The Miami Dolphins may have lost on Sunday, but Tua Tagovailoa put together a good, solid performance.
Each week, Dolphins coaches and fans try to find something that will convince them that rookie Tua Tagovailoa is the Dolphins franchise quarterback. I can’t say for sure, yet, that he is, but after Sunday’s performance, I do think the young quarterback took another step in that direction.
Stat-wise, Tagovailoa finished with a strong performance, going 28 for 48 for 316 yards for 2 touchdowns through the air, 1 on the ground, and his first career interception (all stats courtesy of ESPN.com). Most importantly, Tagovailoa was able to lead the team to multiple touchdown drives in the third and fourth quarters that kept the game closer than anyone could have predicted.
Tagovailoa’s ability to lead the team down the field multiple times when the Dolphins needed to put points on the board is important in his development as a rookie and should excite coaches and fans. Leading those come-from-behind drives is important for any quarterback and even more so if you are looking to anoint a player the “franchise guy.”
That being said, there are still three things that need to be fixed in Tagovailoa’s game for me to give him that designation, and many were apparent in this game against Kansas City.
First, Tagovailoa still holds on to the ball too long. This is easily something that can be worked out of his game, especially when he gets more consistent play from his receiving corps, which has been decimated with injuries.
Second, he needs to do a better job at reading blitzes. Again, this can be fixed with more time in the film room and more reps. Some blitzes were obvious to anyone watching this game and Tagovailoa needs to be the guy to pick them up before the audience does.
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Finally, Tagovaila’s arm strength needs to get better. There were multiple times this week where balls were underthrown that, had they been placed better, could have turned into momentum-changing big plays. Unfortunately, this may not be something that can be fixed for him, since it’s dependent on a lot of physical attributes that are hard to change in one offseason, if at all. To be fair, it has only been a small sample size of games to judge this off of, but, in this game specifically, it was hard not to notice.
While these three things are hindering Tagovailoa and this offense now, they are not at all the only cause for the offense’s struggles. To reiterate, I think Tagovailoa had a good game on Sunday against the defending and most likely repeating champs. If he can fix some of these issues, Tagovailoa may just be “the guy” for this franchise for the next decade.
Week 14 QB Grade: B+