While Tua Tagovailoa didn’t have the cataclysmic rookie season that some national analysts or even a handful of Miami beat writers would want you to believe, it is true that The Left Arm of God left us Dolphins fans wanting just a bit more than what we saw from our young signal-caller in 2020. In past articles, I’ve detailed why Tua’s rookie season was better than many first seasons of fellow NFL quarterbacks. Still, in today’s article, I will give you three reasons why Tua Tagovailoa will take a significant leap forward and leave little doubt that he is the QB of the future for our Miami Dolphins.
TUA IS FINALLY HEALTHY
It is a big task for a rookie quarterback to come into the NFL and lead his team to the playoffs, but that’s just what Tua Tagovailoa came close to doing in 2020, despite being just one year removed from a devastating hip injury that some predicted would end the young man’s burgeoning career.
Just recently, Tua’s personal trainer, Nick Hicks, co-owner of Per4orm in South Florida, estimated Tagovailoa’s health to be at 60% during his rookie campaign. Now, I’m no mathematician, but that seems less than ideal when you’re talking about the most important position on the field for any NFL team. In multiple social media posts this offseason, we’ve been able to see the tremendous amount of work Tua has put into getting his body healthy and prepared for his second season as the Miami Dolphins QB. Hicks recently talked about why a healthy body can lead to a healthy mind and increased confidence for Tagovailoa.
“The kid was a shell of himself. He was at an all-time low confidence wise,” said Hicks. “I think it was more him, getting to a low part in his life, where ‘I know I’m not playing well, but that was because my body is not like this.’ ”
Tua has packed on plenty of muscle this offseason. His claims of improved throwing velocity were confirmed by beat-writers in attendance during Miami’s minicamp recently. He is no longer using only his arm to throw the football, as he has a healthy hip and can use his lower body to get more juice on his passes.
“I think my hip feels 10 times better than it did last year and the confidence level for myself, I feel really confident coming into this second year after that injury two years ago,” said Tua.
A healthy Tua is a deadly Tua, as evidenced by his stellar play at Alabama during his time in college. Tua is finally healthy and that should strike fear into the hearts of his AFC East rivals.
TUA HAS A FULL OFFSEASON TO PREPARE
Whether it was having to deal with rehabbing his hip injury, or COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the lives of everyone, Tagovailoa included, Tua’s first taste of NFL life wasn’t a normal one when compared to rookies of years past.
In-person offseason work was canceled prior to the 2020 NFL season, which meant the crucial hours spent developing chemistry with teammates was something that Tua Tagovailoa was unable to participate in fully before being thrown into the fire midway through his rookie campaign.
On-field work turned into countless Zoom meetings, and at this point, I think we can all agree that we’re completely over Zoom meetings, and we’re not even highly paid, world-class athletes trying to live up to the hype of being the number five overall pick in the NFL Draft. You can’t throw a 10 yard out on a frozen-rope via Zoom. You can’t get timing down with your receivers using a computer screen.
Between OTAs, minicamp, training camp, preseason and numerous practices, Tua Tagovailoa will have far more opportunities to learn, grow and get better so that he can be the QB we all know he can be when the bullets are live come September.
MIAMI ADDED ELECTRIC PLAYMAKERS
The Miami Dolphins were decimated by injuries on the offensive side of the ball last season, which certainly did Tua Tagovailoa no favors during his rookie year. Throughout the season, Miami lost Preston Williams, DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Myles Gaskin and various other playmakers for long stretches of time. Before the season even began, two contributing wide receivers, Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns, opted out due to COVID-19.
This offseason, Chris Grier made it a priority to surround their franchise quarterback with weapons to aid in his development and growth as a player in the National Football League.
Will Fuller was signed to a one year deal after having his best, and healthiest, season as a pro in Houston in 2020. Fuller adds a deep speed element that, outside of “Stone Hands” Jakeem Grant, Miami did not have last season. Fuller is also an accomplished route runner and consistently creates separation from his defender, a trait that was sorely missed in Miami’s receiving core last year.
With the first of two first round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Tua’s former teammate, Jaylen Waddle, was nabbed by the Fins. Waddle and Tua already have good chemistry together, and Waddle’s YAC ability is sure to elevate Tua’s game, as the former Alabama wide receiver is always a threat to take one to the house with the ball in his hands.
An underrated signing this offseason was the addition of Malcolm Brown from the LA Rams. Brown is a battering ram, which makes him a significant short yardage weapon. Miami struggled to convert 3rd-and-short opportunities throughout the entire 2020 season, so adding a back that specializes in that department will surely help the offense as a whole reach its full potential.
As long-suffering Dolphins fans, I know that we tend to collectively hold our breath while we wait for the giant let-down to come. We’ve seen it time and time again with the likes of John Beck, Chad Henne, Ryan Tannehill, Josh Rosen and others who were supposed to drag Miami out of the doldrums of football purgatory only to fall flat on their faces before being jettisoned away from South Florida.
Tua Tagovailoa’s story will end differently. Miami has found their quarterback of the future and the stars are beginning to align. This is the beginning of something really special for the Miami Dolphins and the years of pain that we were forced to endure while we rooted for subpar teams will seem like a distant memory in the very near future. Put your faith in the Left Arm of God and you will be rewarded handsomely. Fins up!