Tua Tagovailoa's Dolphins 'reality' lies somewhere between where the media and fans project

People continue to be split on the Dolphins QB.
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

When you start talking about Tua Tagovailoa, you have to speak in measured words. You could be classified as a homer or the exact opposite. Living somewhere in between gets you chastised by both sides of the quarterback's debate.

Many in the mainstream media, from ESPN personalities to local beat writers, will tell you that Tua is nothing special for the Miami Dolphins. They will say he isn't worth the $55 million per season contract that he will likely sign. They have fans to back those opinions.

On the other side of that fence, there are Tagovailoa fans that will point out the Dolphins quarterback is no different than guys like Justin Herbert or Josh Allen. They will defend him with their core. To them, the problems with Tagovailoa are more about the problems with the offensive line or inability of the defense to keep leads.

For the rest of us, the "Tua reality" lies somewhere along that fence line. Tagovailoa is a good quarterback, but he isn't great. He has the potential to be great, but until he reaches that potential and can put together two consecutive seasons like he had last year, he isn't great. On the other hand, Tua has done more with less than Justin Herbert. He has done as much statistically as Jordan Love and that too will be argued.

Dolphins remain quite split on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa

The truth is, the only ones whose opinions matter, are the people in charge of his salary, but it should be pointed out that if the Dolphins invest heavily in Tagovailoa and it doesn't work out, it will cost Mike McDaniel his job. It should cost Chris Grier his. Miami is going to hang their next four years on Tagovailoa for better or worse. Grier needs to make sure that this contract is favorable to the Dolphins because he will put the future of the franchise at risk.

That being said, Tagovailoa has shown that he can lead an NFL team. He has become better from season to season, and last year, Dolphins fans got to see what he can do with a full 17 games. Yes, the Dolphins got bounced in the first round of the playoffs. They lost to the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. They lost in one of the coldest games in NFL history. No one is saying the Bills are bad, or Josh Allen is bad, for losing once again to the Chiefs in the postseason.

Miami fans can be a bit delusional. All fans of any sports team can be. The Dolphins have a tough schedule in 2024 and while some in the media believe the Dolphins will regress in 2024, the fans still believe they will run the table, make the playoffs, and maybe challenge for the Super Bowl. Miami fans are as wrong as those in the media saying they will fold.

The truth is much simpler. If Tagovailoa progresses again this year, the Dolphins' offense will be better than it was in 2023. If McDaniel can learn from his play-calling mistakes from last year, the Dolphins will be better, and if the defensive starters can stay healthy, the Dolphins will be better. It takes an entire team, both sides of the ball, and coaching, to win a football game.

For now, the media is wrong. They don't know what the Dolphins will do. There hasn't been much roster turnover from last year and they have improved in several areas. It's lazy journalism to point to a late season road schedule, but at the same time, it's rose-colored glasses being worn by Dolphins fans who believe Miami has done enough to win the AFC East easily and advance to the AFC Championship Game.