Older AFCE
S/R Staff

Older AFCE

Dolphins execute precision routes at SeaWorld

Dolphins execute precision routes at SeaWorld
S/R Staff
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Tannehill practices precision timing routes at SeaWorld.

The project started as a joke when Jeff Ireland and Steven Ross attended a political fund raiser at SeaWorld where real Dolphins performed various jumping tricks. Steve commented that the real Dolphins looked just like receivers running different routes but all leaped out of the water with exact timing. Ireland humored Ross with a “they sure do comment”, but as the show went on he too began to notice similarities.

[dropcap] swim-with-the-dolphins-at-sea-world  [/dropcap]The Dolphins gathered in front of the trainer and on cue left at the same time, made their leaps, and returned to the trainer for a reward.

The time from the Dolphins leaving the trainer to their jumps seemed very close to range of Tannehill’s normal release time on downfield plays. Ireland emailed Philbin a video of the performance at SeaWorld and out of curiosity Philbin analyzed the action with a stopwatch in hand.
Teaching a young QB to anticipate the WR’s cuts and have the confidence to throw to an empty spot on the field is one of the hardest things for an inexperienced QB to grasp. Needing a big year from Tannehill and looking to gain every edge he could Philbin and Tannehill attended a June performance of the Dolphins at SeaWorld. With Philbin starting his watch at “the snap” as the Dolphins started their routes and Tannehill starting his at the time of the simulated throw and both stopping at “the catch” or the Dolphins leap. Plotting the time from the snap – to release – to catch closely resembled actual game timing and the pair tried to take it to the next level.
Things began to fall apart when trying to move from theory to practice in a late night session at SeaWorld. The plan to have the Dolphins actually make “the catch” fell apart when Tannehill could not throw a football shaped mackerel with any consistency. Frozen Mackeral pieces the size of golf balls worked for a short time but the Dolphins soon started breaking off their routes to fight for the mackerel bits. In the end the resulting offensive pass interference and SeaWorld’s concerns the Dolphins would suffer injuries ended the entire project.
Not to worry about Tannehill though. Philbin set predetermined times for Tannehill to release the ball on different plays with a loud buzzer sounding when time was up. In the short term this has resulted in Tannehill releasing too early and over throwing his receivers but it is still more effective than throwing mackerel. There’s plenty of time until the regular season begins and Tannehill is confident he will be ready.

By Spot the Looney

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