DAVIE, Fla. The Miami Dolphins quarterback situation has been at the center of the news cycle early in the offseason, but when asked about it on Thursday, coach Brian Flores confirmed his support for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and expressed enthusiasm for his development in year 2.
“A lot of attention is being paid to Tua, but I thought he improved a lot over the course of the season. I’m excited about the future with him,” Flores told ESPN. “He’s a young player, a talented player, jumped back from the hip. I think it’s a big offseason for him. Jumping from year 1 to year 2 will be important, just like it is for all rookies.”
Last week, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier made it clear that there was no QB controversy and said, “Tua, we̵
Still, Tagovailoa has been the subject of questions, criticism and speculation following an uneven rookie season.
As Dolphins coaches and leaders go deeper into an offseason that includes an ongoing offensive coordinator search and an opportunity to coach the Senior Bowl later this month, they hope to move past the issues and toward a future that includes Tagovailoa.
“Criticism comes with the territory of the NFL across the board. Our team did a great job of ignoring those things. Anyone who saw the dolphins this year saw that we were a close-knit group and I think it is. still the case, “Flores said. “The idea that there is some kind of break is overblown. I thought there was a lot of support throughout the locker room.
“My message to the team has been to ignore the noise and people inside the building will tell the truth to you. Without all the information, how do you make any decision about what’s going on?”
Dolphin’s makers still believe in Tagovailo’s talent. Over the course of the season, players for ESPN revealed differing opinions on whether Tagovailoa or veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them the best chance of winning. But several teammates have expressed support and optimism about Tagovailoa’s future publicly throughout the season.
Miami has interviewed five candidates for their offensive coordinator job, who were left vacant after Chan Gailey retired last week, and a top priority for the appointment will be indicative of Tagovailoa’s year 2 development.
Dolphins recumbent coach Eric Studesville, Dolphins QB coach George Godsey, Los Angeles Chargers QB coach Pep Hamilton, Pittsburgh Steelers QB coach Matt Canada and San Francisco 49ers game coordinator Mike McDaniel have all been interviewed for the job.
Tagovailoa still has a lot to prove. He was not good enough in trusting his eyes down and making games outside the scheme – shown by one of the lowest completion rates on 20-plus-yard passes this season.
But the Dolphins should and probably will be patient with letting Tagovailoa improve and evolve with a full offseason, more explosive offensive weapons and a playcaller building a offense that suits him best. He played his best football as he was allowed to play more freely using pace and spread packs.
The comparisons with Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow, who had better statistical seasons in different situations, help paint a doom and gloom about Tagovailoa, who completed 64% of his passes for 11 passing TDs and five interceptions with a pedestrian 6.3 yards pr. attempt. Buffalo Bill’s QB Josh Allen had a completion rate of 53%, 10 TDs, 12 interceptions and 6.5 yards per carry. Try as a rookie. Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill admitted in “Inside the NFL” in December that he thought Patrick Mahomes was “trash” like a rookie. Both are among the AFC’s best QBs now.
Dolphins clearly believe that development takes time and Tagovailoa will be fine.
“We learned he’s healthy. He’s still a lot of his mobility. He’s accurate. In the Arizona game, he’s bringing us back in the fourth quarter. He brought us back in the Kansas City game. He didn ‘t play that well in either. “Other games. He had some bright spots and not so bright spots. It’s a rookie’s life,” Flores said. “If he continues to learn, study, stay healthy, get stronger, work on his footwork and his eye progression and continue where he left off, then I think we will be happy with his improvement.”