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5 Keys to Dolphins vs Rams

The Miami Dolphins (3-3) made headline news during the bye week. The switch to Tua Tagovailoa initiated a cascade of national coverage. Football pundits fell on either side of the fence. A heated debate over the Dolphins offensive line unfolded on Twitter. And all of this amped up the excitement of Dolphins fans as the game versus the Ram (5-2) approaches.

The matchup of a Brian Flores defense versus a Sean McVay offense last happened in Super Bowl LII. New England shut down the Jared Goff-led Rams in the lowest scoring Super Bowl of all-time. Flores’s defense frustrated Goff by alternating looks. That might be something seen in Week 8, especially considering Kyle Van Noy, a key player in Patriot’s defensive effort then, will be on the field for Miami.

At 3-3, Miami is one game out of first place in the AFC East. A win here would be the team’s third in a row and keep them in the thick of the playoff race. The Rams, meanwhile, travel east for an early game on a short week.

Here’s a look at five keys to the Dolphins versus the Rams in Week 8.

Dolphins vs Rams: Be Patient

The Rams defense allows for short completions in the passing game, so be patient. The defense doesn’t disguise coverages often and tends to play straight-up. The deployment of Aaron Donald remains fairly consistent.

LA occasionally tries to disguise their backend coverages through alignment. They hide their 2-deep coverage with an initial Quarters look. Sometimes, they lineup in Quarters then play man-to-man with two deep safeties.

These are approaches that Tagovailoa had success against while at Alabama. These coverages can leave openings in the defense while the defenders flex into the different positions. But the key will be Tagovailoa’s ability to recognize the coverage and deliver the ball to the appropriate place, even if it’s short.

Attack Darius Williams

LA paid a high price for All-Pro corner Jalen Ramsey. He tends to travel from the outside to the slot. Ramsey occasionally mirrors the opponent’s best receiver. He allows just 53.5 percent of passes completed, giving up 5.33 yards per target. While he can be challenged, the Dolphins might look elsewhere.

Ramsey may draw the DeVante Parker assignment for the Rams. Parker’s been the focal point of Miami’s passing attack thus far. He’s seen 40 targets and made 29 catches for 364 yards and two touchdowns, but all of that was with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Rams other wide corner is Darius Williams. He’s 5-foot-9, 187-pounds. Williams will likely matchup against Preston Williams, who stands at 6-foot-5 and has caught a touchdown in three of the last four weeks.

Dolphins vs Rams: Use RPO

Next Gen Stats indicated this week that the Dolphins deploy the widest formations in the league (30.1 yards). These wide formations afford space to the receivers and the runners as they move in and out of their routes and cuts. This also spreads out the defense and makes disguising blitz packages somewhat more difficult for some teams.

This wide set up also allows for the offense to use run-pass option, and the switch to Tagovailoa might make that even more likely to happen.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said on his ‘Move the Sticks’ podcast that an anonymous GM called Tagovailoa “the best RPO quarterback he’s ever seen … ball-handling, he’ll hit that slant a million times over.”

Dolphins offensive coordinator, Chan Gailey, was one of the first coaches in the NFL to integrate the run-pass option.

“Chan was a little bit ahead in the RPO game early on before it became I guess, ‘in-style’ for the league,” Dolphins GM Chris Grier said of Gailey back in February.

In his media availability this week, Gailey revealed the team regularly used pre-snap RPOs. He also said Tagovailoa was “good at reading and seeing” when using the option. This could be an element to play on Tagovailoa’s strengths and to mitigate LA’s pass rush.

Attack Jared Goff

The Dolphins have struggled against mobile quarterbacks, but Goff isn’t one of those. He works in the pocket with a strict timing in mind. Goff likes to hit his backfoot and make the throw. If the Dolphins can pressure him off his spot, he’s far less effective.

While Miami features the league’s widest offense, the Rams sport the NFL’s most closed. The closed-in formation could lead to quick option looks and receivers coming free after rub routes. Miami’s secondary will need to maintain discipline and communicate well.

Don’t be surprised if Byron Jones travels with Cooper Kupp, even to the slot. Xavien Howard could pair with Robert Woods on the outside.

Jones and Howard have been targeted a combined 22 times since Jones’s return in Week 5, but they’ve allowed just six receptions for 69 yards. For the season, Miami’s pass defense allows 62.2 percent completion percentage and their 86.3 QB-rating against is ninth best.

Goff enjoys operating out of the play-action, both straight and with a bootleg. His 93 play-action drop backs lead the league and he’s completed 68.8 percent of those attempts. Miami will need to limit the Rams’ effective running game in order to attack Goff.

Dolphins vs Rams: Protect Tua

Obviously.

Last week against the Bears, the Rams registered four sacks and eight quarterback hits. Their 24 sacks are third-most this season and they’ve piled up 86 pressures. Donald has tallied 45 of those pressures on his own. Michael Brockers has 15.

The Dolphins offensive line, meanwhile, has allowed just 10 sacks this season, ninth-fewest in the NFL.

The interior line will be particularly important, and they’ve played well thus far. Ereck Flowers, Ted Karras and rookie Solomon Kindley have surrendered just 21 pressures in 717 combined pass-blocking snaps. Of those 21 pressures, only seven have resulted in quarterback hits.

Tagovailoa can protect himself by not holding the ball for more than about 2.5 seconds. If he does, Donald and the Rams will find him. LA tends to get home with their four-man rush, blitzing only 28 percent of the time (14th-lowest rate).

Top 5 Things to Watch in Tua’s Week 8 Season Debut

Tuanigamanuolepola Tagovailoa. After Coach Flores announced Tua as the starter on October 20th the world has been on fire with every type of opinion toward our face of the franchise. I did my own analysis of the 5 snaps vs the Jets which will be posted below. Now that his first start is finally here it has made it next to impossible to talk or focus about anything else. I will do my best to bring you SOMETHING else to watch for in Week 8 when your Miami Dolphins host the LA Rams, so without further ado, lets dive in.

 

Offensive Line:

It would not be an official Dolphins piece without a mention of how bad the offensive line is if you followed the national media guidelines to covering this team. I want to be clear that by no means is this group a top oline, but they sure aren’t a bottom 5 oline either. Keep that in mind as you watch them this Sunday go up against Aaron Donald and company and the heavy scrutiny they will face if they do not protect the franchise. I have full confidence that this group will come out determined to prove the media wrong and own the line of scrimmage. Also check this analysis of the online play by an ex lineman.

 

 

Rush Offense:

Coming off a week where we were able to average 5.2 yards per carry, we will need another effort like this to help Tua. One of the things that I hope the Dolphins attempt to do is continue to run the ball regardless of the score. We need the Ram’s defense to truly believe we want to run the ball because if this is a game that forces Tua to throw more than 35 attempts, I don’t think that’s the recipe we want for his first start. We need Myles and Breida to step up and have another good day rushing for Tua and this offense to function as designed.

 

Chan Gailey:

One of the things that’s become apparent as the year has gone on, is what a great hiring Chan Gailey was. At the time I was hesitant of such an old coach transitioning Tua into a modern NFL considering he last coached in 2016 with the Jets but Chan has destroyed those notions emphatically. This offense, per next gen stats, has the longest average distance between the two widest players in the offensive formation. AKA a spread offense, which is what Tua excelled in. I expect the Dolphins to try to receive the ball first to start the game getting Tua comfortable. Gailey has shown that he has the ability to game plan a strong 15-25 plays to start the game and would not be surprised to see the Dolphins up early in this game.

 

 

Flores vs McVay:

With all the attention going to Tua and rightfully so, no one has brought up the history of McVay vs Flores. Both of them being very familiar with each other, with Flores having figured out his offense on the biggest of stages. This game is one that I think both of these coaches are exact opposites in that McVay is a genius on the offensive side and Flores having earned his job through his work on the defensive side. Strength vs Strength, this will be a matchup that will be decided with what the weakness of each coach does. For McVay that means his defense and for Flores that of course means his offense.

 

Team Response to QB Change:

If you only followed the national media like ESPN, Good Morning Football, Skip and Shannon and others, you may have gotten the idea that this team is upset and confused over the change of QB. I assure you that only a handful of players were shocked with less than that feeling as strongly as Fitz did in his conference the Wednesday after the announcement. Let me clear this notion up as the players are all behind Tua and that includes Fitzpatrick, even if he did sulk a bit. Tua’s involvement overall with the team is what makes me think that they know this kid is the real deal. You hear different stories from Tua having a Tuesday meeting with Flores every week to watch tape, to Tua asking specific defenders like Bobby McCain and even Josh Boyer came out this past week to speak on Tua trying to dissect the defense point of view. With all that being said, I fully expect an energized team that’s ready to stand up and defend their new QB.

 

Ultimately, one week will not let us know what we can expect from Tua for the next 4 years but a start on the right foot will go a long way to shut up the national media. For all the talk of how good the Rams are no one is mentioning a west coast team being forced to fly cross country to play what essentially is a 10 am game for their body clocks. I cannot wait for next week’s installment of Stock Watch to see how we performed so make sure to keep an eye for it. Till next time guys, Fins Up!

Players and coaches believe in Tua Tagovailoa

It seems like just yesterday, ESPN’s Matt Hasselbeck was concerned with how veteran players in the Miami Dolphins locker room would take to news of Tua Tagovailoa’s promotion. We all know how well-liked and respected Fitzpatrick is in the locker room. But the time was now. And whether it was a decision made from upstairs or Flores had this plan in mind from the start (I think it was a little of both), one thing is crystal clear.

It’s Tua’s team.

Ready or not,  we are five days away from the Dolphins starting their 2020 first-round pick.

Unfortunately, this move is being looked at by some in a negative light. Which seems strange because those same people were questioning why he wasn’t starting because of Burrow and Herbert’s success, a few weeks prior. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. But now everyone is like:

“mIaMi hAs tO seE wHaT tHeY hAvE iN TuA sInCe BurRoW ANd HeRbErt aRe pLaYiNg WelL”

I don’t watch ESPN. Not since the NFL Network came to town. But thankfully our good friend over at the Palm Beach Post Joe Schad does, and like always he has the inside scoop.

Here’s also a thread with a video of the epic 9-minute segment on ESPN NFL Sunday Countdown.

So yes, apparently this is a thing. But I’m here to put to rest this silly narrative–with cold hard facts.

Dolphins players have nothing but good things to say about the left-handed quarterback

Shortly after ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Tagovailoa would be starting, several of Miami’s players met with the media to discuss the coach’s decision.

Here’s what linebacker Jerome Baker had to say about the Dolphins’ decision to start Tagovailoa.

“He’s a smart, collective young man…. He is definitely going to be a future great player in this league. I think we are all excited; we all know what he can do. I think the one thing that surprises me or surprised me – I always tell this story – is when he first came in, we went through a few practices, and we threw so many different looks at him. Instead of getting down on himself or saying it’s too hard or whatever, getting emotional, after practice, it was me and Bobby (McCain), he came by and just asked us questions. He asked for advice on what can he work on, what can he see, whatever it is that he can get better. I think that was the one thing that really stuck to me. He just truly wants to get better, he just truly wants to help us win. I’m definitely happy that he gets his shot.”


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Players back from BYE with LOTS to say.

With the BYE week to regroup and now the team back in the facilities to prepare for the Los Angeles Rams; more of Tagovailoa’s teammates would be asked their opinion on Flores’ decision. And what we heard from players, doesn’t quite fit Hasselbeck’s narrative.

First, Dolphins defensive end Shaq Lawson met with the media. And as you’d expect, he was excited.

“For Tua, getting an opportunity to start, that kid is incredible. I’m looking forward to going out there and playing with him on Sunday. I’ve seen a lot of him in practice and how athletic he is, how incredible of a player he is. To get to see it on Sunday this week, it’s going to be incredible. He’s going to lead this team in the right way.”

After Lawson was done gushing about Tagovailoa, it was Preston Williams turn to talk about the quarterback change.

Williams said he and Tua have practiced together throughout the offseason. When asked what Tua does best in practice, Williams responded:

“Obviously throwing. Making plays. Everything you want in a quarterback. Y’all have seen his tape. It speaks for itself. Like I said, we’re excited that Tua is making his start, just like everybody else. I’m excited to see him in his first game action against the Rams.”

Lastly, he was asked if the Dolphins have to flip the playbook to account for Tua’s left-handedness, the same way Steve Mariucci once talked about having to do with Steve Young in San Francisco.

“No. Tua can throw going left just as good as he can throw going right. That’s why he’s here. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

One of Tua’s largest targets–tight end Mike Gesicki–wasted no time discussing Tua.

The last individual we heard from during Monday’s zoom calls was Dolphins head coach Brian Flores–who gave us a look at what goes into his Tuesday meetings with his rookie QB.

“It’s game film, it’s practice film, it’s situations. He’s a young player. He’s got a lot to learn. He tries to be a sponge. I think everyone can see that – players, coaches, this team. I think it’s – he wants to learn, and he wants to see it from all different aspects. I give him a defensive aspect, he gets it from (Offensive Coordinator) Chan (Gailey) obviously from the offensive side of the ball. He asks defensive players things that they saw. That’s just the type of kid he is, and it’s a good thing. He tries to learn as much as he can, and I think as a teacher, and as a coach, I think that’s what you are looking for. I try to watch as many different things as possible; but obviously you don’t want to overload the kid. I know he’s getting a lot of information from a lot of different places. Our meetings are more, I would say, me giving him the defensive perspective, and I think as an offensive player, if you understand the thought process from the other side of the ball, it can make you a better player. I know that’s the case defensively, when you think of how they are trying to attack us offensively. That’s what those conversations are like.”

He also went on to voice his frustration about the outside noise.

In the end, no one really cares what Matt Hasselback has to say.

Everyone knew Tua was the future of the Dolphins the day he was drafted—Ryan Fitzpatrick included. And while it seemed like odd timing due to Miami’s 3-3 start. It was clear to anyone that watched the team, this offense was in need of a much-needed injection.

Now we sit here and listen to the players sing Tua’s praises. After all, they saw what he was capable of in practice.

Dan Marino retired in March of 2000 and the Dolphins franchise has never been the same since. But for the first time since that historic day, it feels like this franchise is headed in the right direction. And whether you’re ready or not, this is Tagovailoa’s team.

If that’s a problem. Tua bad.

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Dolphins Win 49ers

5 Takeaways from Dolphins Win over 49ers

When the 2020 schedule came out and Dolphins fans saw a Week 5 game against the defending NFC Champs in San Francisco, most chalked that up as a loss. But quite a bit has changed since then, including the NFL’s schedule. And instead of a loss, the Dolphins went into Levi’s Stadium and dominated the 49ers, earning a 43-17 win.

With the win, Miami improved to 2-3 on the season and injected new life into their potential playoff hopes. With the schedule changes, the Dolphins could be favored to win four of their next six games.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the Dolphins win over the 49ers.

Aggressive Play-calling Leads to Offensive Explosion

The Dolphins entered Sunday’s game averaging 23.3 points-per-game, a respectable figure despite the 1-3 record. However, a week after settling for five field goals in a 31-23 loss, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey seemed focused on getting his club in the endzone.

Miami opened their first offensive series with a 47-yard connection from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Preston Williams. From there, it seemed like the Dolphins offense marched up and down the field at will, often attacking San Francisco’s secondary.

Miami totaled 43 points on the road in this one, a figure the club hadn’t reached since scoring 45 in 1986. The 436 yards of offense were the most this season and the team’s most on the road since 2016. The Dolphins’ nine scoring drives were Miami’s most since 1991.

The first half offense caught fans off guard for how effective it was. Miami ran 33 offensive plays and gained 281 yards in the half, an average of 8.5 yards-per-play. The Dolphins scored three times from the two-minute warning and finished with 30 points overall. It was just the third 30-point half since 2000 for the Dolphins.

Preston Williams Returning to Form in Dolphins Win over 49ers

Williams went from being an unheralded, undrafted fringe prospect, to one of the league’s most exciting rookie wideouts last season. But in November, Williams suffered a torn ACL which ended his year. Since, he’s been diligently working to regain his form and confidence.

And after an uneven start to 2020, Williams broke out in a big way against the 49ers. Williams caught four passes for a career-high 106 receiving yards and a touchdown. He had pair of plays over 30 yards, including the touchdown, as well as another 19-yard gain.

His ability to create separation and sore over smaller defenders to secure catches was something unseen from Williams since prior to his season-ending injury.

“I’m getting closer to that year mark with my knee,” Williams said. “I’m starting to get more comfortable out there … just trying to get back into that football shape and get me feet back under me. I know a lot earlier in the year I was falling off some routes. Now I’m starting to feel better every week.”

Pass Rush Gets Home, Helps Secondary in Dolphins Win over 49ers

The Dolphins entered Sunday’s contest with nine quarterback sacks, but they had struggled t contain mobile quarterbacks this season. San Francisco’s starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, coming off a high-ankle sprain, looked hobbled all day, and the Dolphins took advantage of that.

Miami teed off on 49er quarterbacks, bringing pressure and getting eight quarterback hits. That’s the second-highest total this season, behind the 10 QB hits against Jacksonville (the Dolphins other win this season).

Miami tallied five sacks on Sunday, the most in a game since 2018. Five different defenders registered a sack in this one: Jerome Baker, Emmauel Ogbah, Elandon Roberts, Zach Sieler and Andrew Van Ginkel. Ogbah and Van Ginkel each had a strip-sack.

The consistent pressure from the Dolphins defense forced San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan to make a change under center. The 49ers went with C.J. Beathard in the second half in an effort to protect Garoppolo.

This pressure helped the Dolphins secondary find its form in this one as well. The return of Byron Jones certainly helped, too. Xavien Howard picked up an interception in a third-straight game and Bobby McCain added one as well. Miami’s pass rush and secondary limited the 49ers to just 128 net passing yards, the fewest allowed by the Dolphins since 2018.

Jason Sanders Could Be Best K in Dolphins History

One of the clear bright spots through the inconsistent play early this season has been Jason Sanders. After a five-field goal performance in Week 4, Sanders followed that with another stellar effort in this one. He netted all five of his field goal tries and each of his four point-after attempts.

Sanders 14-for-14 start to the season broke a Dolphins record for most consecutive field goals made to open a season. Pete Stoyanovich (1990) and Olindo Mare (2001) shared the previous 13-for-13 mark to open a season for Miami.

Sanders has now netted his last 16 field goal attempts, going back to last season. That’s tied for third among most consecutive makes in franchise history. The record is 19 straight makes by Mare (1999). Sunday’s game marked the third time in Sanders’ career that he’s hit five field goals in a game, which set a new franchise record.

It Might Not Be Tua-Time Just Yet

On Wednesday, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said: “Right now, we feel like Fitz gives us the best chance to go out to California, complete and try to win a ballgame.” Those words seemed prophetic, considering Fitzpatrick’s performance and the Dolphins dominance overall.

Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-28 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 154.4, which is the second-highest mark in his 16-year career and the third-highest single-game mark in franchise history (Fielder, 156.0, at Dallas 2003; Tannehill, 155.3, v Oakland, 2018). Fitzpatrick has now thrown over 300 yards in five of his past seven games.

“People hate me, people love me, depending on the week,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Tua-time crowd will likely be silenced for a time after Fitzpatrick’s performance. Coming off an ineffective two interception game in a loss last week, the cries for Tua Tagovailoa grew louder. Some saw Week 5 as the chance to switch to Tagovailoa, but an injury to starting left tackle Austin Jackson may have slowed that momentum. And after his performance this week, Fitzpatrick is likely the starter for the foreseeable future.

Tagovailoa remains the backup for now, in part, because Flores believes Fitzpatrick gives the Dolphins the best chance to win. And with the shuffled schedule putting winnable games on tap, Miami will push for the playoffs.

Flores says he’s confident that should Tagovailoa be forced into a game that he could go in there and be effective, but he doesn’t feel the fifth overall pick is ready to take over as starter.

“I think (Tagovailoa) continues to improve every day,” quarterbacks coach Robby Brown said. “He comes in, he works hard from a mental perspective. He works hard from a physical perspective. He’s sitting under a really smart guy right now that helps him out. He asks good questions during the game sitting there listening to the play. Then when we come over and look at the pictures, he asks good questions, so I think his development, I’ve been pleased with it so far. It’s just … keep doing what he’s doing, and going in to prepare every single day. He’s done a good job with that.”

Tua impresses as second week of Dolphins training camp begins

Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa impresses with three touchdown passes to start the second week of Miami Dolphins training camp. As you would expect, the first week of NFL training camp has been a bit of a roller coaster ride, especially for the younger players. And although every player is sure to have it’s up and down moments, none gets more attention than those playing the most critical position on the roster–the quarterbacks.

After the first week of practice, we heard various reports on the 2020 5th-overall pick.

 

Towards the end of last week, a majority of the fanbase took an all-too-familiar stance. The Sky Is Falling.

Sure, it was only the 4th-padded practice.

And who cares about the horrific injury Tua suffered eight months ago.

Fans wanted results. They wanted to hear the same rave reviews that Joe Burrow was getting in Cincinnati.

Hell, some went as far as to question whether or not Tua was a unique talent.

With a weekend to regroup and a Sunday walk-through to help give the younger guys a sense of what’s to come in the next few weeks, Dolphins fans got exactly what they had hoped.

According to every beat writer in attendance for today’s practice, rookie QB had the best practice of his young NFL career.

 

Tua starting to turn heads

One play that has received the most attention from Monday’s practice is a 69-yard (nice) touchdown pass from Tua Tagovailoa to Malcolm Perry. Here’s a look at the play, which shows off Tagovailoa’s accuracy and showcases Perry’s abilities as a pass-catcher. Perfect throw and catch. https://twitter.com/MiamiDolphins/status/1297975843789168642?s=20

All other reports suggest that Mack Hollins was the recipient of not one, but TUA Tagovailoa touchdown passes. Which may spell the beginning of the end of the ridiculous ‘tUa Is oNlY goOd bEcAuSe oF hIs FiRSt RoUnD aLaBAmA wIdE ReCiEvErs” narrative.

Nevertheless, today is precisely what you want to hear about the rookie QB. The same QB that many of us have already concluded as the savior. But for Ryan Fitzpatrick–one of Tua’s most knowledgeable advisors, sometimes it’s just about getting better day in and day out. Here’s what Miami’s veteran signal-caller had to say about the promising young rookie.

“Yeah, he’s doing a great job and I know it’s your guys’ job to look at and evaluate every single day and every throw; but it’s something for us as quarterbacks and for me, I just like to see progress and sometimes it’s not necessarily a completion, but it’s the thought process and making sure the ball is going to the right spot at the right time. Sometimes there’s not going to be – some things are not going to look pretty, but it’s the right decision and that’s, for me, a step in the right direction.

#InTuaWeTrust

I know it’s easier said than done, but fans need to be extra patient with Tagovailoa. He is eight months removed from a devastating injury, and he’s going to take time to get acclimated to the NFL game. 2020 will be a season, unlike anything we’ve ever witnessed. So, let Ryan Fitzpatrick start week 1 vs New England.

Because soon enough, Tua Tagovailoa will be the Miami Dolphins starting QB. And there won’t be any turning back from there.

Miami Dolphins: Five takeaways from Tua Tagovailoa’s press conference

As football begins to get underway and we get a sense of the 2020 Miami Dolphins, one player in particular is on everybody’s mind. Tua Tagovailoa is ready to take over Miami.

Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little bit. Right now, he is not worried about taking over Miami. Right now, he just wants to play football.

That was evident when he met with South Florida media today. In an offseason unlike any other, the former Alabama star seems confident and ready to take the next step. That confidence and desire to play football bodes well for the franchise’s future.

How is he getting along with Ryan Fitzpatrick? Does he have confidence in the coaching staff?

Here are five takeaways from Tua Tagovailoa’s press conference .

Takeaway #1

What Tua said:

What I heard:

This may seem like a simple answer on Tua’s part, but to me, that tells me he is ready to go. He is focused on not only seeing the field in the 2020 season, but also winning the starting job. This is exactly what I would want to hear if I was a Dolphins fan. Right now, he is working hard to connect with his teammates and coaching staff. This sounds to me like he is ready to be a leader, and ready to start building that chemistry on the field already. For a player that is going to be counted on to be the franchise savior, these words should be comforting to say the least.

Takeaway #2

What Tua said:

“To be behind a professional like (Ryan Fitzpatrick) to me it’s kind of mind-boggling how down-to-earth he is. It’s one of those things where it’s, this guy gets it. I don’t know what it is, but he gets it and that saying goes true. It says ‘if you want to get somewhere fast, you go alone, but if you want to do it with purpose, then you bring people with you,’ and I think ‘Fitz’ has done a tremendous job in trying to help shape and mold me and Josh (Rosen) as well. So it’s been really cool to go through that process with him.”

What I heard:

Humbleness on the part of Tua. Although he may be the rookie sensation, he’s not acting like it. It seems like he is very appreciative of his opportunity to play for Miami, and it seems like the quarterback room is very supportive of each other. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been all over the National Football League. He’s carved out a long career, and he knows what it takes to be successful. Now, it seems like he is taking the Alabama star under his wing. He certainly is not a bad person for Tua to mentor from.

Takeaway #3

What I heard:

Tua will take any criticism in stride. This is needed to be a successful player in the National Football League, That’s exactly the type of approach you need to have. Particularly for a rookie, peaks and valleys are going to happen. That’s what happens over the course of a NFL season. If Tua can take it all in stride, than that will serve him well in facing the rigors of a National Football League season.

Takeaway #4

What Tua said:

“I think our coaches – I think they’re going to put the best 11 out there. Whether I’m in that lineup or not, I think they’ve done enough evaluation throughout the week, throughout the month and leadup to that game; so in that regard, I know they’re going to put the best out there.”

What I heard:

The quarterback trusts the coaching staff. To me, this is certainly a good sign because it indicates that all parties are on the same page. Tua trusts Brian Flores and his staff to be able to put the organization in the best positions to succeed. This level of trust could come in handy for both parties once Tua  takes over the starting job full-time.

Takeaway #5

What Tua said:

“I think the best way to handle (pressure) is really not pay attention to it, if that makes sense. Not being someone who just says, ‘oh I don’t like it, I don’t care about it.’ I understand that it’s there, but I just feel like the focus – the main focus – is just being able to get into my playbook, being able to – like I said – build relationships with the guys on the team and just focus on what we’ve got to do inside of the building. “

What I heard:

The quarterback understands that there are going to be high expectations placed on him. He is ready to handle the spotlight. He knows that he is going to be under a microscope, and he knows there is going to be a certain buzz around him. Right now, he just wants to play football. He is focused on learning the playbook and getting acclimated with his teammates. In short, he is focused on the Xs and Os and not the opinions of the masses.

Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ‘excited’ to work with Tua Tagovailoa

The 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was excited when he found out the Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.

Unlike some of the other teams that may have drafted a young signal-caller this offseason, the Dolphins currently have Ryan Fitzpatrick–a 17-year-veteran at the helm. And with an NFL offseason, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, there’s no need for Chris Grier and Brian Flores to rush Tua Tagovailoa into action. Not yet, anyway.

The truth is, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well enough in 2019 to lead Miami’s roster of misfits to five wins.

Couple that with his familiarity in Chan Gailey’s offense and the uncertain times which lie ahead, and it seems obvious Fitzpatrick is the starter for the immediate future.

But as a Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick is smart enough to understand that the young, promising rookie will take over. And he knows that may come sooner rather than later.

Fitzpatrick had to say about his relationship with Tua and the QB competition heading into camp.

I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH TIME IT’LL BE BEFORE TUA (TAGOVAILOA) IS IN THE LINEUP. I KNOW THAT I AM THE PLACEHOLDER AND WE’VE ALREADY HAD THAT CONVERSATION. I TOLD HIM I’M GOING TO DO THE BEST I CAN TO LEAD THIS TEAM AND TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES WHEN I’M OUT THERE AND WHENEVER IT IS THAT TUA GETS HIS CHANCE, WHETHER IT’S EARLY OR LATE OR WHENEVER IT IS, I’M GOING TO BE HIS BIGGEST CHEERLEADER AND THAT’S WHAT I SAID EARLIER; BUT I THINK I HAVE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE JUST FROM THE CAREER THAT I’VE HAD AND I WAS EXCITED THAT THEY DRAFTED HIM AND SINCE MEETING HIM IN PERSON FINALLY THE OTHER DAY, I’M REALLY EXCITED. I THINK WE’VE REALLY HIT IT OFF AND EVEN THOUGH I’M AN OLD GEEZER TO HIM, WE’VE MESHED PERSONALITY-WISE AND I’M EXCITED TO WORK WITH HIM.”

 

It is crystal clear that the Dolphins have spoken to Ryan Fitzpatrick about his role in 2020 and his importance in Tua’s development. I think it’s quite telling that he said the two QBs have already had the conversation about him being the placeholder. But like Fitz suggested countless times, he isn’t going just to lay down and let Tagovailoa take the starting QB job. The two players are going to do whatever they can to help the team win ball games–both on and off the field.

Fitzpatrick was then asked what it was about Tua’s personality that brought the two players together.

Here’s what the 37-year-old had to say.

“I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN HE’S A REALLY INTERESTING GUY. HE’S GOT A LOT OF ENERGY TO HIM AND YOU CAN JUST TELL THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO GRAVITATE TO HIM. THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT IS JUST VERY LIKABLE AND I CAN ALREADY TELL THAT HE’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT GETS ALONG WITH EVERYBODY, THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO WANT TO FOLLOW. HE JUST HAS THAT KIND OF AURA ABOUT HIM AND PART OF IT IS PROBABLY THE WAY THAT HE PLAYED IN COLLEGE AND JUST KIND OF THE NAME AND THE REPUTATION THAT HE’S BUILT FOR HIMSELF; BUT THERE’S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF EGO INVOLVED AND HE’S VERY LIKABLE. SO I DON’T KNOW, JUST THE GENERAL CONVERSATIONS WHETHER ABOUT FOOTBALL OR LIFE, IT’S BEEN REALLY FUN SO FAR.”

The 2020 NFL season is going to be like nothing we’ve ever experienced.

But one thing that should be interesting is watching the Dolphins QB room grow from one week to the next.

Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be Miami’s starting QB week 1 vs. the Patriots. But unless he continues where he left off in 2019–the Tua Tagovailoa era in South Florida is inevitable.

Five Takeaways from Brian Flores (Including Tua Cleared)

Earlier today, Brian Flores spoke with the media about QB Tua Tagovailoa, Covid-19, and the 2020 NFL season.

As players and coaches return to team facilities, one thing is clear. The beginning of the 2020 NFL season is officially upon us.

That’s right, folks.

Football is back.

And in an offseason without preseason, open practices, and other football activities–it’s going to be challenging to get a real grasp of this team and roster. This means we will have to rely heavily on the media and interviews with the players and coaches to dissect what is truly going on with this team.

So, today when Dolphins’ head coach Brian Flores met with South Florida media. Many were listening. What would the leader of the Miami Dolphins have to say about the many issues heading into the 2020 season? Covid-19? His rookie quarterback?

Here are five takeaways from Brian Flores press conference 

 

Takeaway #1

What coach said:

What I heard:

Tua is all systems go. Which is what we’ve heard over the last several months from Tua and his representatives. This, now being confirmed by the Dolphins, is enormous. Not only could he technically play IF he had to, but he’s ready to go out there and compete for the starting job. Which is exactly what he’ll do, according to Brian Flores. All that truly matters, however, is that Tagovailoa is ready to go.

Takeaway #2

What coach said:

What I heard: 

As we’ve become accustomed to, no job is truly safe. Flores wants the best players playing. And if a seasoned veteran gets dethroned by a hungry young rookie, the best player will play. That goes for every position, although all eyes will be on quarterback. Tua Tagovailoa will need to get acclimated to the system at a rapid pace, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be right next to him every step of the way. Miami won’t rush Tua, but if the better talent is expected, it play. It probably won’t be very long before that’s the Hawaiian Prince.

Takeaway #3

What coach said:

 

What I heard:

Football players are just like the rest of us. This means for the 2020 NFL season to start, sacrifices will have to be made. That goes for every coach, player, staff, and employee of the Miami Dolphins. Everyone should be wearing a mask, social distancing, and taking precautions to keep the players and their families safe.

Takeaway #4

What coach said:

What I heard:

This offseason is going to be different. Like I mentioned before, there is no preseason. Hell, the roster was cut to 80 players before teams could even report. It’s a different time. And a lot of these players are going to make the roster based on their reps in practice, drills, etc… Players have to earn their roster spot. It won’t be easy. Only the best will survive.

Takeaway #5

What coach said:

What I heard:

Xavien Howard will not be rushed back and is currently slated to start the season on the PUP list. X is making progress and has been rehabbing all summer, but may not be ready to play. Could this be the reason Miami drafted Noah Igbinoghene? Is Nik Needham the next guy up to play opposite of Byron Jones? Or could the Dolphins bring in Logan Ryan, a player Brian Flores is very familiar with? If Howard isn’t ready to go by week 1, things are going to look much different in Miami’s secondary.

Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins appear as ready as they can be for the 2020 NFL season to kickoff. And with lots of uncertainty surrounding the team, in the middle of a global pandemic, should make for one of the more memorable seasons in recent memory. Now, all we can do is sit back, relax, and get some popcorn ready. Football is here. And before we know it, the Tua Tagovailoa era will be upon us.

Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa officially signs rookie contract

The Miami Dolphins have locked up the future. According to Field Yates of ESPN.com, the Miami Dolphins have signed quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to a four-year contract worth over $30 million. The contract has a fifth-year team option.

Tagovailoa is viewed as the franchise quarterback for Miami. He put together a great career at the University of Alabama. With over 70,00 passing yards, 87 touchdowns, and one 3,000-yard season, Tagovailoa put together a solid career in Tuscaloosa. Now, he will look to be that same stabilizing force for Miami.

As of the time of publishing this article, he is the second top-10 pick to have signed a contract with his team. Derrick Brown of the Carolina Panthers is the other.

There has already been so much hype surrounding his arrival in Miami. From wearing the number one, to getting praise from Dan Marino, Tagovailoa has had a busy couple of months.

Now, the Miami Dolphins need to focus on signing their other two first-round picks. Austin Jackson and Noah Igbinoghene  are the other draft picks in question.

Miami Dolphins spending big this offseason

It’s reassuring that Miami has already signed Tagvailoa. Sometimes, rookie contracts can take a while to sign, and the negotiating process can take longer than expected. Especially with the uncertainty of the season, the fact that the Miami Dolphins were able to get this deal done quickly is certainly a positive.

According to a tweet from Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Tua is just the seventh-highest paid Dolphin. Interestingly enough, two of the players on the list were already on the team prior to this offseason. The rest on the list are new arrivals.

Now, the waiting game begins. No one knows for sure when Tagovailoa will make his debut. Some have speculated it could come in the second half of the season. Whatever the case may be, he is now officially in the fold.

Miami Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa set to wear No. 1 as new era begins

We finally have an idea as to what number new Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is going to wear. According to  the team, Tagovailoa is set to wear number one for Miami.

Cam Newton, Kyler Murray, and Warren Moon are some of the more recent quarterbacks to have worn the number.

Let us not forget that Randall Cunningham also wore this number towards the end of his career. He had quite an impressive career of his own.

 

The bottom line is, the number one carries a lot of weight. The exclusivity of the number itself means that  the Miami Dolphins are putting their trust in Tua.

In total, there have been 110 players who have worn number one. That certainly makes Tagovailoa’s jersey number even more special.

Tagovailoa war number 13 while at Alabama.  There was a debate in social circles whether or not the dolphins would  unretire Dan Marino’s number. However,  this announcement puts that debate to rest.

The Miami Dolphins are entering a new era

The Miami Dolphins are looking to enter a new era of football. The organization has received an overhaul this offseason. Tagovailoa is a big  part of this overhaul. He has certainly brought energy to the organization as the Miami Dolphins look to rise back to the top of the AFC East.

With this jersey number for the rookie, the Dolphins are making a statement. They believe Tua is the future of the organization. With the New England Patriots undergoing a rebuild in the post-Tom Brady era, the entire AFC East now has a chance to compete.

More so than any other team in the AFC East, the Buffalo Bills will undoubtedly be a thorn in the side of the Miami Dolphins for the foreseeable future. Hopefully, wearing number one, Tagovailoa will help bring the organization back to respectability and help them land a spot in the playoffs.