The Miami Dolphins have high expectations this season after adding pieces, and it comes down to Tua Tagovailoa making a leap.
It’s time for Tua Tagovailoa to step up.
Entering his third year after being a first-round choice of the Miami Dolphins, Tagovailoa is looking at the best supporting cast of his young NFL career. After adding former Alabama Crimson Tide teammate and speedy receiver Jaylen Waddle in the first round a year ago, Miami general manager Chris Grier gave Tagovailoa another burner on the perimeter in Tyreek Hill.
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However, many have wondered aloud whether Tagovailoa had the arm strength to utilize Hill in the same capacity we saw of him with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. On Thursday following an OTA practice, the native Hawaiian talked about those perceived problems, per ESPN:
“Yeah, if you’ve seen the third-to-the-last play we had — I don’t know if I could throw the ball downfield still, but by my account, I think that might have been a touchdown to Tyreek. If not, then we scored two plays after that to Tyreek. So you know, however you want to write down any of that to social media or whatever outlets you guys are with.”
This season, Miami not only has Hill and Waddle on the outside but tight end Mike Gesicki as well, who was tagged before free agency began in March. The trio is one of the better groups of weaponry in the NFL. Alongside first-year head coach and former San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, there’s reason to believe Tagovailoa and the Dolphins offense is in for a quantum leap in 2022.
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For the Dolphins, the question is twofold regarding Tagovailoa. One, can he stay healthy for a full season, something he hasn’t been able to do dating back to his final year with the Crimson Tide? Two, if he’s on the field for 17 games, what is enough production to feel good about Tagovailoa moving forward, and using their pair of ’23 first-round picks to improve the roster around him and not upgrade at quarterback?
Last year, Tagovailoa started 13 games and threw for 2,653 yards with 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. If he can tack on another 1,200 yards, 10 touchdowns and stay upright, Miami would have to consider that a smashing success for someone once considered a can’t-miss prospect.
Still, it must happen. And for Tagovailoa, fair or not, it must happen this year.