Davy, Fla. – Tua Tagovailoa thinks he can be a franchise quarterback for the Miami Dolphins, but he knows he has to prove it by playing better in his second year.
Tagovailoa is coming off a rookie season in which he went 6-3 with a 64.1% success rate, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. But the former Alabama star was replaced twice in the fourth quarter by veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and struggled at times to throw the ball effectively down the field.
With the Dolphins in the midst of speculation about the offseason, second-year quarterback Tagovailoa was asked if he was sure Miami was only thinking of him as a franchise quarterback.
In my head and in my heart, I hope, Tagovailoa said Monday in a radio interview with Sirius Mad Dog. Like last year, we have yet to prove that we can do better, and I want to do better.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores told ESPN last month that he was excited to work with Tagovailoa and that the Dolphins believed in him. Dolphins general manager Chris Grier also said last month that Tagovailoa is their starting quarterback and that they are pleased with his development.
This offseason will tell if the Dolphins’ strong public activity regarding Tagovailoa is commensurate with their actions, as there are many potential options, including the Houston Texans’ unfortunate quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Adam Schefter of ESPN recently reported that Watson has asked for a deal, while Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that Miami is at the top of Watson’s list of favorite shopping destinations. The Dolphins are one of the few teams with seed money that could potentially lure Watson to a company.
Tagovailoa told Sirius Radio Mad Dog that he had not heard the rumors about the Watson case until his agent told him about it, but it is something that will be out of my control no matter what I do.
This is the Dolphin Organization’s decision, he said. I need to control what I can control – work hard and do well next season.
Tagovailoa also gave an honest assessment of his 2020 season, saying he would describe my rookie season as below average. Last season did not live up to my expectations.
If the Dolphins continue with Tagovailoa as their current plan is, the focus will be on improving him in year two. He told the Dan Patrick Show that there is a big difference in his health this season compared to last year when he just had major hip surgery and that this year he can focus on improving the mental elements of his game.
The Dolphins are already focusing on building around Tagovailoa at the start of the 2021 offseason, including hiring former Elite 11 High School camp coach Charlie Frye as quarterback coach. They also spent a lot of time at the Senior Bowl, where they met Alabama’s star receiver DeVonta Smith and halfback Najee Harris. Both meet the Dolphins’ offensive needs, have a good relationship with Tagovailoa and could be options for Miami with either of their first-round draft picks (No.3 and No.18).
When Sirius asked Mad Dog Radio to offer Smith, Tagovailoa admitted that the two men had discussed how to resume their Red Tide magic several times this season. He commented that it would be very special and exciting, referring to their chemistry.