One of the biggest questions going into the off-season for the Miami Dolphins is what are they going to do at quarterback? From the reporting out there it appears the Dolphins will keep Tua Tagovailoa and continue to build around him. That’s fine if the team wants to do that. The team should look to upgrade the skills position players and the offensive line to improve the offense because, frankly, the offense is pathetic and offensive at times, not being able to score points. That doesn’t mean the new head coach they hire should be tied to Tagovailoa though.
In the interview process, the Dolphins should be asking their candidates about their plan and thoughts on the roster and that includes the quarterback position. How they feel about Tagovailoa shouldn’t persuade the team from hiring the next coach. The Dolphins should listen to what they say and how they feel. Some may be able to work with Tagovailoa and design an offense for him. While others may want to bring in other quarterbacks to push him for the starting job. Frankly, that’s not a bad thing and if general manager Chris Grier believes in competition, then he should look at his options. The quarterback class isn’t great in the draft and free agency doesn’t seem to have a lot of options, but that shouldn’t stop the team from looking. The Dolphins should be looking for an upgrade over backup Jacoby Brissett, who didn’t exactly light the world on fire when he got his chance with Tagovailoa’s injuries for a few games.
There are people, who feel Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is the leading candidate for the head coaching position because of his work with Tagovailoa at Alabama. That may be true, but it shouldn’t be the reason to hire him. Yes, Daboll has worked with him, but the fact is he didn’t recruit Tagovailoa to play at Alabama, and he didn’t start for him, in his only season as offensive coordinator, until coach Nick Saban decided to bench starter Jalen Hurts at halftime of the national championship game. Daboll may try to work with him, but do we really know he would want to work with him long-term? If not, how would the Dolphins feel about that?
Like San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel, the same can go with other candidates. The 49ers are probably going to move on from their incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo and it’s possible McDaniel could be intrigued to bring him to the Dolphins to compete with Tagovailoa. That wouldn’t be a bad option per se because Garoppolo has won games as a starting quarterback, and he did help lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl just a few years ago, so why not? If that were an option, Garoppolo would have to take a pay cut from his $25 million dollar salary and the Dolphins would have to give up something in a trade unless the 49ers release him. He would be an upgrade over Brissett. The thing is I don’t know how McDaniels feels about Tagovailoa.
Omar Kelly, of the Sun-Sentinel, wrote a column of how the Dolphins have been down this road before where people, specifically players, were divided on the quarterback. One example he gave, was in 2014 late in the year players came to then-head coach Joe Philbin asking for quarterback Ryan Tannehill be benched for Matt Moore because of him being more aggressive as a passer. Philbin stayed with Tannehill and the team faded the last month of the season. Those players wanting a change were his receivers and most of them were no longer on the team the following year. There are some players questioning Tagovailoa because he can’t make all the throws, as Kelly pointed out in his article.
The point is the Dolphins brass has to have an open mind when it comes to the new coach and how he feels about Tagovailoa. The Dolphins have to find the best coach they feel will lead this team moving forward, but they shouldn’t force Tagovailoa on them. If a coach thinks they should bring in a quarterback to compete with Tagovailoa, then the organization should be open to it and not turned off by it.