The Miami Dolphins took a major gamble by picking Tua Tagovailoa in the first round (fifth overall). They knew they were getting an injured quarterback, with great potential. Tua worked his way to fitness in the build-up to the 2020 season. But head coach Brian Flores declared veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to be the starter for Week 1.
He made his first NFL appearance in the fourth quarter of the 24-0 win over the New York Jets. But Flores promoted the 22-year old to the first-choice starter following the team’s bye week in Week 7.
Tagovailoa led the team to three consecutive wins which put the Dolphins in line for a playoff spot. But losses to the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs, left them needing a win in Week 17 to advance to the post-season. But Tua couldn’t pull that off as the Dolphins fell to a 56-26 loss at the hands of their AFC East opponents, the Buffalo Bills.
On Tuesday’s segment of ESPN Get Up, analyst Dan Graziano gave his analysis of Tua’s debut season in the NFL. He maintained that the Miami Dolphins will keep their faith in the former Alabama man in the upcoming season.
He said, “I think that Miami Dolphins believe Tua a guy that can be their franchise quarterback, will be their franchise quarterback, needs time to get there and they’re going to be willing to give him that time.”
Furthermore, co-hose Mel Kiper Jr. echoed the same sentiment later on during the show.
“I think the arm strength will show next year when he is now more time removed from that significant hip injury. Greenie, so I’m gonna agree with Dan. I think that third pick you go for DeVonta Smith, they need a playmaking receiver, big-time receiver,” Kiper said on the show.
Of course, a final week loss to bitter AFC East rivals will sting Tua a bit differently. But that’s what legends are made of. Coach Flores must have seen enough from his young quarterback over the last 17 weeks to return with confidence in the 2021 offseason. In 9 games, Tua has a 6-3 record, throwing for 1,800+ yards with 11 passing TDs against 5 interceptions.
Tua rushed for 109 yards with 3 rushing TDs as well in 10 appearances. The Ewa Beach-born athlete has certainly shown he has the aptitude to play in the big league. But can Flores help the youngster harness his full potential? Watch this space for more.