Along with all the negativity surrounding Miami’s young QB there is a perception that this is a “Make or Break” season for Tua, a last chance for him to show what he’s got!
Is it? More relevant Should it be?
I’ll start with that second question first, should this be Tua’s last chance?
Let’s look at the reason behind this Tua pressure so many are putting on our young QB. It all goes back to the 2020 NFL draft and what I call the hindsight experts who now claim that Miami should have drafted Justin Herbert over Tua and if you remember Herbert was drafted directly after Tua by the Chargers.
Now the backstory is the fact that then Head Coach Brian Flores did not want to draft Tua, he also was not really pushing for Herbert but wanted Jordan Love drafted by the Packers who is now potentially on the trading block.
But the issue is how well Justin Herbert has looked compared to Tua and there is some legitimacy to this despite hindsight. Now back in 2020 SI’s big board had Tua ranked 5th and Herbert ranked 20th and that was the norm for many mock draft rankings back then so now you see what I mean about hindsite experts…..
Side Note: I did not include Joe Burrow because Miami (Thanks To Brian Flores) did not have a shot at getting Burrow. (See TDS RANT: Winning Meaningless Games?)
Now CLEARLY Herbert is much more physically gifted than Tua, nobody can argue that FACT! Herbert when drafted was 6′ 6″, 236 pounds compared to Tua who was 6′ 0″, 217 pounds.
Let’s look at the circumstances surrounding BOTH players coming out of college and how their two seasons have fared so far.
Herbert when drafted landed on a Chargers team that had Tyrod Taylor as the starting QB but the team doctor accidentally punctured his lung which thrusted Herbert into the starting job and he has not looked back. Herbert has been with the same offense all three seasons and had good players surrounding him every year. Herbert also has Joe Lombardi as his OC he is a premier QB’s trainer having worked with the Saints.
Joe Lombardi’s partial Bio:
Lombardi, a 15-year NFL coaching veteran, joins Los Angeles after spending the last five seasons as the quarterbacks coach in New Orleans. He has coached four players to be selected to 12 Pro Bowls. Lombardi has been one of the premier quarterbacks gurus in the NFL, coaching the position for 10 seasons over two stints with the Saints (2007-13 and 2016-20)
Herbert has fallen into a perfect situation with a little luck and has made a great start to his young NFL career he is a young franchise QB who has benefited from being in the same system and having continuity on his entire team.
Tua Tagovailoa was drafted on a team that proved dysfunctional on Offense in his two seasons in Miami. He’s had to compete with a much more proven veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who had 15 years in the NFL and would not have been beaten out by ANY Rookie QB in 2020! He hand picked his OC Chan Gailey and he knew his system like the back of his had. Had Miami drafted Herbert he would have been the 2nd string QB in waiting.
Back to the dysfunction Tua was drafted into…
We have since come to learn that Brian Flores was not a Tua fan and in fact he was the one spearheading how Tua was being undermined. Flores wanted Deshaun Watson as his QB and almost got his wish. Now some say Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was also high on getting Watson but he was the one to nix the deal because they failed to settle on the lawsuits against Watson before the trade deadline.
Flores was incompetent when dealing with the offensive side of the ball as Miami’s head coach. Let’s look at the facts…..
Jim Caldwell QB Coach and OC
Brian Flores hired an experienced man to help out on the offensive side of the ball and I was happy with that decision, Jim Caldwell was the perfect person IMO. Something strange happened a few months later as Caldwell mysteriously left the team the excuse then was he had some health issues and even though I found the timing odd I bought that excuse until Cadwell never came back and his name was being linked to other job openings. That was the first warning sign ignored about Brian Flores.
That season Brian Flores also brought along Chad O’Shea as his OC and even though the offense started off slow by seasons end they appeared to make progress, so much to the surprise of many Brian Flores fired O’Shea at seasons end. Brian also went through O-line coaches like disposable diapers!
Let’s review the poor decision by Flores to also have “Dual OC’s” last season and what a disaster that turned out to be?
I ask you, what if the shoe were on the other foot and Miami did take Herbert over Tua and the Chargers drafted Tua and let’s say the dysfunction on the offensive side of the ball did Herbert no favors as well but Tua was in a stable environment these last two seasons and he was considered a top young QB prospect.
Miami would have been ripped for drafting Herbert over Tua!
My point is it truly matters where a young player lands in the draft to how they prosper in the NFL and also another fact is that it takes some players more time to develop and if they do not have competent coaching to help in their development than what should be expected from a young QB.
No, this SHOULD NOT BE a Make or Break season for Tua he needs at least three years of continuity and a stable, healthy environment. What I want to see from Tua is positive development this year considering the talent that he has been surrounded with. I find it hard to believe Tua will not take that next leap up the ladder. A lot of pressure has been taken off Tua’s shoulders when Miami fired Flores.
Now with Mike McDaniel as the new HC, the Dolphins have done enough to help Tua take that next step and with the support he is getting from his head coach I do expect a much improved Tua.
Do you feel it’s a make or break year for Tua? Comment below!