Dolphins GM Chris Grier: Tua Tagovailoa Is Starting QB

One of this offseason’s most intriguing storylines may have just been nipped in the bud. Speaking at his end of season media availability, Dolphins GM Chris Grier declared Tua Tagovailoa the starting quarterback moving forward, via Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald.

“Tua we’re very happy with,” Grier said. “He’s our starting quarterback.” While Grier didn’t really hedge much, it’s worth pointing out that he did decline to answer whether the team would consider drafting a quarterback with the third overall pick, saying he wasn’t going to get into draft strategy. It’s difficult to parse this kind of coach and front office-speak, but Grier’s declaration did sound more definitive than when the Cardinals said Josh Rosen was “the guy” before promptly drafting Kyler Murray.

It sounds like the plan right now is to surround Tagovailoa with better weapons, and that will start with upgrading the receiving corp. “We’re very happy with that and looking forward to watching him progress here over the next offseason and going into next year,” Grier continued. Head coach Brian Flores also spoke to the media and said he expected his entire coaching staff back next year, including polarizing offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

There had been an erroneous report Monday that Gailey was being let go. Flores also didn’t say whether he wanted Ryan Fitzpatrick back with the team in 2021, stating that he needed to evaluate the whole roster first. If the team really is intent on running it back with Tagovailoa, keeping Fitzpatrick would likely prove to be too much of a distraction.

Tagovailoa, of course, found himself benched for Fitzpatrick a couple of times, including in the team’s crucial Week 16 game against the Raiders when Fitzpatrick led a miracle comeback. Had Fitzpatrick not caught COVID-19, he almost certainly would’ve been inserted into their Week 17 loss to the Bills, which knocked them out of the playoffs, where Tagovailoa melted down.
Tagovailoa didn’t play all that poorly by rookie quarterback standards, but he didn’t show nearly as many flashes as Joe Burrow or Justin Herbert, and he often held onto the ball too long and took unnecessary sacks. His struggles with inefficiency led some to question whether or not the Dolphins, with their massive haul of draft picks, would consider starting from scratch with a new passer in this deep quarterback draft.
As of right now it doesn’t seem like they have any plans to do so, although it wouldn’t be too shocking if it turned out Grier and Flores were just playing media games. Tagovailoa finished his rookie season averaging 6.3 yards per attempt with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in nine starts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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31 comments on “Dolphins GM Chris Grier: Tua Tagovailoa Is Starting QB

  1. Simmons>Russ

    Dolphins take Sewell if he’s available with the third pick then take a WR with their other first round pick.

    • leefieux

      They HAVE to do something for that offense. That seems like the most prude t thing to do. Tua can’t carry the team. He needs to be surrounded with good players.

    • seattlesuperfan

      With the third pick their either taking Davis or chase if they don’t they’ll trade down and grab a different receiver and more offensive lineman

      • Lars MacDonald

        Sewell would be a great pick at #3 if the Jets don’t take him at #2. He’s a VERY highly rated Offensive Tackle that along with Austin Jackson would lock down the OT position for many years to come.

    • Simmons>Russ

      Sewell 3rd is slick if he’s available. Then take a WR at 18th and take a RB with their second round pick.

      Make that line very solid and then build around Tua giving him weapons. A first round receiver along with Parker, a second round RB like Eiteine and then that TE they have

  2. jacobsigel1025

    Regardless if they stand pat, trade down with the first first rounder or trade up with the second first rounder, I think it would be dumb to pass on the opportunity of reuniting Tua with either Smith or Waddle. Even if they want Sewell, Miami more than most other teams has the flexibility to move around and grabbing a receiver for Tua that he already has a great preexisting chemistry with is just too good to pass up

    • George Ruth

      Regardless whether they draft that receiver from Alabama it won’t change anything with Tagovailoa because the play schemes will be different than what former Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saben runs at Alabama.

      • elscorcho the marlin

        It would change something. Tua has a feel for the timing with those wide receivers.

        • George Ruth

          You don’t know if they’ll have the same feel in a different offensive scheme

  3. Ak185

    Gailey was not abjectly horrible on the whole this year, but he was obviously much better when Fitzpatrick was running the offense. If they keep him, it’s to hope that a real offseason with Tu’a will fix the issues that the offense had (like not taking the ball downfield, or reading coverages presnap and knowing where the play is vulnerable to pressure, etc).

    I don’t think Gailey did a bad job necessarily, but I would have expected Miami to go with a coordinator more suited for Tu’a as a young quarterback. We’ll see if an offseason as the starter helps him with his command of the offense (which hopefully will feature a few new players). As for Sewell, I highly doubt that he ends up in Miami. They just picked a LT in Jackson and their draft status may not allow a chance for Sewell. Waddle may be there, though, and they could use another wideout.

  4. driftcat28

    That means nothing. If they can upgrade ein the draft the will and Tua will be dealt

  5. If they use the 3rd overall pick on a QB, someone needs to be fired. If you draft another QB, you’re admitting that your #5 overall pick from the previous year was a colossal blunder, which is a fireable offense on its face.

    Tua was OK. Not good or anything. But he’s a rookie. Some players pick up on the game quick, like Herbert and Burrow, some take a few years like Allen. Shore up the OL and get some weapons.

    • Michael Chaney

      It wouldn’t be a good look to admit that they don’t like how the pick turned out, but on the other hand this would be a really interesting opportunity for them.

      This is completely hypothetical and I’m 100% speculating, but they could take a QB at 3 (Fields, for instance), then trade Tua to a team lower in the first round that’s out of reach for one of the top guys (the Bears, Steelers, or even the Patriots). Then with that pick and the other first rounder they have, they could go with Waddle/DeVonta and another lineman. If they’re not totally sold on Tua, the time to trade him would be now while he still has a lot value.

    • George Ruth

      Burrow didn’t pick up on much because he went down with a season ending injury & all Justin Herbert showed was that he was the best QB in the 2020 draft & the Dolphins screwed the pooch in not drafting him.

      • BStevens

        Herbert had an offense ready go . Name the top 3 wrs on the Dolphins depth chart the last 4 games? They couldn’t even go into a 3 wide set

      • wagner13

        I don’t think we can definitively declare that Herbert is a superior quarterback to Burrow. Both played relatively comparably throughout the season and Herbert did have the benefit of a superior supporting cast. Herbert may have a narrow edge for now, but that’s subject to change

        • George Ruth

          Well for someone who has watched both QB’S in College I can definitely say Justin Herbert is the better QB & until Tagovailoa can prove me wrong Herbert will be the better QB & Herbert hopes to one day go into the Hall just like a Charger QB Legend & one that went to the same college

          • Ak185

            Everybody watched them in college. That hardly proves much. Both guys were well thought of, it’s not like we’re comparing third rounders to firsts.

            Burrow played much more skilled defenses than Herbert, and won his way through the playoffs. Herbert never even took a snap under center-the fact that he can do so now is a testament to how much different his NFL duties are than they were at Oregon. Herbert ended up going to a better team than Burrow, and that’s also hardly debatable.

            I loved Herbert at Oregon, and Burrow at LSU. I had concerns over Herbert’s inability to take snaps under center, considering the fact that every quarterback who has had that concern has been a bust in the NFL. I was wrong. He learned in the offseason admirably, and proved his ability this year. On top of the arm strength, leadership, and patience that we knew he had, Herbert showed an ability to quickly connect with his talented receivers (who, unlike those of the Bengals, are likely too 5 in the league). But their careers are hardly over, so it’s a bit soon to rest on your laurels… especially considering the fact that both played well overall.

  6. George Ruth

    Nothing about Tagovailoa during the 2020 season was impressive & his performance was below mediocre. Tagovailoa was definitely in no way the best QB in the 2020 NFL Draft. All I can say is Tagovailoa was a huge disappointment in 2020. Tagovailoa appeared overhyped just on his performance alone.

  7. GoLandCrabs

    Even if you ignore Tua, Dolphins completely botched their other 1st rounds from last season. Jackson is mediocre. Igbinoghne was a flat out waste of a pick. Can’t trust this team to capitalize on their picks from their fleecing of BOB.

  8. forwhomjoshbelltolled

    Having watched 45 seconds worth of highlights of each guy, it seemed clear before the draft that Herbert was a much better prospect than Tua.

    But some people prefer a name over an arm.

    • Ak185

      It wasn’t the talent that played into that as much as the competition and playstyle of their respective teams. Some people did have Herbert over Tu’a.

      Also, I just for the life of me cannot understand why some people just can’t see that it matters where a player’s ends up. There is no telling if Herbett would have looked as good in Miami as he did in L.A. Same goes for Tu’a. It’s not even all about the receivers or linemen-would the coaching have been right for that player? The scheme? It’s easier to look good in the PAC-12 today than the SEC as a passing offense.

      And I say this as somebody who liked Herbert-and who saw him as being the same level as Tu’a. The hindsight approach is just far too easy to take, and absolutely useless in future evaluations. The team that a players ends up with matters a lot to how his career goes, more even sometimes than his individual talent. Herbert seems to have ended up in the right place-maybe he would not have in Miami.

    • BStevens

      Apparently. It’s not even apples to apples. I’m not knocking Herbert. He just stepped into a better situation than Burrow or Tua. Tua’s weapons were a joke. Once Preston went down it was giesicki Parker and come on … Jakeem Grant? One of the games they were missing all three and Grant was out the last 2 weeks . Parker missed a few weeks . Life is much easier with Keenan and Williams and Hunter Henry . Oh yea Austin Ekeler . Seriously

      • BStevens

        Get off the Tua hate train bruh. It takes talent in the nfl and when you have an offensive line that ranks in the top half in the league and the weapons Herbert had he should put up numbers. More power to him.

        • George Ruth

          Don’t be a fool bruh Tagovailoa showed very little during his rookie season & nothing he has done this season says he will an extremely good QB, It’s time for you to come back to reality & drop your man crush on Tagovailoa

  9. crosseyedlemon

    I don’t really care how the Dolphins proceed offensively as long as they avoid being involved in another Pet Detective movie.

  10. seth3120

    I’m not at all sold on Tua but I’ll give him a little glimmer of hope. He missed his final year of college to injury and the lack of a standard preseason probably hurt him the most. Rust has proven to be a factor for NFL vets much less rookie QB’s

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