smith should cause problems for Tannehill.

In the linebacking unit, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny looked rejuvenated, finishing his day with an interception, two passes defensed, and nine tackles. He is not just a locker room and field leader, but also a leader by example. PFF credits him with five stops in Week 1.

New free safety Sergio Brown will be looking to make an impact as well. PFF’s sixth highest graded safety last week, Brown allowed just 17 yards through the air, racked up five tackles, one QB hurry, and a defensive stop as well.

At cornerback, starters Davon House and Aaron Colvin allowed just 33% and 40% of balls thrown their way to be caught, ranking among the top-12 at their position. Colvin only allowed 14 yards on the two passes receivers caught in his coverage.

Ryan Tannehill may not be my favorite quarterback in the league, but he’ll be making a case to be considered an above average quarterback again. I just don’t see it continuing against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2. He struggled after coming in hot in 2014 and the Jaguars defense is better in 2015 than it was last season.

Tannehill is the weak link for the Miami Dolphins in this game and the Jacksonville Jaguars will take advantage.

Next: Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake will cause problems, though

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