The Miami Dolphins can win without Tua Tagovailoa but it would take a big commitment from Mike McDaniel

Tua Tagovailoa is the key to the Miami Dolphins success in 2023 and if he goes down, the season may just go with it, unless McDaniel proves he is a great coach.

Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) signals at
Dec 25, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) signals at / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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The keys to the 2023 Miami Dolphins season is securely in Tua Tagovailoa's hands. He will command the offense. He will be the field general. He will be the hero...or the donkey and if he goes down this year, it will almost assuredly be the latter.

Tua has to stay on the field. If he does and performs like he did when healthy in 2022, the Dolphins will challenge the Bills for the AFC East or the Jets for a Wild Card spot. The Dolphins could go to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of a Super Bowl in their heads.

The Miami Dolphins are stacked. This is by far the best total roster this team has had since Don Shula walked the sidelines and Miami was relative year in and year out and you could argue that given Shula's defenses under Tom Olivadotti, this team is still better.

But it all crashes down if Tua goes down. Can Miami win with Mike White? What about Skylar Thompson? They might win a game or two but we know very well the chances of a post-season birth will all but shrivel up...unless...

That "unless" sits in the mind of Mike McDaniel and it will make him a superstar NFL head coach or expose him as just another in a long list of good but not great coaches. To be completely honest, if Mike McDaniel can only win with Tua at the QB spot, then the Dolphins are not as good as they should be and he isn't as good of a coach.

McDaniel gets a pass for last season. It was his first as a HC on any level and losing his starting QB, his backup QB, and forced to rely on a 7th round rookie draft pick threw more at him than most veteran coaches could handle. He handled it well enough but this year, he has to do better.

May 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel watches warm ups prior to
May 6, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel watches warm ups prior to / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

McDaniel has to rely on running the ball and if Tua goes down, the Dolphins run game may very well be the deciding factor in whether or not the Dolphins can make a legit run into the postseason.

Running the ball isn't as important with Tua at the helm. A run game takes pressure off the offense and forces the defense to play more honest in their approach. They can't sit back and take away the pass. But if Tua isn't playing, a solid run game takes pressure off Mike White and/or Skylar Thompson and that is far more important with them, than Tua.

The pressure of the game is hard enough but for two QBs who don't have a vast resume of experience, it's important to have something to lean on and take the pressure off of them. That is a good run game.

McDaniel, for his part, needs to commit to running the ball when it is working and he needs to take the pressure off White and Thompson if need be. He can't rely on either one of them to run the same offense that McDaniel will run with Tua.

While McDaniel should establish the run with Tua at QB, it is more important for the success of the should Tua be out for any length of time. That is going to be on McDaniel.