NFL

Tua Tagovailoa Isn’t Ready for Deshaun Watson to Take His Job

The NFL offseason could bring a lot of change at the quarterback position. Many teams are at a crossroads with their quarterback, looking for a new start or seeing if they can ride with the quarterback they have. The Miami Dolphins have been in this conversation despite having Tua Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa spent his rookie season splitting time with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins have supported Tagovailoa as the starter next year, which should give the young signal-caller some confidence. Tagovailoa is more about action, as he is ready to prove that he is Miami’s quarterback of the future.

Tua Tagovailoa showed his potential during his rookie season

Being a top-10 draft pick, Tagovailoa had an impressive rookie season. He showed the Dolphins flashes of what he could become as their starter. Things weren’t always great, as he was benched in two games for Fitzpatrick. One of the better things Tagovailoa did during his rookie campaign is taking care of the football. He threw five interceptions and fumbled the ball once all season.

Tagovailoa completed 64.1% of his passes and threw 14 touchdowns. The Dolphins had a record of 6-3 with him as the starter. They were a win away from the playoffs but fell short in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills. Tagovailoa adds a new dimension to the offense with his mobility, allowing him to improvise when a play breaks down. 

The one gripe about Tagovailoa’s play is the lack of explosive plays. When in the game, the team plays conservatively. There were very few instances where Miami’s offense allowed Tagovailoa to unleash his arm. He averaged 6.5 yards per pass attempt last season, the fifth-lowest out of 35 qualified quarterbacks per ESPN. The lack of explosive plays came back t haunt the Dolphins late in the season.

It was a rollercoaster of a rookie season for Tua Tagovailoa, but there is much to build on his first year in the NFL. He is far from a finished product, which has many wondering why the Dolphins are in some speculative conversations for a new quarterback. Tagovailoa is ready to prove to everyone that he can be an exceptional starting quarterback in this league. 

Tua Tagovailoa wants to “prove” he is the franchise quarterback

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It wasn’t long after the regular season that the Dolphins committed to Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback. Both head coach Brian Flores and general manager Chris Grier both said he would be the starter coming into this season. However, the Dolphins have been on the list of potential destinations for Deshaun Watson. Watson requested a trade from the Texans in what will be the biggest story of the NFL offseason.

Watson is a special talent, so many teams would be interested in him. However, it is weird that they are so high on Watson’s list, given they’ve committed to Tagovailoa. The young quarterback hopes the team is all-in on him. He’s ready to solidify himself as the franchise’s answer under center. 

“In my mind and in my heart, I would hope so. With the way things went last year, you always have to prove yourself to do better, and I want to do better,” said Tagovailoa on Sirius Mad Dog Radio, per ESPN

Tagovailoa’s character is one of his strengths, and his desire to improve his game has to make Miami feel confident. He thought his rookie year wasn’t too great, despite the numerous positive reviews he received about his first season in the NFL. Tagovailoa would describe his rookie season as “below average. This past season wasn’t up to the expectation that I have myself,” per ESPN

Things will be different in year two 

The confidence is there, as Tagovailoa seems excited to prove that he is the future of the Dolphins franchise. He will be able to improve his game over the offseason drastically. Things are different going into Tagovailoa’s second season than his first. One of the most significant differences is that he will be going in the offseason healthy. He was rehabbing his hip injury last offseason.

With his hip healthy, that is something Tagovailoa won’t have to worry about. He sees that as the “big difference” in how he will attack this offseason. He can spend more time sharpening the mental elements of his game. There is the hope that he will be able to attend offseason programs and workouts when they start. He didn’t have that opportunity last year, and who knows what experience could’ve done for his game.

The Dolphins have two first-round picks in the upcoming draft. They can get Tagovailoa some excellent weapons to help him out. One of them could be Devonta Smith, who history with Tagovailoa. The two have talked about possibly teaming up in the NFL. That duo could also spell trouble for opposing defenses.

Although the Miami Dolphins are in trade rumors, Tua Tagovailoa still believes he can be the answer for this team. He’ll have an entire offseason to work and could have more weapons at his disposal. The biggest thing for him is focusing on what he can do to get better.

“I have to control what I can control — work hard and do well next season, said Tagolvailoa.