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Armando Salguero’s QB Talk: Tua Tagovailoa, Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence, Jimmy G, Carson Wentz

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Within the swirling vortex of the Deshaun Watson trade rumors and reports that seemingly take two steps forward and one step back, it has become sort of easy to forget there’s another NFL starting quarterback involved in this saga.

Tua Tagovailoa.

The Dolphins’ starting quarterback was supposed to be the team’s quarterback of the future when he was selected No. 5 overall in the 2020 draft.

Think about that timing, folks.

It’s been only 18 months since the Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa. They evaluated his play at Alabama longer than they’ve evaluated him in their building.

And already they’ve made a trade offer to the Houston Texans to acquire Watson as their new starting quarterback, per a league source.

The NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2. But the entire Earth knows Watson wants to play for Miami, and the Dolphins are willing to have him once his legal issues — you know, the 22 civil suits claiming harassment of a sexual nature and 10 criminal complaints claiming something similar — are settled.

By definition, that means the Dolphins are willing to replace Tagovailoa as their starter, either by trading him if they can get the right price or letting him simply ride the bench.

Again, this is the guy picked No. 5 overall who’s scheduled to make only his 14th NFL start on Sunday when the Dolphins play the Buffalo Bills.

And while the people most invested in this trade — meaning Watson, Texans general manager Nick Caserio, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier, Texans CEO Cal McNair and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross — refuse to answer questions about the soap opera of their own making, the guy who gets trotted out in front of reporters twice a week is Tagovailoa.

The 23-year-old kid who admitted Wednesday he didn’t know the NFL trade deadline is Nov. 2.

“I really don’t think about it,” Tagovailoa said of the persistent rumors fueled by the trade negotiations between his team and the Texans. “The only time I’m really hearing about it, like I’ve said before, is if (the communications staff) is kind of telling me what’s going on or if my agent calls me. That’s really when I hear it. Other than that, I don’t really hear it.”

Tagovailoa, who has issues trying to get his game right on the field, doesn’t really need this off-the-field issue. But he has shown great grace and great professionalism through it all.

When asked whether he believed the Dolphins still want him, he deflected.

“I don’t not feel wanted,” he said.

This is Tagovailoa making the best of a bad situation. What other NFL starting quarterback drafted to be the face of the franchise is set up for such awkwardness by his own organization?

This is so Miami Dolphins.

Tagovailoa says he and coach Brian Flores talk about the trade issue at times. And somehow he comes out of those talks feeling good about his status on the team — which suggests Flores is either a hypnotist or gifted in the art of doublespeak.

“Honestly, I don’t base my emotions off of who says anything about me or who is saying what,” Tagovailoa said. “All I can do is my job and do it to the best of my capabilities. Everything else, I mean, it’s out of my control.

“But I have the utmost confidence and trust that I am the quarterback of this team, just off of conversations that I’ve had with Flo and whatnot. That obviously stays between us. But yeah, I feel very confident that I’m the person.”

Tagovailoa is the Dolphins’ starting quarterback as long as no Watson trade is made. But if Watson is traded to Miami, things will eventually change.

“Well for me,” Tagovailoa said, “I don’t have control over any of that.”

Mac Jones offense has a familiar identity — sort of

He’s coming off his best game of the season, which included 2 TD passes and his first 300-yard NFL game, so it makes sense to think that Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is getting comfortable in New England.

Maybe. But make no mistake that he’s getting comfortable running Tom Brady’s offense. Because the fundamentals of Brady’s offense, particularly in the passing game, are more or less still the ones offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is using with Jones two seasons after Brady went to Tampa Bay.

“Yeah, I think the offensive identity has been established throughout the past 20 years here, and we’re trying to get there and trying to establish playing to the standard that we have,” Jones said. “And, you know, this year it’s our team, and we’re kind of figuring out our pieces, and we’re putting them together.

“But like I said, you can’t just do it for a few games or a game or a few plays. You have to do it every day, every week and on every Sunday, so we know that, and we’re not satisfied. We’re just trying to continue to work to find our identity and just work from there.”

Trevor Lawrence is big on sleep

The Jacksonville Jaguars traveled to London two weeks ago, got their bye, and will travel to Seattle this weekend.

So sleep is seriously on Trevor Lawrence’s mind.

“Like, my sleep was all messed up,” Lawrence said of his body clock when he returned from London. “My timeclock was because we were five hours ahead there, so it was super weird. I needed a few days to get back, so I thought the bye week was at a really good time.”

This week, the Jaguars are going three time zones in a different direction.

“I think you just have to really take advantage of all your resources, make sure you’re getting all your sleep, really just preparing as best you can,” Lawrence said. “Obviously, the time change you get out there, you can’t really control that. That’s going to be different, but I think just making sure you’re getting your rest, trying to stay on schedule as much as you can.

“I think after going to London, that’ll help because that was a five-hour difference, so this won’t be near as bad. I think that will actually help us because that was just two weeks ago, so we’re not really worried about that. But I think it is important, obviously, to hydrate. It’s a long flight, get your rest, make sure you’re in bed getting your sleep because we’re there a night early so that’ll be good.”

Jimmy G’s run as 49ers starter might end where it began

The San Francisco 49ers have lost four consecutive games and their season is on the brink as they visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday. So is Trey Lance going to be asked to rescue his team?

Nope.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he’s deciding on Lance’s status based on his health. The rookie has been nursing a knee injury for a couple of weeks, and although his status for Sunday remains uncertain, there’s a solid bet he’ll be ready to play in Week 9 against Arizona.

Yeah, welcome back, rookie.

This week, it’s likely Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm of an offense that is sputtering. And the interesting thing is the game is at Soldier Field, where Garoppolo started his first game for San Francisco in 2017.

That was a better time for Garoppolo, who won all his five starts for the 49ers after a midseason trade in ’17.

“I mean, I can remember times where I was learning something on the sideline for the first time and we were about to go run it in the next series,” a nostalgic Garoppolo said. “Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then. So the mental part of it is slowed down a ton.

“The verbiage of the offense has changed. So it’s completely different than it was back then, just calling plays in general, running plays. So it’s different, but it’s nice to go back to those times and just rethink those through.”

Yeah, um, enjoy the memories and Sunday’s game, Jimmy G. There might not be many more for you as the 49ers’ starter.

Carson Wentz going deep again

Carson Wentz is still growing into his new team in Indianapolis and part of that has been the return of his deep passing game.

Wentz already has more completed passes traveling 40-plus yards beyond the line of scrimmage in seven games this year than he had in 12 games with the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

He has three deep completions this year and had only two such completions last season. And even when those passes are not complete, they put pressure on defenders who sometimes get called for defensive pass interference — something the Colts are building confidence doing.

“For sure, absolutely,” Wentz said, “especially with the guys that we have. If there’s going to be a chance to push it down the field, whether our guys come up with it, usually, and if not there might be a penalty. It’s not every time, but those are huge plays that can change the outcome of a game, especially on third down.

“For me it comes down to having confidence in the guys out there, that I can throw out there and give them a shot, and they’re either going to come down with it or draw a flag.”

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

4 Comments

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  1. The basis for the Watson/Tuogilova talk is that Miami was expected to win NOW and the Texans are clearly rebuilding. So the proven QB (on the field at least) looks better to the Dolphins and the future QB looks better to the Texans.

  2. Tua had a couple of good games in weeks 5 and 6. His combined PFF Grade on those two games ranked 9th among QB who took at least 25 passing dropbacks.
    If Miami goes through with the deal they are likely to feel some backlash. I have seen Polls in The Herald an Phinsider and the responders are over 70% against the trade in both polls.
    In the many blunder that the Dolphins have made since 1995 this one deserves a special place.

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