Dolphins make hard pivot back to Tua Tagovailoa, for now

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Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is taking a page from one of his friends. He’s pushing alternative facts.

In the aftermath of Monday’s stunning decision to fire coach Brian Flores, who led the team to winning records in consecutive seasons for the first time since 2002-03 and went 4-2 against the Patriots (sweeping them in 2021), the Dolphins have pivoted sharply in the direction of the quarterback they were ready to abandon for the first half of the season. It’s now all about Tua, who spent the first two months of the campaign wondering when, not if, the team would finalize a trade for Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

And while the Dolphins have every right to go all in with Tua Tagovailoa (good luck finding a coach who will truthfully say that Tua is his guy, before signing a five-year guaranteed contract), that doesn’t mean the Dolphins are currently telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth as to how they got to this point.

Consider this, from Adam Schefter of ESPN: “With Brian Flores out in Miami, the chances of the Dolphins pursuing or acquiring Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson are greatly diminished, if not gone, per sources. Flores had an interest in exploring a Watson deal, but others in organization, including owner Steven Ross, did not.”

That’s false. Ross wanted Watson, the same way Ross wanted Tua. The same way, before wanting Tua, Ross wanted Joe Burrow.

Flores, if anything, wanted it to be over. The constant hovering of Watson created an unnecessary distraction for the team and for Tua, who did not react well to the constant talk of Watson possibly appearing out of nowhere and seizing the starting job. (It’s no coincidence that the Dolphins rattled off seven straight wins after the deadline came and went to make a 2021 trade.)

The mere fact that someone from the Dolphins texted Schefter the copy-paste assertion that “Flores had an interest in exploring a Watson deal” proves how incorrect that claim is. The Dolphins did MUCH more than explore a deal. If Watson had managed to settle his 22 civil lawsuits, the deal would have been done.

NFL Network has gotten in on the alternative facts act, too, pushing the notion that the Dolphins are all in on Tua and actually vouching for the credibility of the recent claim from Stephen Ross that he has “no plans” to pursue Watson. “That was truthful,” writes Ian Rapoport, who is directly employed by Ross and the NFL’s other 31 owners.

Now that Flores is gone, the Dolphins are trying to pin the past dysfunction on him. It’s not fair, and it’s not accurate. The fish stinks from the head down, and in Miami the guy who calls the shots (without expressly calling the shots) is Ross.

Ross wanted Burrow, but Ross didn’t get him. Ross wanted Tua, and no one tried or succeeded in getting Ross to pivot to Justin Herbert. Ross wanted Watson.

Ross may still want Watson, or someone else. For now, Ross needs to hire a good coach. That task becomes complicated if candidates think dysfunction still lingers within the organization.

Spoiler alert: It does. Second spoiler alert: It still will. Flores wasn’t the problem. And the passage of time will prove that, both as to what Flores does without the Dolphins and as to what the Dolphins do without Flores.

47 responses to “Dolphins make hard pivot back to Tua Tagovailoa, for now

  1. Your Dolphins takes are totally out of touch with what’s actually going on and the real fans and followers of the team know enough to dismiss them.

  2. Not sure who he is trying to fool. I would guess that everyone in league circles knows Ross is a meddling owner and all Dolphins fans know too. Flores was badly overrated though. Fitzmagic and the defensive coordinator were the keys to that team winning.

  3. Come on Florio, This goes on in every team throughout the year. You trying to meld in the biggest crap shoot in sports (NFL draft) isn’t fair at all. Watson’s stuff will get settled and he will play. You should be dressing down the Texans

  4. Opinions can change quickly with young QB’s. Josh Allen was being called a bust by many after 2 1/2 seasons. Even HOF QB’s who are TV analysts had serious doubts that they made clear on the air. Experience does wonders for young QB’s. But also, Ross might be talking to potential coaches and finding that some would love the opportunity to work with Tua. A lot of potential coaches are still coaching in the playoffs, but they probably got word to the owner that Tua would be their guy. Flores was very unpopular inside the building. It wasn’t his coaching. Nobody could stand the guy. The Dolphins aren’t that far away, if Tua continues to improve. This job could attract a great coach, and specifically a great QB whisperer.

  5. Flores couldn’t give it up – he was too hard headed to understand a solid franchise doesn’t need a loser like Watson bringing it down. You end up alienating an entire community

  6. If Tua is their man, then Brian Daboll should be the hire. Daboll was at Alabama with Tua. Based on Tua’s performances at ‘Bama, and based on what Daboll has done (we perceive) to help Josh Allen, then Daboll *looks* to be the one that can help stabilize the Dolphins’ offense and get Tua back on track. But I personally would make sure he had a cracker-jack defensive coordinator (Vic Fangio….?).

  7. Flores took the high road and went out with class. No recriminations, no blame game. Ross and his entourage of sycophants did the opposite with lies and made up stories and excuses. But then no one expected better of Ross and the disfunctional organization he has assembled.

  8. Ross also wanted to draft Lamar Jackson, but was talked out of it by Chris Grier, so they could draft Minkah Fitzpatrick, whom they promptly traded a little over a season later. I’m not sure who’s more incompetent…

  9. For me, the report from Adam Shefter makes more sense. The time table where everything happened rings true. Flores ponded thee table hard for Watson. Ross agreed to trade for him if the women settled out of court. When that didn’t happen by the trade deadline, Flores was noticeably upset. That was the point in time when he stopped communicating with players and staff and started making life difficult for Tua. Do you honestly think he was running Brisset in on every 4th down because Brisset was better? No, he did it to rub salt in the wounds of his QB that he never wanted.

  10. What a mess… I don’t know who to believe anymore. The dust will settle and time will tell. Good thing the playoff is here so we can focus on contending, not dysfunctional, teams.

  11. If I were Tua, I would be keeping BOTH eyes on the Dolphins. I wouldn’t trust a word of what they say.

  12. Dear Mr. Ross –
    You renovated the stadium and built a great training facility, now PLEASE sell the team! You obviously are incompetent to own it further. If you really care about Miami and the Dolphins you should sell it to someone who does. Thank you.

  13. Flores was absolutely part of the problem. The problem with that problem is that he was only 1/3 of the problem. Ross and Grier make up the rest of the equation.

    Based on all of the deals, trades and machinations the Dolphins did to acquire all of that draft capital starting in 2020, had they just stood still and had a clue and not tried to out-think themselves, the would have Justin Herbert, Jonathan Taylor and Ja’Mar Chase right now………in addition to other stuff.

    The Dolphins are imbeciles playing checkers in a league where only Master Chess Players will succeed.

  14. I’m not a Tua fan and he’s limited on talent but now everyone sounds like Flores was this guru with a totally stale offense, went through multiple offensive coordinators, and this past year decided to have co-offensive coordinators which no other team in the league does or believes is a structure that works. Does anyone ever wonder if the reason for the turnover of offensive coordinators is because nobody wants to work Flores? Let’s not forget they lost seven straight games including Jacksonville. This new league is all offense driven and you have to be able to score points in shootouts.

  15. raidersgreat says:
    January 15, 2022 at 12:00 pm
    Not sure who he is trying to fool. I would guess that everyone in league circles knows Ross is a meddling owner and all Dolphins fans know too. Flores was badly overrated though. Fitzmagic and the defensive coordinator were the keys to that team winning.
    —————-

    So Belichick as head coach still gets the credit for the defense even though he’s not the coordinator because of his defensive background. Flores as head coach you give no credit for the defense despite his defensive background as the coordinator for the Patriots. How does that work?

  16. The NFL Network is so far in the tank for the owners – it’s been unwatchable for years! Only time I tune in is for a live or replay game, or an NFL Films production. And of course Red Zone. But the talking heads they have are just not independent.

  17. Unsure of the real reason why you keep going to bat for this 24-25 guy who could not work with either his own players or coaches, but us true Phin fans who follow every game and move evidently know different. The only shock was when he wasn’t fired after 1-7.

    Flores without Tua was 10-17. With Tua he went 14-8. Tua isn’t the next Marino or Rodgers but he’s not what got Flores fired. Flores got Flores fired.

  18. there isn’t a national nfl media person who’s version will be as close to the truth as those local who see the team daily.

    Y’all want this to be complex but the abject fact of the situation: Flores built offensive staffs three times in three years and all of them failed. And it’s clear he shut out his own staff this year given their inability to speak to actual game plans on a weekly basis.

    For one second, remove the wishy washy takes on Tua from the situation: is there anyone that would trust Flores as a coach to development a young QB and build an offense? Because in three years, not only did he some up short there, things went backwards. And if I’m managing a team at my job and run it into the tank three times in three years, I no longer have that job.

    All that said, I think Flores will be a great head coach assuming he looks beyond ego and learns from this experience. And i have no faith that this organization will get things right anyhow.

  19. Any coach is subject to being fired if he doesn’t make the playoffs or loses in the first round. I hope that simplifies things.

  20. So it was Ross that wanted Tua over Herbert? Makes a lot of sense now. When the owner gets involved in player decisions, the end result will be a dumpster fire.

  21. The new coach has one year and a ton of cap space to make Tua work. If he doesnt the team has 2 #1 picks in the next draft and his replacement will be picked.

    Y’all like to make this way more dramatic and complex than it really is

  22. Yes, I love that Miami swept NE this year and went 4-2 against NE with Flores as HC. Love it. However, you tend to forget that Miami went 0-6 against Buffalo with Flores. Throwing out the teardown of 2019, Miami still lost games to Buffalo in 2020 and 2021 by an average of 20.75 PPG. And Buffalo, not NE won the division the past 2 years. So……..

  23. cnuterockne says:
    January 15, 2022 at 1:19 pm
    So it was Ross that wanted Tua over Herbert? Makes a lot of sense now. When the owner gets involved in player decisions, the end result will be a dumpster fire.

    —–

    Flores wanted Tua, too.

  24. cnuterockne says:

    January 15, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    So it was Ross that wanted Tua over Herbert? Makes a lot of sense now. When the owner gets involved in player decisions, the end result will be a dumpster fire
    ————
    Acting like Tua wasnt thought of higher by everyone than Herbert is revisionist history. For 2 years the mantra was “Tank for Tua” then he got hurt and Burrow came out of nowhere his final season. Herbert although thought of high wasnt thought of nearly as high as Tua with the major knock being that Herbert was expected to be a project and the fact he had played in shotgun in college there were questions how well he would do with reading a defense under center as well as just taking the snap. Again its revisionist history to act like only 1 person preferred Tua when in actuality Tua was was the majority preference.

  25. Daboll back in miami lol the fish must want to go back to the Sparano years of field goals and fist pumps? Under dabolls offense.

  26. babo123 says:
    January 15, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    If Tua is their man, then Brian Daboll should be the hire. Daboll was at Alabama with Tua. Based on Tua’s performances at ‘Bama, and based on what Daboll has done (we perceive) to help Josh Allen, then Daboll *looks* to be the one that can help stabilize the Dolphins’ offense and get Tua back on track. But I personally would make sure he had a cracker-jack defensive coordinator (Vic Fangio….?).

    _______________________________________________________

    Daboll or McDaniel make sense. The HC Job looks good. The Dolphins have the most CAP available and in 2023 have 2 First Rounders if Tua doesn’t pan out. They need a Tackle and maybe a Center and Big WR. I personally see them re-signing Gesicki and making him a full time WR role. Must resign Ogbah and Lindsay! Smythe, Roberts and Hollins only because they come cheap. The rest of the FA’s can walk.

  27. “For 2 years the mantra was “Tank for Tua”
    I don’t think anyone was saying that after he dislocated his hip. He was always considered small and injury prone. Had Herbert left school early, he would have been #1 the year before. It’s crazy that people forget that.

  28. phinphanphrom65 says:

    January 15, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    For me, the report from Adam Shefter makes more sense. The time table where everything happened rings true. Flores ponded thee table hard for Watson. Ross agreed to trade for him if the women settled out of court. When that didn’t happen by the trade deadline, Flores was noticeably upset. That was the point in time when he stopped communicating with players and staff and started making life difficult for Tua. Do you honestly think he was running Brisset in on every 4th down because Brisset was better? No, he did it to rub salt in the wounds of his QB that he never wanted
    ———–
    Now take off the homer glasses…Brissett WAS better on 4th down than Tua. Considering the majority of the time they either called a qb run/sneak orbeing that Brissett is much much bigger it sucked in defenses expecting that so it gave them a more advantageous look. Again take your homer shades off, no coach is subbing their qb and risking their job to rub salt in the wounds of their starting qb

  29. Sunday Swami, there was also the question if Herbert would be competitive in the NFL. There were questions about his demeanor and ability to lead. I liked a lot of what Herbert could do physically, but plenty of physically talented QBs have failed miserably and I sat back and let the Tua hype sway me, as well. Tua still does have a lot of good attributes. But that offense is atrocious and I don’t know how much of that is Tua, Flores, the coalition of offensive coordinators and a rookie OL coach and porous OL. I just don’t know why it was all so bad and who is most to blame…

  30. You can bet your arse that if Houston hires Flores, Watson has zero chance to go to Ross. He might go elsewhere, but not to the Dolphins.

  31. At least Miami has an owner that meddles. Chicago have owners that want nothing to do with hiring a GM or head coach. They hire some guy that will bring in one of his old cronies. Same guy that brought in the last staff that failed miserably if I’m correct.

  32. It’s funny thinking about the Draft that year. Everyone said Herbert was weird, and didn’t get along with people, and Nike didn’t sign him even though he’s Oregon’s QB. If your 6’5, 6’6 and mocked in the top five as a QB, thats the guy to get, i thought that forever. Never been a big fan of these small quarterbacks.

  33. People should stop talking about Herbert and who wanted who. There was not ONE NFL GM or executive that rated Herbert higher then Tua at that draft. It’s pretty easy to be a Monday morning QB after the fact huh?
    Also Tua and Herbert stats are almost identical at this point and Herbert has a pro bowl offensive line and a head coach/offensive coordinator that wants him to succeed. Tua had neither in Miami.
    Give the kid a legit chance and he will be a winner!!

  34. Hopefully Miami finds the right “upgrade”

    Remember when Detroit tried to “upgrade” from Caldwell? Ask them how that turned out….

  35. Both Tua and Herbert are sitting at home watching the playoffs. At this point Herbert and Tua careers are about equal. It’s too early to say Miami made the wrong pick.

  36. cnuterockne says:

    January 15, 2022 at 2:04 pm

    “For 2 years the mantra was “Tank for Tua”
    I don’t think anyone was saying that after he dislocated his hip. He was always considered small and injury prone. Had Herbert left school early, he would have been #1 the year before. It’s crazy that people forget that.
    ——-
    No one forgot that because that was NEVER the case of Herbert going #1. Also you cut off half my sentence to contradict it as I stated “For 2 years the mantra was “Tank for Tua” then he got hurt and Burrow came out of nowhere his final season”.
    I clearly addressed Tuas inury and him slipping

  37. OR….. you could have drafted Justin Herbert but hey undersized QBs with below average arm strength always pan out!

  38. I’m a Dolphin’s fan and would like to see them be a playoff team. However Stephen Ross is a ‘bull in a china closet’ Tua is clearly not a franchise QB. He can not make all the NFL throws and much more. In 2011 Stephen Ross did not hire his very successful interim coach Todd Bowles who won games and was close to beating the two Super Bowl participants that season. Bowles’ Offensive Coordinator in 2011 was Brian Daboll, who is now being considered for the Head Coaching position with the Miami Dolphins. Stephen Ross was clueless and blind then and still is regarding the NFL. The Dolphins are a toy to Ross. Moreover Stephen has no idea how to take care of his toy!

  39. I’ve said this many times before, but here we go again. Flores is a good coach, not the GOAT, just good. If you put a coach like Flores with a mediocre QB and a incompetent GM you will have problems. Then you throw in a clueless owner, you will have the perfect ingredients for a unsuccessful football team. You can say whatever you want, but if you give any other NFL coach other than Belichick below average to average players, you are looking at a .500 team if you are lucky.

  40. Tua is an accurate quarterback that has shown he can think quick and he’s beginning to show he can read a defense. He will never take the Dolphins to a Super Bowl with his weak arm though. Playing Buffalo and New England in the cold windy conditions up north requires being able to force the ball through the wind. He doesn’t have that kind of arm. And his hands are too small. In Tennessee in the cold he mishandled a pass so bad the ball dropped out of his hand as he followed through. Then later he dropped the snap. He can win games no question but at the end of the season when weather plays a huge role he’ll struggle!

  41. Being a Dolphin fan since 1966, I’ve come to 1 conclusion. With Ross and Grier we have 1 constant, that’s Losing!!! Ross suffers from Alzheimer’s and Grier just sucks being a GM. I have to agree with the opening statement but would like to add Ross knows everything about football, just like his friend who claims to be the smartest man in the world.
    Would love to see the Dolphins start the season without a head coach. What good coach would come to Miami just to be fired in 3yrs.

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