Alright, guys, the debut is over, now it’s time for the ride, the process, the improvement, the “getting better every day” mentality in order to eventually get to where the Miami Dolphins want to get to, raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
In a game in which we were probably expecting the Dolphins to attempt to pass deep downfield and possibly go on a long drive or two, none of those things happened. Yet, they still came out on top.
2 Non-offensive touchdowns, almost 3. Forcing 4 turnovers in the second quarter alone. If you win by multiple scores and your offense was the worst of the performance, is it something to be concerned about? Or is it not a concern because you won? You’ll take wins any day of the week, even if they’re ugly.
Were there times where the offense was underwhelming in Tua’s anticipated debut? Yes, but like I said, after one game, it’s best to even keel with a guy who has not played a full game since November of 2019. It’s more than just Tua though, it’s about Chan Gailey’s comfort level in game action as well. Gailey can call all the plays he wants to for Tua and the offense in practice and Tua can execute them 100%, but during the game, he can easily change course and based on what opposing defenses give him, and sometimes the score dictates what you do as well.
That’s what happened on Sunday. Dolphins’ defense and special teams gave Miami a cushion that Tua did not have to have that home run throw downfield to take the game over. That’s why Tua only threw it 22 times. Although the Rams scored early in the 4th to make it 28-17, there was a little bit of concern that if the offense had a 3-and-out, that LA might be able to come back in the game, but here is something that I’m pleased with what Chan Gailey was able to do late in the 4th, chew up some clock in the 4th.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) November 5, 2020
I don’t always recommend this route late in games, but when you’re up by 3 scores to start the 4th, the clock is your friend. After the Rams scored to bring it to a 2 possession game, Miami only had 1 incomplete pass the rest of the way, ran and pass the ball, stayed in bounds to either run the clock or force LA to take their timeouts, the definition of football IQ by Gailey, Coach Flores and the Dolphins players on offense for executing, which is why Tua and the offensive performance is not a concern. They did what they had to do in order for when the Rams got the ball back with 1:08 left, the game was in hand.
Obviously, if the score was closer and the defense did not give you the scores you needed, the play-calling would be different, Gailey would have no choice. We would definitely have seen more gambles of Tua taking shots downfield had the score been different. Maybe that happens next week against Arizona, Dolphins and Cardinals are tied midway through the 4th, that’s when you have to let the kid sling it.
Yes, before the 4th even started, there were some drops(2 by Preston Williams on the same drive, and a few by Gaskin), which is not Tua’s fault, let’s not forget that Miami still has 2 1st round picks and 2 2nd rounders, so Miami has an opportunity to get Tua a weapon. Whether that’s a Jamar Chase(LSU), or guys that Tua is familiar with in Jalen Waddle or Davonta Smith from Alabama.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) November 4, 2020
Houston’s pick at the moment stands at #4, but don’t count on them it to go up this weekend as Houston faces the Jaguars, which is the team they have their only win against earlier this year, but it looks as if that is going to end up in the top 10, maybe in the top 5, to possibly give Tua that weapon.
Arizona does not have the pass rush LA does, especially with Chandler Jones being out for the rest of the season, so expect Tua to have more time in the pocket. With Myles Gaskin going down with a sprained MCL, expect a mix of screen passes to Matt Breida and Patrick Laird, more experiments with Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr., which might open up the pass against a great Cardinals secondary, with Budda Baker and Patrick Peterson.
Expect to see a different Tua, with more passes deep downfield, and more time in the pocket. Remember that Ryan Fitzpatrick had 5 years of experience under Chan Gailey’s offense while this is Tua Tagovailoa’s first, so for anybody concerned about the offense, relax. If there is a similar performance, maybe we can raise a bit of an eyebrow, but that’s about it.
I don’t expect to beat Arizona coming off a bye, and the Dolphins traveling out west, but the schedule for the Dolphins definitely opens up for Miami after their trip to Arizona: vs. LAC, @DEN, @NYJ, vs. CIN.
Miami has an opportunity to go on a run to set up a possible division altering game against Buffalo in Week 17 later down the line. Enjoy the ride!