If the Miami Dolphins are going to compete in the AFC East now or in the future, they need quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to step up.
Josh Allen isn’t losing many division races to non-elite quarterbacks over the next decade.
In that vein, the Miami Dolphins need Tua Tagovailoa to level up. More than once.
After an inconsistent first two years to start his NFL career, Tagovailoa enters his third campaign with a new head coach in Mike McDaniel. An offensive-minded man, McDaniel leads the Dolphins into a new era, but one which remains uncertain. Miami has needs across its offensive line, as the unit was one of the worst in football last year. Additionally, will the team bring back star tight end Mike Gesicki, who is slated for unrestricted free agency come March 16?
While all those subplots matter, none of them mean much without Tagovailoa finding a way to improve dramatically. Enter McDaniel, who talked this week down in Indianapolis on Good Morning Football about his belief in the youngster out of Alabama, per NFL.com:
“I’m really excited moving forward because the guy has some skills that I think are untapped. I think it’s important that you empower the quarterback with the rest of the players around him and the scheme you bring forth. So, I think his best days are in front of him. And that’s a really cool piece of the process to be part of as a coach.”
If McDaniel can turn Tagovailoa into a consistent player who can threaten all three levels of a defense, the Dolphins suddenly become scary with good coaching, a competent passing attack and one of the better defensive squads in the game. However, it’ll require more support around Tagovailoa, who has largely been limited in the way the scheme has been utilized around him, and the lack of big-time weapons at his disposal.
With the team having to make a decision on his fifth-year option after the 2022 season, Tagovailoa is getting to work with McDaniel just in time. He can prove he’s worth a long-term investment and still become the player everybody believed he would be when the Dolphins took him fifth-overall back in 2019.
For McDaniel, there’s plenty to accomplish in Miami. The first, and most important order of business? Get Tua rolling.