Will Tua Tagovailoa return to his Alabama style of play?
Regardless of what has happened in free agency, offseason acquisitions and trades, or even the NFL draft that just passed us, it all means nothing to Miami Dolphins fans until they see the first glimpse of Tua Tagovailoa in-game action.
The thing that everyone needs to understand is which Tua will suit up on Sunday? Will Dolphin fans see the Bama Tua, that was on fire at the collegiate level which led him to be the 5th overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft. Or, should Miami Dolphins fans get ready for another season of, Fin Tua, which led to missed opportunities with a supporting cast built to succeed.
Look, Bama Tua was a highlight reel. But taking a closer look at those highlights, you have to notice that Tua was on a team that was built for success. His average time in pocked was 4.3 seconds. He had a 1st round talent offensive line and top 10 wide receiver talent every year that he played at Alabama.
Tua also did something that he hasn’t shown much of in the NFL which is letting it fly. It makes sense since your starting wide receivers were actually pro-ball ready. His play in the pocket and recognition were a little different. Watching the Bama tape, you can see that Tua was a one-read quarterback.
Tua would look to freeze the over-the-top safeties with a glare and then hit his primary target. Theoretically, it makes sense, the wide receivers created space easily and were able to escape coverage with their swift and agile moves. Tua’s best asset is his delivery and pinpoint accuracy, thereby delivering the football in the perfect position to make a play on the ball. Bama Tua also didn’t have a hip displacement surgery that made him lose that extra torque in his release to allow for those pinpoint downfield plays and he had a coach that trusted him.
Fast forward to today and Miami Dolphin Fans see Fin Tua. Trolling social media, you can help but notice the offseason work that Fin Tua is doing. Coaches and trainers are stating that after 3 years removed from his hip surgery they can finally see Bama Tua. Movement in Tua’s hip is allowing him to throw the ball with more velocity, which is exactly what Dolphin fans want to see and hear. Just try not to have flashbacks of the Titans game.
Mike McDaniel and Chris Grier have basically created a team for Fin Tua to look exactly like the one he had in Bama. Tua now has three legit wide receivers that can create separation. Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the two fastest wide receivers in the game, and will definitely be able to escape any press coverage. Add in the fact the Dolphins have added Cedric Wilson to take over the slot responsibilities, you have a Bama feel to this offense. Let’s also not forget the speed at running back with Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert that resemble the lighting/thunder attack Nick Saban is accustomed to creating.
With the table being set, it now begs the question – which Tua will the Dolphins see? Tua is out of excuses. His hip can’t be a factor, 3 years later. The talent on the offense and playmakers surrounding Tua is no longer an option. The average time to throw was 4.3 seconds in college, the Miami Dolphin added the best left tackle in the market and serviceable right guard, which should increase his time by a second at the least. I doubt Tua will get to 4 seconds, but there will be an improvement in pocket time. Tua has a coach that believes in him, built a team to his strengths, and a playbook that even Tua stated resembles that of Bama.
It’s time to ditch Fin Tua or whatever era we want to classify these past two seasons. New coach, new system, new teammates, new era! Tua is the main component for the Miami Dolphins’ success this upcoming season. The defense is playoff-caliber, and now the Dolphins have an offense, on paper, that looks legit. It all starts with how the primary lead will orchestrate it.