Tua’s Tough Tuesday

Jun 16, 2021; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a pass during minicamp at Baptist Health Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday saw messy conditions and sloppy play overtake the Miami Dolphins’ minicamp practice in Davie, Florida. One player in particular who was negatively affected by the adverse conditions was second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

While he was influenced by his coaching staff and former mentor Ryan Fitzpatrick (who is now in Washington with the Football Team), Tua was underwhelmed, throwing five interceptions during Tuesday’s practice.

Flores Reaction

However, Dolphins coach Brian Flores is trying to keep the mindset positive and the aggressiveness high for the second-year quarterback out of Alabama.

“I don’t think Tua’s gone into his shell,” Flores told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “I tell him (after a practice like that) to continue being aggressive. The conversations are a lot of what we’ve already talked about here —– use this time to practice pushing the ball downfield. Then we’ll make the adjustments and the corrections, and we’ll go at it again the next day. That’s the normal progression of how this goes.”

Tua is expected to be the starter this season for the Dolphins. He recorded his first career start against the Rams in week 8 of last season and overall finished 6-3 with 1814 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions. He was pulled in favor of Fitzpatrick during a game against Denver, and the veteran encouraged the then-rookie to play more aggressively. As Fitzy noted, “Sometimes, you’re not going to get your third read. Sometimes, it’s one, two. You’ve got to throw a little bit of a contested ball.”

Perfect Time to Sling It

If there is any time to make mistakes that won’t cost the team, training camp and practices are more than likely the best timeframes to make said errors.

Perhaps the aggressiveness will build character and build better starts in the sophomore campaign for Tagovailoa in 2021, as last season he only had 2 games of at least 300 yards passing, and did not achieve a game where he threw for at least two touchdowns or completed a pass that went longer than 35 yards. And as he progresses, Tua has noted that the encouragement to play with more aggression and push the ball downfield has become more of a focal point.

After Tuesday’s washout of a practice, Tua said, “We wanted to be aggressive today within the passing game. We wanted to see if we could fit throws in. We wanted to see what throws we could make under these conditions. We were just trying to push the ball vertically down the field. There are some plays that didn’t go our way, but (those are) plays that we can take a look at in the film room and move forward with.”

Has the Team Support

And his head coach also echoed the same sentiment Wednesday.

“We’re going to see if we fit some throws in. And then, there might be a minor adjustment we need to make the play. How do you know that if you don’t make the attempt?” Flores said. “But at the end of the day, look, you never want turnovers anywhere. So, we need to limit those and we always need to limit those.”

Tua Tagovailoa is thrust into the starting quarterback job for the Miami Dolphins in his second season with the mentor gone. Only time will tell if he develops into a franchise centerpiece or if he still needs time to learn.