NFL: The Miami Dolphins are not auditioning Tua Tagovailoa
Head coach Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins have been asked if they're starting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for auditioning purposes.
Flores put the rumors to rest about the Dolphins possibly drafting another quarterback next year when he told reporters that they are not auditioning Tua, they're simply studying to find the right pieces to build around him and his style of play.
Tua Tagovailoa has proven that he is a winner. He showcased his talents early at the University of Alabama. After his debut for Alabama, he took off running and did not look back.
Tua threw for over 7,400 yards and had 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while playing for the Crimson Tide. It was a dream come true when the Miami Dolphins selected him No. 5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tagovailoa made his first NFL start against the Los Angeles Rams last week. The confidence he showed in Miami's victory over L.A. gives the Dolphins hope for their future.
Miami Dolphins took a gamble and it paid off
Tua Tagovailoa suffered a horrific injury in his last season at Alabama. When he dislocated his hip, Tagovailoa and others thought he might never play football again. The Miami Dolphins paid close attention to the rehab that Tua did over the course of his recovery.
They determined that if the doctors cleared the young quarterback, they were going to select him in the first round. The Miami Dolphins organization knew that they were taking a huge gamble by picking Tua. The doctors would clear Tua Tagovailoa to compete and the Miami Dolphins had their man.
One thing that the Miami Dolphins knew for sure was that Tagovailoa was not going to be ready to start in Week 1. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the starter. The Miami fan base knew that this was not a permanent thing and it was only a matter of time before they saw Tua in action.
The Miami Dolphins felt the time was right to make the change at quarterback
In Week 6, the Miami Dolphins had a 24-0 lead on the winless New York Jets and Tua Tagovailoa's number was called late in the fourth quarter. The rookie quarterback walked on the field full of emotions. Tua only went 2-of-2 for nine passing yards, but the moment was so much bigger than the stats.
The Miami Dolphins came out and said they were going to make Tagovailoa the starting quarterback for their next game against the Los Angeles Rams. The Dolphins fan base was eager to see how he would do. The Dolphins and their fans were also filled with fear that if the rookie quarterback was hit hard he would be done. (It's happened before. Remember, the Washington Football Team got a spectacular rookie season out of QB Robert Griffin III before one injury essentially ruined it all.)
What the Miami Dolphins did not expect was for Tua to come out against a tough Rams defense and play with confidence. Tua came out and lead the Dolphins to a victory. The rookie quarterback threw his first career touchdown and was only sacked once in the game against the Rams.
"Tua Time" has officially started for the Miami Dolphins.
Where the Miami Dolphins can start building around Tua Tagovailoa
The Dolphins' offensive line would be a good place to start the rebuilding process around Tua. If they want Tua to have a successful, healthy career in the NFL, they need to keep him off the ground. The Dolphins currently start two rookies on the right side of their offensive line. The depth of their line is not very deep.
The Miami Dolphins should look to add a center and either a left tackle or guard in next year's NFL Draft. Miami has a good amount of talent at wide receiver. The NFL Draft is full of great wide receiver prospects, and the Dolphins could find a sleeper late.
If the Miami Dolphins do draft a wide receiver, they should go after a receiver that has a big frame. They need a receiver like D.K. Metcalf. A big-bodied receiver who can catch the ball over the middle and sustain hits from the defense.
The Miami Dolphins could also look to get a running back as well. The Dolphins recently added Matt Breida to their team this offseason. Breida gives the Dolphins an elusive back. Miami should look to add a bruiser to their backfield. A player who can pick up short yards and make an immediate impact in the red zone.
Next year's NFL Draft has good running back talent, and the Dolphins could find their bruiser running back right at Ohio State. Master Teague III would be a great addition to the Dolphins offense. He will most likely be there late in the draft and would give them the short yardage running back they need.
If Miami can build a solid offensive line and add a wide receiver and running back, they will be sitting in a good position.
The timeframe of Tua taking the Dolphins to the playoffs is potentially in the next two years. If Miami can keep Tua healthy he has the potential to make the Dolphins a contender by his fourth year in the NFL.