Not many are sold on Tua Tagovailoa as a franchise quarterback. At least not yet. But the only people who matter do believe in Tagovailoa and are placing their future in his hands.
Tagovailoa will get the chance to prove the Dolphins right.
“A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I’m excited about the future with him,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores told Cameron Wolfe of ESPN on Thursday. “He’s a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important like it is for all rookies.”
The Dolphins have the third overall choice, a pick they obtained from the Texans, prompting speculation about whether they might draft a quarterback in the first round for a second consecutive year. The Cardinals did that by drafting Josh Rosen 10th overall in 2018 and Kyler Murray first overall in 2019.
Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier attempted to quell any potential quarterback controversy, saying, “Tua, we’re very happy with. He’s our starting quarterback.”
Flores downplayed a story from earlier this week that some of Tagovailoa’s teammates have doubts about the rookie quarterback.
“Criticism comes with the territory in the NFL across the board,” Flores told Wolfe. “Our team did a good job ignoring that stuff. Anyone who saw the Dolphins this year saw we were a tight-knit group and I think that’s still the case. The idea that there is any kind of fracture is overblown. I thought there was a lot of support throughout the locker room.
“My message to the team has been to ignore the noise and the people inside the building are going to tell the truth to you. Without all the information, how do you make any determination about what’s going on?”
Tagovailoa went 6-3 as the team’s starter, completing 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,814 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
“We learned that he’s healthy. He still has a lot of his mobility. He’s accurate,” Flores said. “In the Arizona game, he brings us back in the fourth quarter. He brought us back in the Kansas City game. He also didn’t play as well in other games. He had some bright spots and not so bright spots. That’s the life of a rookie. If he continues to learn, study, stay healthy, get stronger, work on his footwork and his eye progression and pick up where he left off then I think we’re going to be happy with his improvement.”