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Yes, Tua Needs To Improve, But Dolphins Skill Players Dragged Him Down

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In the early fall of 2019, the campaign “Tank for Tua” was a widespread goal around the NFL. Every quarterback-needy team was figuring out a way to land the gunslinger from Alabama. But then injury struck.

Tua Tagovailoa went down with a severe hip injury against Mississippi State that changed everything. The Miami Dolphins and their fans were still thrilled to land him at No. 5, though. He was going to be the franchise’s savior.

Well, a lot has changed since then. Tagovailoa didn’t begin the season as that starting quarterback, and the unexpected change from Ryan Fitzpatrick brought with it added pressure for the rookie. In addition, fellow first-year signal-caller Justin Herbert looked fantastic for the Los Angeles Chargers.

The point? Tagovailoa did not have the season many had hoped. And that has several people wondering if Miami should look to go in a different direction at the position.

Let’s be clear on two things here: 1) it is way too premature for that type of drastic move but 2) Tagovailoa does need to show improvement in Year 2. Those two things can both be true — and they are.

Barry Jackson with Yahoo Sports recently did a great job breaking down the offensive pieces around Tagovailoa in Miami, and things don’t look good. As much as the rookie struggled in his own right, he also didn’t have much help — making for a poor combination.

YAC (yards after the catch), average yards of separation and other meaningful statistics were all rough down in Miami in 2020.

Those issues need to be adequately addressed before the franchise can make any determination about Tagovailoa. Otherwise, it’s a pure guessing game. Moving on from him could pay off, but it could also backfire.

Let’s see how it plays out in 2021 after the front office uses the picks to build around its potential franchise quarterback.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and TideSports.com.

4 Comments

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  1. You’re telling me it’s a little harder than in college where he had the best offensive line, best set of wide receivers and one of the best backs in the country? You don’t say. Just like Mac Jones playing against air on defense since his WRs are either wide open by 5 yards or he throws a bubble screen that goes for 40 YAC.

    Closer to home for me but it’s the same with Badger RBs. Outside of Gordon being meh, James White fitting a niche in NE and Taylor shaping up to be solid for a few years, they stink when they don’t have a dominant offensive line.

  2. I’m not sure what more people expect from a rookie. The guy was 6-3 as the starter, 64% completion, and had an over 2 to 1 TD/INT ratio(11/5) in his first year on a team notorious for offensive ineptitude. They won. No, he didn’t get a bunch of junk yards, like Herbert, from chunking it all over creation in meaningless games. These sound a little like fantasy culture complaints. Miami should be thrilled and optimistic about the future. He’ll improve, and they could use some better receivers.

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