Latest On Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa

With increasing chatter of a blockbuster trade for Deshaun Watson, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores did his best to back Tua Tagovailoa. In a chat with reporters this week, Flores stressed that he’s “excited” to work with the rising second-year pro.

[RELATED: Texans HC David Culley On Deshaun Watson]

You think about his situation last year, coming off the hip and throwing him into the fire,” Flores said (Twitter link via Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel). “[He] started nine games and made a lot of improvement throughout the season. Had some up and downs. I’m excited about the Year 1 to 2 jump…This time, in the offseason, is really going to be helpful to him and all the rookies. I’m excited about working with him.”

Tagovailoa averaged just 6.3 yards per throw in his his rookie season. He finished out with eleven touchdowns against five interceptions in nine starts, 1,814 total passing yards, and a ~64% completion rate. Of course, there was nothing to suggest that the former Alabama star will be a bust, and he did go 6-3 as a starter. However, some have wondered whether the ‘Fins confidence in him has wavered, especially since they deployed Ryan Fitzpatrick as a reliever. Regardless of Tagovailoa’s long-term potential, Watson would give them a far better chance to win straight away.

Between Tagovailoa and the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft, the Dolphins could present the Texans with the best package of any club in the Watson sweepstakes. Still, new head coach David Culley continues to insist that Watson will be staying put. Meanwhile, in Miami, Flores says that he’ll continue to build the offense around Tagovailoa.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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53 comments on “Latest On Dolphins, Tua Tagovailoa

  1. arty!

    If both the HC & GM admittedly whiff on the 5th pick last year, what do all of those other picks mean?

    • I give no fox

      It means the entire NFL whiffed. It’s not like it was a reach. He was a consensus top pick

      • afsooner02

        In fairness so was Leaf and Jamarcus. Just massive busts that set franchises back years to recover from.

        • arty!

          Throw in Bortles, Darnold, Rosen et al. But if you can’t tell the difference between colleges QB’s with inflated numbers beating up on nobody’s last year, why would you be any better this year?

          • phenomenalajs

            I don’t think Darnold’s done yet. He has a chance with a 49ers style offense, a strong O-Line including Becton, possibly Thuney, and Sewell at #2. I know people will say: “Jets are gonna Jet,” but I think bringing in another QB from the draft not named Trevor Lawrence without picking Sewell would be a “Same old Jets” move.

        • Tua’s numbers last year were so, so much better than Leaf’s or Russell’s. Not a good comparison at all.

        • balloonknots

          You have to give Tua at least 4 years. Look last I check Tampa pivoted just fine!

    • UberSTCrew

      @arty
      They didn’t whiff. All the wannabe experts trolling social media now (including hacks such as Armando Trollguero and Omar Trolly) claiming that Tua is a bust are going to end up looking really foolish in a few months. They will try to backtrack but that won’t save them from the avalanche of crow that is headed their way.

      • dan55

        The reason why people are claiming that Tua is a bust is because of who he was drafted in front of. The Dolphins would have went to the playoffs had they drafted Herbert. Tua might still end up as a good quarterback, but it is hard to argue that he was the right choice.

        Before the draft happened, I liked Herbert more because of health, but I thought Tua would be successful if he could stay healthy.

        • UberSTCrew

          @dan55
          Maybe or maybe not. There is no way of knowing if Herbert would have had the same success in Miami. I won’t be surprised at all to see Tua improve greatly with a full off-season of actual training instead of rehabbing. Improve the offensive line and add some real playmakers then see what Tua can do. I would also not be surprised to see some regression from Herbert in year 2. Judging a QB’s career based solely on their rookie season isn’t very wise.

          • CapnComeback

            Agreed. And judging ANY player, but especially those at QB, after one year ANY TIME is a bad idea. But nobody ever called GMs bright. Those that never reach greatness never get super aggressive, stayed aggressive and avoided being conservative to retain their jobs.

        • Datthew Millon

          Just speaking but the same could’ve been said for Russell Wilson clearly two different pedigrees coming into draft day and Tua had the injury but originally look at who was taken before Wilson. Luck (1) Griffin (2) Tannehill (8) Weeden (22) Oswiler (57) Wilson (75) on paper two of those Quarterbacks still start in the league and only one more of them will be remembered as a great and again on paper it may not have seemed that way for Wilson but I think with time and development like Josh Allen Tua can develop into a good if not great in this league and I’m a colts. Yet he’s got to stay healthy and develop like you said Dan55… loved your comment by the way

      • arty!

        I didn’t say Tua was a bust. I said if they draft or trade for another top echelon QB, then they failed with their top pick last year. And if that 5th pick is either traded or replaced in under a year, what about their other high end picks; are they just as bad?

        • carlos15

          Not if that top 5 pick facilitates a trade for a marquee quarterback like Watson. Then it isn’t a fail at all it’s what allowed it to happen.

          • arty!

            Top 5 pick and what else for Watson? That’s the problem with Watson; the Texans will demand a huge haul (deservedly so). So how does the next team build around Watson w/o any high picks?

    • bigeasye

      Most of the top quarterbacks in the league were not the first ones taken. A bunch weren’t even first rounders.
      Brady was the 17th or something taken
      Brees- 2nd round
      Rodgers- late first
      Mahomes and Watson were picked behind Trubisky
      Wilson was a third or fourth. So was Dak
      Carr was a second rounder. So was Jimmy G.
      There’s no one in the NFL who can claim to be great QB evaluators with the exception of GB who’s had two QBs in the last 30 years.

      • CapnComeback

        Agreed. And judging ANY player, but especially those at QB, after one year ANY TIME is a bad idea. But nobody ever called GMs bright. Those that never reach greatness never get super aggressive, stayed aggressive and avoided being conservative to retain their jobs.

    • Arty!
      How does your brain determine that Tua was a “whiff”, and when exactly did the coach and GM say that? Just another one in a long line of your brilliant comments

    • seth3120

      The dolphins looked strong even with Fitz. Add Watson to that and you have a strong contender.

  2. Jack0207

    He was coming off a serious hip injury. He didn’t really have a training camp or a preseason.

    • xpensivewinos

      ….and their “skill” players and offensive line (although slightly improved), left a lot to be desired. It was far from a plug and play situation.

      Having said that, we have no way of knowing what they know and see on a daily basis. If they don’t think he has the “IT” factor, then draft a QB with the third pick. That’s the highest pick they may have for awhile. Wilson or Fields will be there at 3. Grab one……

  3. Simmons>Russ

    Dolphins have the best chance to win the offseason either via a Watson trade or by the multiple top picks they have.

    I think the best situation for the Texans in terms of the Watson trade is going to Miami and saying we want Tua and a bunch of picks.
    Go get Tua, the 3rd overall pick, the 18th pick, a future first and a future fourth.
    Dolphins can get Watson as their franchise QB. Then address their other areas with their picks.
    Use FA for the RB (Aaron Jones would be nice, or Marlon Mack) and probably grab another WR in FA too.

    Dolphins will easily make the playoffs with Watson next season and every season after that for a long time. You’ve also got him on a long contract which if you compare to Dak, Goff and others it’s a good deal.

    Texans would rebuild well with Tua and 2 firsts, which Id aim to take Kyle Pitts and Kwity Paye.
    Between Tua Ingram/Johnson Cobb Cooks Coutee and Pitts your offence should be fine. Your line isn’t horrible between Tunsil Martin Howard Scharping and whoever they bring in at centre.
    Defensively your front 4 will struggle with Paye coming in for Watt, and Blacklock the two young shining lights. But at LB you have potential to be alright/good with Kirksey McKinney and Mercilius. You also look under strength in the backfield but hopefully you can find a couple good pick ups later in the draft on defence.

    They struggle again but they’ve gone younger and have shown potential. Without the negativity from Watson Watt and others, the team embraces the rebuild and start not thinking about Bill OBrian and everything and look ahead to the future. In the season after. Go heavy in the draft on defence and try find a nice deal for a RB in FA with Ingram and Johnson going off the books.

    • Simmons>Russ

      What’s your alternative keep Watson against his wishes. Continue to have a bad team, with no first round picks to get better or much cap space to bring in talent either. Because of keeping Watson the locker room continues to be really negative and your get more and more attention about how bad of a franchise you are.
      It is a much longer and painful road down that track

    • amk1920

      They had three 1st rounders last year and got them all wrong. Having picks doesn’t mean a thing.

      • UberSTCrew

        @amk1920
        “had three 1st rounders last year and got them all wrong”
        You have no clue whether they got any of them wrong. Judging three rookies (two of whom were 20 years old when drafted) after their first season is just foolish. I will bookmark this page and come back to your comment over the next 3 years to see how you feel then.

        • amk1920

          You still want Tua over Herbert? Austin Jackson looked lost. The DB barley played.

          • Ak185

            Other than Tu’a, I did question the Ohms’ top picks. There wasn’t much at LT available at that pick though, so I get Jackson. I would have traded down or drafted one of the stud receivers, but I get the tackle pick.

            Igbinoghene spelling?) I don’t get, though. After all of the money Miami invested in their secondary, a corner seemed to be the least of their worries. I get that they wanted elite secondary play across the board, but that seemed like a reach for an unnecessary pick. He may turn out great, who knows. But that pick deserves some form of criticism.

            Tu’a didn’t look spectacular last year, but he also didn’t make many mistakes. Usually QBs try too hard and cost the team through turnovers. I get that Miami tried to protect him via the playcalling, but he still demonstrated knowledge of the hardest lesson for young QBs to learn, which is to take care of the ball. There is hope for him yet, but he also has a lot to work on. It’s too early to shut the book just yet.

          • UberSTCrew

            @amk1920
            How long have you been following the NFL? Herbert looking better in his rookie season does not mean that he will have a better NFL career than Tua. I fully expect Tua to take a huge leap in year two. Tua will actually be on the same level playing field as Herbert starting out the 2021 season. He was not in 2020. If people don’t understand that then maybe they should do some better research.

            Austin Jackson looked good in the first few games of 2020 before he got hurt. Jackson’s main problem was lack of core strength while adjusting to the speed of the NFL. With a full year in an NFL program he should be much stronger and with 10+ games of NFL experience under his belt he should be better prepared going into 2021.

            Noah Ighbenoghene was playing behind two of the better CBs in the league. Not sure why they didn’t try him more in the slot but I am sure Flores has a bigger role for him in 2021. Igbinoghene struggled in one game going up against one of the best WRs in the league. However when he had to fill in for an injured Howard later in the season he did a solid job. Igbinoghene was a raw prospect with elite athleticism. He has an extremely high ceiling and is playing for one of the best defensive coaches in the league who used to specialize in defensive backs, There is no doubt in my mind that Igbinoghene will become a very good if not great player in the NFL.

            • amk1920

              @Uber, So basically you’re telling me they are all going to be great player because thats what you project? There is more basis for evaluating them based on 2020 than how good you think they will be. Herbert had a mediocre roster with an even worse HC. Tua was on a team that easily could have been in the playoffs. How was there not an even playing field or advantage for Herbert? Jackson could be decent. Zero faith in Igbinoghene, he is the biggest bust of the 3. He was absolutely horrific when he was playing and is at one of the most difficult positions in football to break out at. With two top CBs already on the roster Igbi has a mountain to climb.

              • UberSTCrew

                @amk1920
                Herbert played the entire 2019 season and was able to fully train in the off-season ​(even when considering COVID restrictions) while Tua spent the end of the 2019 season recovering and most of the 2020 off-season recovering/rehabbing from a major injury. Not sure how anyone wouldn’t see this as a huge advantage for Herbert. Herbert also did not have a year long hiatus before playing in his first NFL game. Herbert had a great rookie season so not to take anything away from him. However the fact remains that he had much better surrounding skill players on offense than Tua. Just watch the All-22. Compare the amount of separation Herbert’s WRs were getting compared to Tua’s. It’s not really even close. With both having a full off-season to train and with Tua hopefully having better skill players to work with we will get to see them on a more even playing field in 2021.

                I never said any of them are guaranteed to be great but IMO it is just foolish to give up on players after their rookie seasons. Especially extremely young players (Jackson and Igbinoghene coming into the league at 20) at two of the toughest positions to play in the NFL. As far as Igbinoghene having a huge hill to climb with two high paid players in front of him. I doubt that both Howard and Jones will be on the team in 2022. Which is why it imperative to have a high ceiling guy such as Igbinoghene ready to replace one of them when the time comes.

            • UberSTCrew –
              After reading through this thread and all of your comments, I gotta commend you on being a guy with a good sense of reason and understanding of how the NFL generally works. I agree with just about everything you’ve said and it’s refreshing to have some intelligent commentary to read rather than most of the rubbish spewing out of some others on the site.

        • Christopher_Oriole

          I agree. Also, in a year in which a pandemic prevented players and coaches from having actual face to face meetings, and getting real reps early on, I didn’t expect any first rounder to excel.

          I think this year is effectively their actual rookie year, for those drafted in 2020 draft.

          • Simmons>Russ

            Lots of comments here that’s all kinda all over the place. I agree that Miami drafted poorly last year with their first round picks but like a couple people mentioned. I understand why they wanted a LT and they’d decided to reach and obviously it didn’t pay off but was the right idea. The CB pick was odd tho.

            But anyways teams that are rebuilding, trying to go younger and better need to accumulate as many top picks as possible. If the Texans trade Watson getting back Tua plus 3 first plus a fourth would be a very good return. Tua may not be your choice over Herbert and Herbert did have a great rookie season but I wouldn’t right Tua off. I still think he’s going to be pretty good. I see him Burrow and Herbert going to end up like Wentz Dak and idk Goff (I know different draft but besides the point). I think all three will be good/really good without being a top 5/10 QB.

            For Tua I think he would do better with Houston surprisingly. He would have a veteran HC, some decent older receivers, two veteran RB that’ll do their job and a average line. In Mimi he’s got no running game, 1 good young receiver and 1 good young TE with arguably a worst line and a rookie defensive coach….

            • UberSTCrew

              @Simmons>Russ
              You writing off Austin Jackson already is just a mistake and extremely short-sighted. As far as Ighbenoghene goes. Howard was coming into the 2020 season off of knee surgery and at the time it looked like he may have some potential legal issues. Another thing to consider is that Brian Flores likes to have as many quality DBs as he can get. Eventually Ighbenoghene will replace either Howard or Jones. I don’t get this seemingly new infatuation with giving up on players if they aren’t pro bowlers in their rookie seasons. Have people forgot that teams actually draft players to develop?

              The Dolphins have more than enough draft capital and cap space to improve their WR corps, running back room and add a couple more offensive lineman. They are in much better position to build around Tua than the Texans and it’s not even close.

            • Jerbear3333

              They have a decent team and four pics in the top 50 they will be fine

            • UberSTCrew

              I highly doubt that Flores and Grier are going to give up on Tua already. No matter how much better you think Watson is than Tua right now, IMO Flores and Grier still believe Tua has the potential to be a top 10 QB. They didn’t draft him #5 overall last year, after building up all this draft capital while cleaning up their cap, to throw it all away on one player. The best move for them is to stay the course and continue to improve the team around their young QB. The Dolphins still have plenty of positions on their roster that need to be upgraded. Those picks and cap space will go a long way to fill those holes. Plus they need to continue an influx of young talent to eventually replace some of the players they signed in 2020. Giving up the farm for Watson would be a mistake.

  4. MileHighFan

    Odd to see so much support for a guy that got pulled from two (2) games and generally got outplayed by a 38 year old journeyman.

    Miami likely drafted a dud, but the history of recent drafts shows that happens more often than not. The Josh Rosen/Kyler Murray situation has shown that trying again the very next year isn’t necessarily a bad idea.

    • Odd to see so many people like yourself forgetting that rookie QB’s (very) often struggle, especially when the team is extremely lacking in the skill positions and offensive line. Not to mention the lack of a normal offseason and having to rehab from injury. Are any of you guys old enough to remember the rookie seasons of John Elway or Troy Aikman? According to your line of thought, they both should have been thrown out of the league after their horrible first seasons! Give Tua a chance before writing the guy off for god’s sake!

      • HubcapDiamondStarHalo

        1998… Some guy in 16 games as a rookie had a 56.7% completion rate, threw 28 interceptions and had a 71.2 QBR. He led his team to a 3-13 record.

        However, Peyton Manning seemed to right the ship eventually…

        • Another perfect example! What a bust that guy turned out to be!

          Any of this making sense to you, Arty!?

    • Ak185

      I wouldn’t compare any situation to Murray/Rosen. The Cards didn’t just draft Murray, they dumped their entire staff and hired a new coach specifically to work around Murray’s capabilities. They also drafted a host of offensive help, and went out and acquired an elite weapon in Hopkins and a running back in Drake, plus some help at TE. They really reinvented themselves for Murray, as opposed to Rosen, who got stuck with a rookie defensive coach and a bad roster. So the Cards didn’t just pick a new QB, they turned over an entire organization. Just picking a new starter the next year is the not the same as what Arizona did, and though the team has been better, they have yet to make the playoffs.

      As an addendum, I think they will of course (especially with the inane new expansion of the playoffs), but with turnover like that you need to be in the mix for championships to make it pay off, not just put up better numbers.

  5. Jake1800

    Why would Houston trade Watson before June 1? By waiting they save over 10 million against the cap. Anyway why would you give up 3 to 4 #1 picks (Tua is a #1) and just abandon your plan to build a perennial contender? Personally I think Miami has no intentions to get Watson. Tua has not really had a chance to show what he can do. He did not have a preseason or training camp last year and he was rehabbing from a major injury. Flores understands this. And with the chance to draft several playmakers and maybe sign Jones and a top wr this team can be a force for years to come.

  6. joemoes

    If you can get Watson you do it. 3, 19 and Tua is a great deal for both sides. The dolphins have so much cap space they can sign free agents. The rebuild is over you can’t just constantly say rebuild. They were close To making the playoffs last year. The dolphins are ready now: Watson Probably adds two wins

  7. Jake_is_Irish

    As a lifelong dolphins fan since the mid 80s I will say this as much as I like Watson as both a person and a player it would be a massive mistake on the part of Grier and Flores to trade away the kind of Draft capital it would take to get him.

    Your talking both 1st rounders this year plus a 1 next year and Tua minimum that is too much especially when we have a young QB in Tua who didn’t have any mini camps or preseason last year and was recovering from a devastating hip injury that could have ended his career before it started.

    I get the 2nd guessing on Tua vs Herbert I honestly wanted Herbert more last year because i thought he would be the better Pro in the long run but Tua is still going to be a great QB in the NFL he showed flashes of phenomenal decision making and higher football IQ as the season progressed and minus the 3 pick game against the Bills was having a great rookie year.

    As far as Jackson and Igbi both are only 21 years old going into this new season Jackson showed good improvement as the season went on and should be a solid LT for years to come and while I would have preferred RBs like Taylor or Akers over another CB his upside is phenomenal and should Howard or Jones go down or get traded in next couple years we have a high level replacement already to go.

    In short yes for some people our 3 first rounders last year weren’t good choices but going into this new season and all of them having full mini camps and preseason I believe with whoever we sign in FA and draft in first 2 rounds will put us over the top and into the playoffs for many years to come.

  8. BuckarooBanzai

    Tua isn’t a bust because not every hyped QB is a “Day One Stud”

    On top of the injury, he didn’t have a pre-season.

    Media Hype makes/breaks these guys. Look at Hurts. He gets dismissed too easily (imo) when his college history is kinda impressive (again, imo)

    “Immediate Satiation” is in everything now. Development is becoming a thing of the past. That’s unfortunate

    • It must have something to do with this newer generation of fans who require immediate gratification with an extremely low attention span or sense of patience. I would love to see a poll done by age range on the outlook of Tua’s future. I’d be willing to bet those in their early to mid-30’s and up would have a much more positive outlook, while the 20-somethings and younger would turn out to be the ones who are writing him off already

  9. Suncoast

    What people don’t get is the fact that with the devastating injury Tua had, he wasn’t in great shape last year. He was maybe 70 percent. A lot of people would never even walk again, let alone play football. I have watched this young man throughout his career, and he is an incredible talent. He also has a drive and focus that is rare.Flores is smart and sees this. DeShawn Watson?? In a couple of years I think people will see that Watson won’t be able to hold Tuas jock strap! This young man is currently transforming himself into a physical monster.

  10. Tuternon

    Tua will start
    4300 yrds. 30 TDs 9 int.
    350 rushing yards.
    Miami finish 12-5 division champs

  11. Dave4585

    Giving up on a guy who had 11 TDs against 5 INTs in 9 starts In his rookie year lol. Remember when Peyton Manning threw like 30 in his rookie year and had a QB rating of like 70 something.

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