Brian Flores downplays Tua Tagovailoa’s recent admission that he didn’t know the playbook in 2020

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Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa recently made a candid admission about failure to fully know the team’s playbook in 2020. On Friday, his head coach was asked about it for the first time.

He’s comparing last year to where he is right now,” Brian Flores told reporters, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “I get it.”

Regardless of where Tua is now, he wasn’t where he needed to be in 2020. Although it’s refreshing to hear someone own it and explain it, the fact remains that he didn’t know the offense — and arguably should have. As Simms and I discussed earlier this week on PFT Live, certain other quarterbacks would have gotten destroyed by fans and media for admitting to not knowing the offense well enough, even as rookies.

The only good news for the Dolphins and Tua is that the lack of knowledge of the offense helps outsiders better understand the use of Ryan Fitzpatrick as a “relief pitcher” on multiple occasions last season. This year, Tua will know the offense better — and thus won’t need to be removed for a quarterback who does.

Regardless, the situation underscores the fact that there’s a gap between Tua and the other two quarterbacks selected in the first six picks of the 2020 draft. Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert played incredibly well. That’s the standard Tua will be chasing in 2021.

64 responses to “Brian Flores downplays Tua Tagovailoa’s recent admission that he didn’t know the playbook in 2020

  1. On the one hand everybody says pro offenses are incredibly complicated and take years to master (with some college QBs NEVER being able to do so) but on the other hand people flip out when a guy admits he didn’t have the offense 100% down his rookie year.

  2. Imagine a young actor admitting he didn’t know the script. You think Spielberg is gonna be eager to keep him around for the next film? You can bet Flores will be leaving one finger on the eject button in case this kid doesn’t look sharp this year.

  3. Why didn’t Tua know the playbook last year? Was it too complicated, or did he just not bother to learn the offense. Hopefully, the coaches pay more attention to Tua’s study habits this year.

  4. You have ONE job! This is pretty sad. I can see not being completely comfortable in the offense, or not having enough experience to read the defense and execute quickly enough as you gain experience with all the plays. But not even KNOWING them? There’s no excuse for that.

  5. I’m very sick of reading about this tempest in a teapot. Give the kid a chance to make it through a camp and learn a new playbook.

    I really hope that all of you naysayers eat massive amounts of crow this year.

  6. So imagine starting a job exactly one year ago today, how much further would your confidence level be one year later? See how that works folks, give the kid a break.

  7. That had better explain it because he didn’t look like he belonged most of the time he played last year.

  8. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing the playbook as a rookie. He’s transitioning and learning on so many levels and not everyone is able to do that rapidly. If you’ve ever seen the size of an actual NFL playbook, you’d understand. Now if he doesn’t know it this year, then that’s a different story.

  9. Well it was kind of a cluster of a year with the covid thing so the kid didnt have the normal year most did. Cut him some slack – dude got thrown into the gauntlet.

  10. So you benched a guy who did his job for a rookie that can’t learn a playbook. Remember when Bobby Herbert did that in Buffalo and admitted after a game he never bothered opening his playbook and was cut the next day. Tua is never going to be any good, but you supporters keep on supporting blindly.

  11. I like Darnold more than Tua. He is missing something a QB should have but I’m not quite sure what “it” is.

    Also grateful the fish didn’t take Herbert. What were they thinking?

    Tua will be back on the beach within three years imo. The hip is worrisome as is the work ethic. And frankly, he just isn’t that good.

  12. As far as those saying it’s sad he didn’t know it. Hello. Pandemic year. It’s hard for these guys to grasp it even when they have full hands on camps, let alone what happened last year. I wouldn’t knock him too hard. Herbert looked great, but Anthony Lynn and his staff simplified a lot for him too, something I didn’t see the Dolphins doing a lot of last year. They basically just told him to run the offense just like Fitzpatrick.

  13. Thank God the Fins passed on Brees. Overall the Dolphins organization isn’t very good at assembling a championship roster. This has been proven over the last twenty years. Thank you Fins & may you never get it right .

  14. If Tua had Ryan’s heart & football smarts )and better hips) – Championship

    Tua in reality – More fin fan sadness..

  15. Knowing the playbook compared to implementing the playbook on game days takes time. Still think he’s not going to pan out but this is a non issue

  16. mikefloreo says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:16 am
    There’s nothing wrong with not knowing the playbook as a rookie. He’s transitioning and learning on so many levels and not everyone is able to do that rapidly. If you’ve ever seen the size of an actual NFL playbook, you’d understand. Now if he doesn’t know it this year, then that’s a different story.

    ==========

    Seemed like Herbert & Burrow knew their playbooks pretty well.

  17. Every rookie QB with that much invested in him should have a personal tutor assigned to him with the goal of making sure he understands the playbook and the terminology.

  18. Note to Fins Fans – If other Teams knowledgeable fans embrace your QB in the division as a positive, well, you’ve got a problem & his name will be “througha”.

  19. Dan Marino said he double read a defense and basically winged it on game day as a rookie and he turned out okay I would say. I mean nobody has the elite arm and release Marino had, but I’m just saying. It’s not how you start, it’s what you become.

  20. Backup QB Ty Detmer had to explain what a nickel defense was to a young Brett Favre when he showed up in Green Bay. This is no big deal. Playbooks are complex. I’m not surprised Tua didn’t know the whole thing.

  21. This makes the job that Fitzpatrick did last year look all the more impressive. Can you imagine how many offensive playbooks he has had to learn over his career? Just amazing.

  22. vbbills says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:22 am
    I like Darnold more than Tua. He is missing something a QB should have but I’m not quite sure what “it” is.

    Also grateful the fish didn’t take Herbert. What were they thinking?

    Tua will be back on the beach within three years imo. The hip is worrisome as is the work ethic. And frankly, he just isn’t that good.
    ===================================================================

    Imagine where your bills would be if they gave up on Allen after his first two years of stinking it up, huh? Tua deserves just as much time as any other QB first starting out. Drew Brees was ordinary to start, Peyton Manning was ordinary to start, Just to name a few. What everyone seems to forget is it’s not stats that count, it’s wins and Tua had more wins then Herbert and Burrow combined.

  23. If the Dolphins picked the right QB in Herbert they may have ended their season at the AFC Championship game. Instead, the QB they did pick ahead of Herbert had to be benched for Fitzpatrick to come in and prevent several losses…. to miss the playoffs.

  24. 49ersfury says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:48 am
    Dan Marino said he double read a defense and basically winged it on game day as a rookie and he turned out okay I would say. I mean nobody has the elite arm and release Marino had, but I’m just saying. It’s not how you start, it’s what you become.

    ——-

    Remind me….how many SBs did Dan win again?

  25. I doubt any rookie QB fully knows all the playbook and if the coaches expected this, then they don’t have a clue as to how to develop a rookie QB.

  26. Michael Vick didn’t know his playbook either. But he was athletic and talented enough to get away with that.

    Apparently, Tua isn’t.

  27. Tua is fortunate he not playing up in New England. Coach B would have none of that.

  28. vbbills says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:08 am
    I’m so happy Tua is in the AFC East.

    ——————————

    LOL. You have no idea whats coming do you?

    Miami is going to own this division for a decade.

  29. Can’t wait for the season, Tua as rookie better than Allen as rookie, better in this year too. Anything happens to Diggs and Allen turns into RG3.

  30. 49ersfury says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:48 am
    Dan Marino said he double read a defense and basically winged it on game day as a rookie and he turned out okay I would say. I mean nobody has the elite arm and release Marino had, but I’m just saying. It’s not how you start, it’s what you become.

    14 10 Rate This

    —————————

    Umm, Marino is arguably the greatest pure passer who ever lived and I am a Pats fan.

    Comparing Tua to Marino is mortifying.

  31. It was easy at Bama where he was surrounded by NFL talent, especially two high first round receivers. Just throw to the open guy

  32. It is not alright to not know the playbook! That is this generations mantra of getting things handed to them and all it does is create laziness. Give him a participation trophy!

  33. 49ersfury says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:48 am
    Dan Marino said he double read a defense and basically winged it on game day as a rookie and he turned out okay I would say. I mean nobody has the elite arm and release Marino had, but I’m just saying. It’s not how you start, it’s what you become.

    True, but on his best day Tua isn’t going to be compared to Marino on his worst. And the league is easier than it was in Marino’s day. Rules changes and all.

  34. “I can see not being completely comfortable in the offense, or not having enough experience to read the defense and execute quickly enough as you gain experience with all the plays. But not even KNOWING them? There’s no excuse for that.”

    From what I understand NFL playbooks have 900-1200 offensive plays in them of which 600 or so are the core used for the bulk of the plays called over a season.

    When you consider that many plays, plus all the variant route trees etc for the receivers and backs, its not as easy as you make it out to be.

  35. “Every rookie QB with that much invested in him should have a personal tutor assigned to him with the goal of making sure he understands the playbook and the terminology.”

    That tutor is called the “quarterbacks coach”

  36. I remember both John Elway and Troy Aikman being so confused as rookies that they tried to take a snap from their offensive guards.

    Rookies always have a lot to learn. No big deal.

  37. “LOL. You have no idea whats coming do you?”

    A 56-26 loss with a potential playoff spot on the line is the Fins baseline so nowhere go but up!

  38. godkingskovald says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:25 pm
    If the Dolphins picked the right QB in Herbert they may have ended their season at the AFC Championship game. Instead, the QB they did pick ahead of Herbert had to be benched for Fitzpatrick to come in and prevent several losses…. to miss the playoffs.

    1 2 Rate This
    ======================================================================

    Prevent several losses?? He went 1-1 in the two games he stepped in and the one game he DID win was on a hail mary pass with his head twisted around that he had no business completing.

  39. It’s no big deal.

    Even Tom Brady admitted that he didn’t have a good grasp on the playbook last year…for most of the year.

  40. godkingskovald says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:21 pm
    Dolphins could have drafted Herbert…

    =======================================================================

    Yeah Herbert had great stats last year. Tell me again how many games he won with a better team around him than Tua had??

  41. People comparing Tua’s rookie year to Allen’s do not know football. Miami was projected to win the AFC East before the year began by many analysts.

    Allen’s rookie year Beane ate $50 million in dead cap, he had no receivers, no tight end and no o-line what so ever.

  42. nhpats2011 says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Remind me….how many SBs did Dan win again?

    ——————————————————–

    The same number as Dick Butkus, Deacon Jones, Barry Sanders, ans Gale Sayers.

  43. vbbills says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:08 am
    I’m so happy Tua is in the AFC East.
    ================================================================

    Yeah, we said the same thing about Allen his first two years. We’re very sorry Darnold moved on. LOL

  44. I may know what it is about Tua. Every time I watched him there was something off, even in college, when he was surrounded by NFL talent. The man is a natural righty that was forced by pops to be leftie. I’d take him off my board for that reason alone.

  45. Sounds like BS from Flores. Presumably Tua has a new playbook this year since they have two new offensive coordinators. So for Flores to be correct it would mean that they’re still using last years playbook and Tua Finally learned it. Which begs the question, why would they be using a playbook?

  46. Tua can find solace in the fact that Brett Favre, several years into his career as a starter asked Ty Detmer what was a “nickle defense”…

  47. Bengals fans want to thank the Dolphins for beating us in 2019 when we locked up the #1 pick Joe Burrow. Sincerely, thank you Dolphins.

  48. bostonblows says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:39 pm
    vbbills says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:08 am
    I’m so happy Tua is in the AFC East.

    ——————————

    LOL. You have no idea whats coming do you?

    Miami is going to own this division for a decade.

    12 12 Rate This

    ——————

    lol!!!!

    I am literally in tears!

  49. jimmysee says:
    June 4, 2021 at 12:37 pm
    Tua is fortunate he not playing up in New England. Coach B would have none of that.

    9 7 Rate This
    ============================================================
    Yeah, instead he’d rather start an over the hill washed up QB who can’t even hit a WR 5 yards down field.

  50. It’s easy to learn a playbook, so I’m sure Tua was misunderstood. He’s probably talking about being able to make the necessary adjustments on the fly, once the opposing defenses start throwing different looks at you. That usually comes with time and experience, and a lot of work. A lot. At Alabama he had 6-7 seconds to stand in the pocket with protection from future NFL linemen, and he had four first round WR’s. If none of them could get open in six seconds, which was unusual, he had a future pro bowl RB to dump off to. You really don’t get a lot of NFL experience playing QB at Alabama. That doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in the pro’s, but it’s a big change.

  51. Fact of the matter is most of what he was trying to say is common among first year qbs. Only difference is they don’t admit it to the media.
    More concerned about Tua’s mouth at this point over his work ethic or football IQ

  52. Um the only mistake Tua made was admitting it! Anyone that thinks the other rookies had all their plays memorized isn’t being honest. And even if they do know them it doesn’t help unless you’re ready to apply it against all the things different defenses do.
    Tua did beat the Chargers last year with what he knew,while Herbert was on the field with what he knew.

  53. realfootballfan says:
    June 4, 2021 at 11:32 am
    As far as those saying it’s sad he didn’t know it. Hello. Pandemic year. It’s hard for these guys to grasp it even when they have full hands on camps, let alone what happened last year. I wouldn’t knock him too hard.
    ______________________________________

    WHOA! Wait a minute, if there were no training camps and no pre-season games that gave Tua an advantage over other QBs in previous years, he had all the time in the world to study & learn the playbook and with all that extra time he still couldn’t do it, he obviously didn’t spend all of that time(or even much of it) learning the playbook did he?

    Now looking at it a different way it look’s pretty bad on Tua doesn’t it?

    This makes me ask how committed Tua really is? I’m not seeing anything in Tua that impresses me but maybe he can change that in year 2.

  54. Feel bad for Tua. Seems like a good guy but hes not really that good. Honestly hes lucky he didnt get more flack over how he actually played last year. Maybe cause nobody really hates the Dolphins and again Tua seems like a good kid you hope succeeds, but he just doesnt look the part from what I saw of him. Other than Tua the Dolphins have done just about everything else right.

  55. First, no one was projecting Herbert to do what he did last year – and we’ll see how he holds up in his second year when teams have him on film. So using hindsight to say the Dolphins should’ve taken Herbert is meaningless. As soon as the Dolphins got the first pick, Tua was projected to be their guy. People write off QBs way too easily.

    And, losing training camp and pre-season last year was IN NO WAY any kind of “advantage” for Tua. That’s ludicrous. Seeing something “on paper” vs. practicing it in real life with a full team is vastly different. That should be obvious. It’s not just learning it, it’s being able to act without thinking too much.

    When Favre was with the Jets he told someone that he knew the plays but he “didn’t see them in his mind yet”. That comes from on-field repetition.

    People bagging on Tua have zero knowledge or understanding of how difficult it is to play QB at the NFL level, let alone doing it well. Last year was not a normal year, and Tua lost a ton of developmental time. So lay off him. He may be good, he may not, but none of us knows anything about him or his preparation to be assuming he didn’t do what he was supposed to do.

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