Former Dolphins Executive Mike Tannenbaum Thinks Tua Tagovailoa Could Be Replaced by Halloween

It would appear as if all Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has to do is plug and play, but what if he can’t plug and play? This offseason, the Dolphins have given him plenty of weapons, including superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Could this bevy of offensive weapons actually lead to a pressure-packed situation for the soon-to-be third-year quarterback, though?

Miami’s former vice president of football operations, Mike Tannenbaum, thinks that could be the case, and he’s not sure if Tua has much wiggle room.

Mike Tannenbaum thinks Tua Tagovailoa could be replaced by Halloween

Mike Tannenbaum, Miami Dolphins
Executive Vice President of Football Operations Mike Tannenbaum talks to the media just prior to introducing Dan Campbell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins on October 5, 2015 | Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Tannenbaum wasn’t outright saying that Tagovailoa can’t do the job. Moreso, he believes that the addition of Teddy Bridgewater to the roster gives new head coach Mike McDaniel an easy out if Tua struggles early on in the season.

After all, the Dolphins didn’t trade for Hill, sign Cedrick Wilson, and add them to a wide receiver depth chart already featuring Jaylen Waddle and De’Vante Parker just to suffer through another playoff-less season.

This was Miami moving its chips a bit closer to the center of the table and trying to make an actual run, especially with the New England Patriots no longer a lock to be dominant in the AFC East.

So yeah, it makes sense that Tannenbaum, who knows the organization and owner Stephen Ross very well, thinks Tagovailoa will be on a short leash.

“It’s reasonable to think by Halloween, [you could see] Teddy Bridgewater taking over for Tua if there are any bumps in the road,” he said, via The Miami Herald.

Tua is entering a pressure-packed season in 2022

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins walks off after their game against the Los Angeles Rams | Mark Brown/Getty Images

If Tua’s going to be a franchise quarterback, the Dolphins are providing him with his best shot.

If the Green Bay Packers have the worst current wide receiver depth chart in the NFL after trading Davante Adams, the Dolphins have arguably one of the best after trading for Hill.

Miami drafted Jaylen Waddle with pick No. 6 overall in last year’s draft and he rewarded them with 104 catches for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. If he takes a step forward in his sophomore campaign, he’ll be one of the best wideouts in football.

We already know Hill occupies that space in the pantheon of the NFL’s best wide receivers, and it will be tough to find better depth receivers than Parker and Wilson. Even as the Dallas Cowboys’ fourth receiver last season, Wilson found a way to put up 602 yards and six touchdowns.

It’s easy to imagine what all of these receivers can do for each other on the field because it’s going to be hard to double-team anyone on Miami’s depth chart.

With that said, it’s going to be hard for even Hill to show off in 2022 if Tua can’t get him the football or properly execute the offense, and that’s still an open question in Miami.

Tagovailoa played in just 13 games due to injury in 2021, and though he did throw for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns, he also threw 10 interceptions.

Outside of his average statistical output, the most telling thing about Tua’s season was that Miami seemingly spent half of it trying to get Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans.

The Dolphins clearly didn’t believe in him. 

Perhaps they will now that he has the receiving corps that he does, but the pressure’s going to be on.

“Outside of Davis Mills and Mitch Trubisky, I’m not sure what other quarterback Tua would be in front of in the AFC,” Tannenbaum said. “Tua has missed 10 games. His play has been average at best. He has trouble seeing the middle of the field and can’t get the ball downfield consistently.

“With [Jaylen] Waddle and Hill, he has no excuses. Of all the quarterbacks in the NFL, he has more pressure on him [than anyone] and Bridgewater is a very capable quarterback. It’s not unreasonable to think he could be playing sometime by midseason,… sooner than later if Tua hits any bump in the road given everything he has to work with.”

Will Tagovailoa be able to get his big-play wide receivers the ball?

Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Cincinnati Bengals at Hard Rock Stadium | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Tannenbaum mentioned that his major concern with Tua was his yards per pass attempt from last season, which checked in as the 23rd worst league-wide. He was also 29th in yards thrown per game with just 204.1

For comparison’s sake, Patrick Mahomes was fifth-best in the NFL, throwing for 284.6 yards per game, and that’s who Hill is used to at quarterback.

“He struggles to get the ball down the field consistently,” Tannenbaum said of Tua.

“Coach [Mike] McDaniel will probably try to move the pocket, cut the field in half, have a lot of plays for Waddle and Hill that are catch and runs that play to Tua’s strength and try to maximize Tua’s ability that way,” he continued. 

“There are no more excuses. They’re giving him everything a quarterback could want and then some.”

Teddy Bridgewater is no Dan Marino, but if Tua can’t get his elite wide receiver the ball and consistently make big plays in 2022, perhaps the likes of Hill, Waddle, Parker, and Wilson can help Bridgewater turn back the hands of time to when explosive offenses were commonplace in southern Florida. 

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference. Contract information via Spotrac

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