Tua Tagovailoa continues to create his own destiny and he continues to improve each week but he has yet to silence his doubters and that’s too bad.
There is no question that I was never a big fan of Tua Tagovailoa coming out of college even before he was injured at Alabama. I liked Tua the man but when it came to being an NFL quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, I preferred the more prototypical Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow.
Miami drafted Tua instead of Herbert and I didn’t throw stuff at my television. I knew it was a probability. I was all in on supporting him but I was still on the fence about him being an NFL quarterback. Today, I realized that I was wrong.
Tua has shown signs of being able to be an NFL quarterback, even a starting one, but he also showed signs that he could just as easily be an average ordinary signal caller who would always be average, always be, “not Justin Herbert”.
Tua came in against the Ravens and completed 8 of 13 passes leading the team to an improbable win against the AFC leaders at the time. He completed 61% of his passes. Against the Jets he complete 81% and this week against the Panthers, he was over 80% as well. In fact, today, against the league leading Panther defense, he threw only four incomplete passes.
Tua, today, grew up. He took over the leadership role on this team. He got angry on the field at Austin Jackson after a false start and you could see it visually on the telecast. He was on the sideline getting his players ready to get back on the field.
There is a long way to go for Tua but watching him today get crushed by the front line of the Panther defense I realized just how awful the offensive line is. It was then that I sat back and watched the plays develop. I didn’t watch the ball as much as I watched the way the pocket collapsed and Tua stepped away from pressure the best he could. How he made quick reads of the defense to avoid that pressure.
I realized that Tua may not need too much offensively. He doesn’t need elite WRs and again played without DeVante Parker and Will Fuller and he made plays. He needs and offensive line and it doesn’t have to be elite. Tua can make plays with an average Oline and let’s be real, this is not an average Oline. It is bottom level.
Today I finally saw what the Alabama watchers were seeing. He moves around the pocket well. He steps up when he can to avoid pressure. He can make the reads and quick throws. Last week we saw that he could sling it deep. My opinions didn’t change because of one game it has been changing over the last three weeks but today, I jumped off the fence. I saw a quarterback who is ready to be the leader the team needs.
I’m not on the fence anymore about Tua Tagovailoa. I see a long successful future in Miami with him provided Chris Grier doesn’t make the mistake of casting him off in favor of dumping draft picks. Tagovailoa has a quality that few other QBs have. He doesn’t need time to develop, he needs an extra second or two and I can’t imagine how good he can be if that line gets fixed. all along.
My opinion is just that, an opinion. It’s my “eyeball test”. I don’t expect the doubters, naysayers, and haters to feel differently than they did entering today’s game. I would suspect that many of the fans that were straddling the fence along with have jumped off though.
I may be wrong and if so, then so what, I’m wrong. I don’t think I will be, in fact, I think I have been wrong about him from the start.