Regardless of what your thoughts are on Tua Tagovailoa, it’s time to accept that right now, he’s the face of the franchise. In the trade whirlwind that occurred last week, the Dolphins effectively ruled out signing a Quarterback by moving out of one of the prime draft positions to do so.
Granted, that’s not to say that after Tua’s second season they won’t be looking to make some adjustments, as the clutch of future first round picks collected in the trade down might indicate. But if that was indeed a valid concern, they would have been better staying at 12 and holding on to the additional 2022 first in order to cement that. It would appear Miami has shown their hand and committed to Tua.
By moving back up the board to six in the draft, they clearly have a player or a number of players in mind that will require the higher pick, and it’s highly likely that it will be for either Kyle Pitt’s, either one of the Alabama receivers or maybe even Chase.
Right now, fans just don’t know what to expect from Tua Tagovailoa. There’s a clear divide on social media between fans that think he’ll succeed and fans that think he’ll flop. I put myself in the former of those two categories and it still astonishes me that so many so called fans would rather see him fail just so they can be proved right rather than propelling the franchise towards greater things.
We find ourselves as a fanbase in kind of a Schrodinger’s cat scenario, as it stands, neither camp has enough information to be able to definitively claim they are right and they truly know what the future holds for Tua, the kid simply needs more time.
When comparing him to other rookies like Burrow and Herbert, there are several factors that need to be considered. Firstly, Tua Tagovailoa hadn’t played football for over a year prior to the start of the season and spent most of the pre-season rehabilitating. This takes time and it’s simply unfathomable to think that a rookie, off the back off a potentially career threatening injury, with no time to prepare is going to be ready.
Secondly, the lack of camps and pre-season had a major impact not only on Tua but a number of rookies both in and outside of Miami. Not getting to know not only the playbook but getting to know your teammates via a Zoom call just isn’t as productive as the normal environment.
DOES TUA TAGOVAILOA NEED WEAPONS
Over the last couple of months, there has been a lot of talk about which players the Dolphins should sign to help Tua Tagovailoa. They should sign Ju-Ju because they get on really well. They should sign Smith/Waddle, Harris and Dickson because Tua has the chemistry and is comfortable playing with them. The focus shouldn’t be about who he knows, it should be about who makes the team better.
I can’t remember another Quarterback where there has been so much talk about the supporting cast and their ability to elevate the man behind centre. By definition, a great Quarterback has the ability to elevate average players to a level similar to their own.
This appears to be coming from various media platforms and not from Tua himself. Of course, who wouldn’t want to line up next to some of your old teammates, but all this constant talk about players helping him gives the impression he’s being mollycoddled and wrapped in cotton wool.
I’m 100% confident this is something Tua Tagovailoa wouldn’t want. Despite having his younger career guided but his father, Tua is his own man and it’s already clear that he has the backing of his coaches and teammates. Tua doesn’t need to sheltered, he needs to be unleashed. The gloves need to come off.
This is something that was lacking in the game plan during the 2020 season. There was a marked difference in what Gailey would or would not allow Tua to do when compared to Fitzpatrick. Both Quarterbacks have a completely different style of play and sadly this wasn’t reflected in the play calling.
Fitz, although a fantastic servant during his short stint in Miami, has left for pastures new. He brought a different aspect to Miami, he was fun to watch and if nothing else galvanised the team. But this gives Tua Tagovailoa the ability to step out from his shadow and make his own mark on the team and be the primary leader for the offence and greater team.
Early signs are good and Tua Tagovailoa has clearly been putting in the graft since the end of the season. You can see how much he has focused on his strength and conditioning training judging by his social media accounts and it’s something I suggest you google to see for yourself. He looks so much stronger and much more athletic, and this will help him make the leap into year two.
Right now, Tua has the world at his feet. He should have the adequate amount of time to prepare for the upcoming season. He has the pressure of being the starting Quarterback he seemed to thrive off in college. He has an offensive line that should hopefully have grown and developed from, the previous year. And perhaps most exciting, he should have several new toys to play with, potentially at Receivers, a Running Back and maybe even Tight End.
Be under no doubt, Tua Tagovailoa wants to step up and wants the weight of this franchise on his shoulders. It’s now up to the front office and the coaches to fully unleash their star on the NFL. Play to his strengths, which includes constructing a relevant game plan and surrounding him with talent that marries with those tactics.
I wrote an article around this time last year titled ‘Look out AFC East, we’re coming for you’. I’ll say the same sentiment again this year, only this time, the gloves are well and truly off.