Whatever the label, Dolphins must evaluate Tua Tagovailoa

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Much has been made recently of the notion that the Dolphins are giving rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa an “audition” over the balance of the season. Coach Brian Flores has bristled at the characterization, but it would hardly be the first time that a football coach said what he had to say, when he had to say it.

Flores can’t and won’t say that Tua’s performance over the rest of the season will be a factor in decisions made about the position in the offseason. Frankly, Flores doesn’t need to. The decision to bench Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tua says it all.

There’s a chance Flores made the decision based solely on the belief that the team has a better chance of winning games with Tua than Fitzpatrick. There’s also a chance the organization feels compelled to see what it has in Tua because it will have two first-round picks in 2021, including the first-round pick currently held by the 1-6 Texans.

Given the value of a true, short-list franchise quarterback, the Dolphins must figure out whether Tua can be one of those players or whether the long-term interests of the team would be better served by using the Houston pick on Trevor Lawrence or Justin Fields, or by packaging both selections for a trade up to get one of them.

In today’s NFL, it’s not enough to have a quarterback who is “good enough.” Every team wants a quarterback who is great.

That’s why there are three types of teams in the NFL. Those that have a short-list franchise quarterback, those that are desperately searching for one, and those that have a quarterback who hasn’t yet done enough to show whether he’ll become a franchise quarterback, or not.

The Dolphins, like many teams, sit in the third category. They need to know whether Tua can push them behind Door No. 1 before deciding whether the take a shot at Lawrence or Fields, if the Dolphins conclude that one of them can be a true franchise quarterback.

This weekend, the Dolphins play a team that did just that. In 2018, the Cardinals traded up to No. 10 to get Josh Rosen. Then came the opportunity to get Kyler Murray. And then Rosen was dumped onto the Dolphins for a second-round pick. (And then a year later the Dolphins dumped Rosen for nothing.)

Although the Dolphins may not be able to answer the question after one season for Tua, the Dolphins need to have all available information before deciding whether to make a play for Lawrence or Fields. That hinges on playing Tua and deciding whether he’s on track to be a 15-to-20-year answer at the position, one that makes the Dolphins a consistent contender, and an eventual champion.

6 responses to “Whatever the label, Dolphins must evaluate Tua Tagovailoa

  1. I think the Dolphins will be great…as long as teams hand them 21 points every game…otherwise, eh…not so much…

  2. The other team handed them 21 points???? I watched the game, and that 78 yard scoop and score was due to a savage hit on the QB, I don’t think it was handed to them. That 88 yard punt return wasn’t handed to them, I think they worked hard on that, seeing as thought its the only punt return for a TD this season. I also don’t believe Van Noy 50 yard fumble return to the 1yard line was a hand me down neither. There’s a offense, defense, and special teams in football, claiming that points were handed to them do a dis-service to the other players on the team besides the ones that play offense. In other words, get a clue.

  3. Well scouting, choosing then evaluating a QB is not easy for the Dolphins. Miami anointed Ryan Tannehill as their franchise QB only to realize he wasn’t one. Then they released Ryan and he became a franchise QB with the Tennessee Titans. I guess this shows protecting a QB is everything and having a good team helps a QB perform. Miami is good enough now to help Tua become a very good QB. Let’s see what happens!
    When is the last time we saw a rookie QB take an NFL team to the Super Bowl? Just answer that rhetorical question and then let Tua play and develop as a NFL QB.

  4. I don’t buy into the notion of an audition but they would be foolish if he doesn’t show anything while starting these games to not look at another QB in the next draft.

    I really don’t think they will have to do that but options are good.

  5. I love this argument over the split hairs of nuance. Like they are not going to evaluate Tua they are just gonna throw him out there, let him throw 20 int. And go “hey but He’s TUA” we don’t need another quarterback. This is a next man up league even if it is a guy we like. If he can’t do it they will find somebody who will. Or at least try. And try and try and draft Pat White.

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