By Marek Brave (@MBrave13)
The Miami Dolphins hosted minicamp on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, and for many Dolphins fans, this was our first opportunity to see if Tua Tagovailoa’s offseason work had paid dividends. Would the reported increase in velocity show itself? Would the chemistry with Miami’s first-round pick, Jaylen Waddle, be on display? Soon after logging into #DolphinsTwitter Tuesday morning, you were bombarded with shouts and cries of THE SKY IS FALLING!
As the heavens opened up and a monsoon crashed upon the practice field in Davey, Florida, the poor weather wasn’t the only thing that had folks in South Florida and the rest of us around Dolphins Nation, concerned. Tweet after tweet saw those in attendance announcing one bad throw from Tua after another. Interceptions were coming in droves, and the rain-soaked practice field was soon matched in wetness by the tear-soaked phone screens and keyboards from those following along at home. Our Left Arm of God was having a no good, very bad day and after all was said and done, you could count his interceptions using all of the fingers on one hand. ONE – TWO – THREE – FOUR – FIVE.
After the practice concluded, Tua fielded questions from reporters (well, those he could hear over the apocalyptic rainfall that was occurring in the background), and all-in-all, the second year QB was in pretty good spirits. “We are going to have to play in the rain and play in those conditions. Overall, I thought today was an alright day. We wanted to be aggressive in the passing game, see if we could fit throws in. We wanted to be aggressive in these conditions. The emphasis was to push the ball downfield. Obviously, you want to be smart, but if there is a time to make mistakes, now is the time,” he said.
Okay, folks. You can step down from the ledge now. Obviously, if a quarterback is purposefully trying to force the ball downfield because that was the objective of the practice – that was the goal his coaching staff gave him – then interceptions are going to happen. Add in thousands of gallons of rainwater, and you have the recipe for a five turnover day. Let’s not forget to mention the fact that backup quarterback, Jacoby Brissett, also had two interceptions while reportedly receiving ¼ of the reps.
Still, that wasn’t enough for some people. “TUA IS A BUST!” they screamed into the endless void.
Then a funny thing happened. Wednesday rolled around and suddenly the tone changed. As the second day of minicamp began and reports came steadily in, we weren’t reading about interception after interception anymore. No, instead we were reading about chunk plays here, deep bombs there… We were reading about Tua coaching up his backs and receivers between reps. We were reading about – ***drum-roll please*** – TOUCHDOWNS!
According to those in attendance, Tua Tagovailoa looked sharp. Actually, he looked more than sharp. He look downright electric. He looked like the savior we hoped he would be when he was drafted #5 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. The cries that bemoaned him a bust changed to vehement assertions that the Samoan Six-Shooter (I think I’ll trademark that) was firing bullets and was now on a direct path to the Hall of Fame!
I may be exaggerating slighty, but the point remains that Tua’s Wednesday practice was significantly better than his Tuesday debacle. So, what does all of this mean?
It means that everyone should relax a little bit and let the summer play out. It means that everyone should let the man put in work without overreacting to every little thing that happens when the stats don’t count. If Tua comes out in September and October turning the ball over multiple times each game, then you can start to worry. But, until then, take a walk outside, enjoy some fresh air, consume a nice glass of lemonade or a frosty tumbler of your favorite libation and chill the “eff” out.