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HomeSportTua Tagovailoa has been Miami's biggest asset and, briefly, worst enemy

Tua Tagovailoa has been Miami’s biggest asset and, briefly, worst enemy


The Miami Dolphins go as Tua Tagovailoa goes. It is simply that easy.

Within the weeks that Tua was harm and could not play, the Dolphins misplaced. Final week, in a recreation during which Tagovailoa performed beneath his sometimes excessive caliber, the Dolphins misplaced. He’s the catalyst that propelled them into the highest spot within the AFC East. He’s additionally what allowed the Buffalo Bills to leapfrog Miami over the previous week. The Dolphins misplaced to the San Francisco 49ers due to Tua.

This is not a diss. It is only a assertion of reality — and an indication of Tagovailoa’s standing as an elite QB.

Mike McDaniel referred to as one hell of a recreation towards the 49ers, with cautious playcalls that have been supposed to get Tua right into a rhythm. However even with all of McDaniel’s assist, Tagovailoa struggled to hit the throws that McDaniel’s system requires — the kind of throws that require the accuracy that has made Tua a star this season.

His largest problem?

“I’d say my spot within the pocket,” Tagovaoiloa mentioned Wednesday. “There have been many factors within the recreation that I wasn’t within the spot that I informed the fellows up entrance I’d be in and so due to this fact, I type of put myself in unhealthy conditions.” 

Tyreek Hill went off for 9 catches, 146 yards and a landing. And whereas Jaylen Waddle had only one catch for 9 yards, Trent Sherfield completed with a catch for 75 yards and a landing. Everybody else seemed like they have been having a very good day.

For Tua, it was a no-good, very-bad day. And whereas the 49ers deserve reward for killing the Dolphins’ probabilities of a comeback — with Nick Bosa logging a vital strip sack and Dre Greenlaw recovering the fumble for a landing — Tua was the explanation why Miami fell right into a gap to start with. Niners backup quarterback and seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy outplayed him.

“The whole lot that went unsuitable wasn’t a direct results of the quarterback,” McDaniel mentioned Wednesday. “It by no means is strictly like that. Nevertheless, everyone knows that he desires to play in addition to he can, and he thinks that he may have finished higher in that recreation.”

If Tagovailoa hadn’t had an terrible 2021 season — throughout which he earned a popularity as a draft bust with a too-weak arm — he won’t face the immense safety that he’s encountering. However Tua is as polarizing as any quarterback. When he is up, there is a battle over his elite standing. When he is down, the battle continues over whether or not he is a franchise quarterback. There does not appear to be any in-between — besides for many who are closest to him.

“I have been lucky sufficient to have the ability to play with probably the greatest quarterbacks on this league,” Hill mentioned Wednesday. “All of us have unhealthy video games. We’re all human. … You bought to have the ability to transfer on. Tua has been nice about that.”

The one factor Tua can do is put up numbers. All he can do is put this recreation behind him and get again to successful video games with an all-intergalactic passing offense, during which he’s the solar and Hill is the moon. A very powerful response for Tagovailoa is to beat the Chargers on Sunday. 

The stress is on — and his detractors do not assume he can deal with the stress. Nicely, he can return to rewriting his résumé in L.A. when that recreation kicks off.

Tua Tagovailoa on his evolution

Tua Tagovailoa talks with Charissa Thompson about being self-critical and what it took to be “the man” in Miami after he was benched and placed on the commerce block.

However then there is a bigger-picture query for McDaniel: Does he need his offense to be so singular? 

As a result of because it stands now, the Dolphins have a powerful recipe for fulfillment. When Tua’s scorching, they win. However that signifies that Tua must be scorching each week. And that is not the easiest way to make it by way of the playoffs in a win-or-go-home format. Groups just like the Payments, for instance, are struggling losses for the sake of determining methods to take the weight of the offense off Josh Allen

The Dolphins may contemplate one thing just like see if the protection (aided by the addition of Bradley Chubb) and the resurgent dashing assault (aided by the addition of Jeff Wilson) would possibly take extra possession in producing W’s.

It is a danger, as a result of by dropping a couple of video games, Miami may slip out of the playoff hunt. That is how tight issues are within the AFC and the AFC East. If the Dolphins do not assume they’ll afford to alter at this level within the season, they’ll hold driving or dying with Tagovailoa. 

So the actual query is: How a lot does McDaniel belief Tua? We will discover out.

Prime tales from FOX Sports activities:

Previous to becoming a member of FOX Sports activities because the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years masking the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports activities Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Comply with him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.


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