Last week at the Miami Dolphins OTAs came a slow-motion video of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa throwing a deep pass to his new wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The problem was the pass was underthrown, and what came next was everybody analyzing the throw and Tagovailoa’s lack of arm strength.
I get networks like ESPN, NFL Network, and Fox Sports 1 have shows and talk about sports. As well as talk shows like Get Up, UNDISPUTED and The Herd, who all have broadcasters and experts to talk and analyze things. However, May and June are the dog days of the NFL off-season, and people need something to talk about and overhype before training camp starts.
Tagovailoa did underthrow a pass to his new receiver, but who cares? It’s May, and teams are in mini-camp and doing things without live contact. In the Dolphins’ case, new head coach Mike McDaniel is installing his new zone-blocking scheme offense, and it’s going to take time for players to adapt. Plus, the video had no context to it. They were just showing a throw and not the whole field. Everyone nowadays has to overanalyze what they see and how players are doing. For me, it’s just players working out and trying to get better before the grind of training camp comes.
I get why there’s this obsession with how Tagovailoa performs. It’s his 3rd season, and everyone wants to see him step up, especially after the Dolphins committed a lot of resources on players around him to get him to perform better. Tagovailoa has a whole new wide receiver cast except Jaylen Waddle, so it’s going to take him some time to the timing down with them and what they do well, etc. The Dolphins gave up a lot to acquire Hill, and expectations are high because of that, as they should, Tagovailoa and Hill have never played together, and these workouts are to help build chemistry which takes time.
I remember in 1993; Dan Marino went into his first season without Mark Clayton and Mark Duper. The Dolphins had a new cast of receivers in Irving Fryar, Mark Ingram, and Keith Byars at fullback. It took time for those guys to get on the same page, and it went into the regular season that way. Then they got into a groove before Marino tore his Achilles tendon.
The Dolphins spent a lot of money and traded away draft to surround their quarterback with more talent to him succeed. I also get the fact that the two other quarterbacks drafted in the top 6 with Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, are off to better starts to their careers. Burrow just led his team to the Super Bowl. Herbert has put up big numbers and has shown flashes that he will be a big-time quarterback for years to come. In comparison, Tagovailoa has struggled at times, especially behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a bad cast of receivers.
I know Tagovailoa doesn’t have the biggest arm in the world, but arm strength is overrated. Remember when people thought Ryan Leaf would be better than Peyton Manning? Boy were those people wrong. Tagovailoa has other intangibles to overcome his lack of arm strength, like accuracy and quick release getting the ball out.
With the speed the Dolphins added to the wide receiver position, I think Tagovailoa will be a better quarterback. I know it’s a make-or-break year for him, and if he doesn’t step up, the Dolphins have two first-round picks in next year’s draft to find another quarterback in the draft or make an aggressive deal for a veteran. I’ll wait for the regular season to draw my conclusions on Tagovailoa and not a random day in May like everyone else.