The Miami Dolphins tried to get Deshaun Watson on, even with the risk of backlash from fans. They tried to get Tom Brady, even at the risk of messing with the NFL.
They’ve tried all sorts of ideas because it’s pretty clear they don’t want to try again with Tua Tagovailoa for the 2022 season.
However, they tried as best they could, nothing worked.
And now, perhaps, Tagovailoa has become the star they have been looking for all along.
It’s early. Painfully early. The small sample size and all these caveats certainly apply.
However, Miami is 2-0 and Tagoviloa off 469 yards, performing six touchdowns in a 42-38 shootout win over the Baltimore Ravens. He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the effort.
It wasn’t just that he amassed big numbers either. He conveyed a calm and a sense of control over the match which shows that this is more than just a hot day against a weak defense.
He even bounced off two interceptions and a sack to put in his best in the fourth quarter. There was a Miami record four touchdown points to come out of a 21-point hole and outsmart former league best player Lamar Jackson.
In the past, it was entirely possible for Tagoviloa to collapse under pressure and mistakes. On Sunday, he was on the next play.
“I want to do good every time I go out there,” Tagoviloa said. “I don’t want to throw objections; I want to throw relegation. I want to put our team in the best possible position, but you know we have to be real. You know those guys on the other side of the ball get paid too. And they’re really good players.”
“All I can do is go out and do what we did throughout the training,” he continued. “I will only play football and hopefully we can win.”
Whatever skepticism has been about Tagovailoa in the past, it is clear that nothing is inside Dolphin’s current locker room. This is their man, and this is the man they have seen develop on the outside and in practice.
“I think there’s also something to the fact that none of his teammates have been surprised, and it’s more impactful than words,” Miami coach Mike McDaniel said. “You can feel that when guys, they’re not like, ‘Stop, dude, where did that come from?'” “”
Dolphins may not be surprised, but almost everyone is. The problem with Tagovailoa was that he couldn’t go too deep, couldn’t drive like a franchisee, he let the bugs fall.
And where Miami once sought to replace him, they surrounded him with guns. Adding Tyreek Hill from Kansas City to go with Jaylen Waddle means the dolphins are rich in deep threats…and QB proves he can beat them.
Tagovailoa had two touchdown passes over 40 yards Sunday to Hill, including a 55.5-yard air travel ticket, per Next Generation stat.
So is this the real Twa – the man who led Alabama to a national title, won the Crimson Tide QB derby that featured Galen Hurts and Mac Jones and finished fifth in the 2020 draft despite dealing with a thigh injury that ended his college career early. ?
Time will tell, but in Miami right now, dolphins think this is the real guy.
“No need to say much man, all you have to do is look at a movie you played,” said Hill, who grabbed the headlines last season when he announced that Tagovailoa was more accurate than Patrick Mahomes. “It’s just, who it is and how consistent it is.”
Well, it wasn’t stable. His 27 passes in his first two professional seasons were compensated for by 15 interceptions. He’s completed 66.2% of his passes, but it’s not amazing. There’s a reason Miami wanted Watson despite the baggage.
Tagoviloa’s numbers for 2022: seven touchdowns to two interceptions, plus a completion rate of 71.1. And these are just the basic stats. Some of that is attributed to the improved mechanics that came from relentless work.
Tagovailoa took all the stories about how Miami wanted someone else and used them to feed the man they needed.
“He did an amazing job with his footwork,” said passing coordinator Daryl Bevel. “I think you can go back and look at some of the plays from last year versus what he’s doing this year. It’s a major focus for us. He’s buying focus and I think he’s done a good job at that.”
It’s just two games. Only two victories. There is still much to prove.
Say this about Tua Tagovailoa though, he knows it all, knows all his past doubts, and hasn’t let that affect his game. If it still proves itself to dolphins, so be it. He seems very happy to do so.
“It’s worth it,” McDaniel said. “None of it was ever given. He’s got every ounce of that which I know guys respect a lot.”
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