How should the Miami Dolphins change their game plan to fit Tua Tagovailoa’s skills?
After a week off thanks to an earlier than expected bye week, Tua will make his first start on November 1st against the visiting Los Angeles Rams. To be clear, Ryan Fitzpatrick was not benched. The team fully understands how well he was playing this season. However, after making Tagovailoa the fifth overall pick back in April, it was simply time for him to play. Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa have many similarities in their games, but what should offensive coordinator Chan Gailey change up to play into his young signal caller’s strengths?
More Jakeem Grant
Dating back to his days at Alabama, Tua likes to operate on a horizontal plane. He has the innate ability to hit a receiver in stride and create yards after catch opportunities for them, especially going down the middle on slants and crossers. If you give him a player with some speed, he will excel. Fitzpatrick is much different. He loves to allow his big, strong, athletic targets go up and make plays in the air. Devante Parker, Preston Williams, and Mike Geiscki should all still be a big part of the offense. However, making Tagovailoa comfortable should be priority number one, and there is nothing that would help him more than making the offense more similar to his Alabama offense. Look at that offense now that he is gone. They are just going bombs away down the field because their new quarterback, Mac Jones, is less accurate but has a much bigger arm. Jakeem Grant can fill the same role that Henry Ruggs filled for Tua in many different packages.
Third and manageable
There will be one thing about this offense that will look absolutely different after a quarterback change: Escapability. Tua can move around and he has a quick mental clock, but he has not been in the NFL for 16 years like Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins offensive line has taken massive steps forward and looks promising for the future. However, there is still work to be done and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran savviness has covered up a multitude of sins. The line still has problems holding blocks for an extended period of time, and they will be facing off against Aaron Donald, an absolute game wrecker on the interior defensive line. Keeping the third downs manageable so he doesn’t have to hold the ball is key. Everything is going to move very fast for him at first and taking sacks is going to be a drive killer.