The Dolphins scored a major offseason victory over their hated divisional rivals, the New York Jets, when they beat them out in the battle to trade for superstar wide receiver Tyreek Hill. But the Jets didn’t have to wait too long to overshadow the Dolphins in terms of their own new player acquisitions.
New York was widely considered to have the best showing in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets struck out big in free agency in terms of complementary players for second-year quarterback Zach Wilson. But they did get a nice haul for the future at key positions to support Wilson.
Now there will be additional pressure on Wilson to start living up to his No. 2 overall status in the 2021 NFL Draft. But the Dolphins’ quarterback will be on a much hotter seat in 2022. Miami has provided Tua Tagovailoa ample weaponry for him to succeed this upcoming season. The “now or never” cliché can apply directly to Tagovailoa in ‘22, which most likely be reflected in the betting odds.
Can Tua Tagovailoa Finally Unleash His Potential in 2022?
High Draft Capital Has Led To Ho-Hum Results So Far
As he enters his third season, Tagovailoa has a 13-8 career record, which is certainly respectable. He has passed for 27 touchdowns with 15 interceptions in his first two pro seasons. He was the guide on a seven-game winning streak to finish the 2021 campaign. Yet there have naturally been higher expectations for Tagovailoa since he was drafted fifth overall in 2019.
The Dolphins have not won a playoff game in 21 years, the second-longest postseason win drought in the NFL. Only the consistently sad Detroit Lions have a longer history of playoff victory futility. The fan base continues to be frustrated, and the front office has not been able to stabilize the quarterback position since Dan Marino retired.
For some teams, having a “caretaker” at quarterback may suffice, but even under the cloud of the Stephen Ross fiasco, there is a strong desire to see the level of play elevated at QB. No matter who is running the team, any time a top-level QB at the position like Deshaun Watson becomes available, the Dolphins would likely be linked to him in the rumor mill. There remains a sense of urgency in South Florida to see a higher level of performance from the quarterback position. Tagovailoa hasn’t been terrible, but he hasn’t been good enough overall, either.
Some teams such as the Jets, Steelers, Eagles and Seahawks have taken a supportive approach to improving quarterback play, and that is what the Dolphins have been working on also. These teams are surrounding their quarterbacks with as much playmaking potential as possible around them, in an effort to effectively complement the QB and not put it on him to carry the offense.
Ep 100: Divisional Round Preview: Who Is Headed To Championship Sunday?
by Full Press Coverage on January 21, 2023 at 12:19 pm
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Tua Tagovailoa Has Winning Pieces Around Him Now
Quarterbacks such as Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers can be clear centerpieces of an offense. But QBs who are either not star players or are early in their careers can perform better than expected when the supporting cast is strengthened. That has been an apparent aim when constructing offenses in New York for the Jets, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Seattle. And, of course, Miami.
Unless significant injuries occur, there can be no ready-made excuses for Tagovailoa not to raise his game after the Dolphins acquired Tyreek Hill to pair with sensational second-year man Jaylen Waddle at wide receiver. Tagovailoa will also be supported by an improved running back corps. Chase Edmonds can offer big-play potential, as does Raheem Mostert. The Dolphins may be able to employ quite a committee with Edmonds, Mostert, and Myles Gaskin, who will no longer be overworked.
The offensive line is not without concerns but obviously improved a great deal when Terron Armstead was signed to play left tackle. Addressing that position was of great importance in terms of having a major anchor on the unit. The new coaching staff is also heavily offensive-minded under Mike McDaniel. Quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator has worked extensively with Brett Favre and Russell Wilson. But this regime also did not draft Tagovailoa and may move on from him soon if it doesn’t see the desired results this season.
Everything is in place for Tagovailoa to start showing that he was worthy of the high draft choice in 2019. If not, he could be headed to a season of uncertainty in the final year of his rookie contract in 2023. The Dolphins have been making headlining moves to boost their offensive outlook. Tagovailoa is the key to making it all click and run well this year. He has been provided with all the elements around him to foster more success.
The two-decade run of postseason silence in South Florida has become a tired annual storyline and it has to end. The Heat and Panthers have been great local stories, but the Dolphins are the truest sports love in the area. The team drew much enthusiasm and some renewed hope with the acquisitions of Hill and Armstead. Such additions were clear signals of a commitment to improving the outlook. If Tagovailoa doesn’t do his part to propel the team to more wins in 2022, he may not be part of the picture after this year. Adequacy just isn’t good enough anymore for the Dolphins.
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