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#pounditThursday, April 22, 2021

Tua Tagovailoa

Ryan Fitzpatrick has high praise for Tua Tagovailoa

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly does not share the growing concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s long-term viability as an NFL quarterback.

Fitzpatrick appeared on “The Ross Tucker Football Podcast” on Monday and showered praise on Tagovailoa, who he worked with on the Miami Dolphins in 2020.

“The two things that really stick out to me about Tua is he has elite accuracy; that’s very important,” Fitzpatrick said, via Brad Sullivan of DolphinNation. “And he throws with anticipation and that is something you don’t see with quarterbacks coming from college to the NFL.

“I’m a huge Tua fan. My kids love Tua. Sometimes they play with him on Madden. Sometimes they play with me. I’m looking forward to big things from him. I think he’s going to do great. As far as being a leader or guys people can follow, he has all those qualities.”

Fitzpatrick preached patience with Tagovailoa, pointing out that Tagovailoa was a rookie in 2020 and still went 6-3 as starter.

There have been reports that some of Tagovailoa’s Dolphins teammates have doubts about the quarterback. That may be true of the organization as well, as they appear willing to try to upgrade at the position. Maybe Fitzpatrick disagreeing with that — as someone who has worked closely with Tagovailoa — means something to them.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

DeVonta Smith had interesting answer when asked about favorite Alabama QB

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith had ample experience playing with a pair of future NFL quarterbacks at Alabama, and he appears to have weighed in on which of them he prefers.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, Smith was asked by one team at the Senior Bowl which quarterback he preferred: Mac Jones or Tua Tagovailoa. Smith said he preferred Jones, and was “bold and definitive about it.”

Considering all the hype Tagovailoa came to the NFL with, this answer might count as a bit of a surprise. That’s especially true when you remember that Jones has flown under the radar for most of his college career, as well as throughout the draft process.

Teams appear to be buying into Jones ahead of the draft. Smith’s opinion may end up being shared by some NFL teams by April at this rate.

Tua Tagovailoa shares thoughts on Deshaun Watson trade rumors

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick less than a year ago, but there has already been talk that they could include the former Alabama star in a blockbuster trade.

During an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Thursday morning, Tagovailoa was asked about the rumors linking Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins. He said he is only focusing on things are are in his control.

“I can control what I can control. I’m the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins,” Tagovailoa said. “Really, I’m just looking forward to being the best version of myself, looking at getting better this offseason and just helping our team win games next year.”

Tagovailoa made similar remarks when he appeared on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” earlier in the day. The 22-year-old was asked if he believes he is the franchise quarterback the Dolphins have been searching for.

“I would say yes,” Tagovailoa said. “What I can do is just control what I can control. My focus is being the best person that I can be. Working hard. Making this Year 1 to Year 2 jump in the NFL.”

If the Houston Texans decide to fulfill Watson’s trade request, the Dolphins are viewed as a suitor. Watson has a full no-trade close, and he is reportedly very open to playing in Miami. If the Texans could get Tagovailoa and several high draft picks in a potential Watson deal, they might be interested.

At least one other team is expected to aggressively pursue Watson, so Tagovailoa is taking the right approach. It’s still unlikely that he’s traded, and he needs to prepare as though he’s Miami’s starter going into 2021.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Dolphins’ new QB coach has Tua Tagovailoa connection

Tua Tagovailoa

It seems the Miami Dolphins may have had Tua Tagovailoa very much in mind when hiring their new quarterbacks coach.

Multiple reports Saturday indicated that the Dolphins will hire Central Michigan offensive coordinator Charlie Frye as their new quarterbacks coach. Frye, a former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks, also has a preexisting connection to Tagovailoa, as outlined by NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks.

In other words, the Dolphins don’t seem to have any intention of going away from Tagovailoa. Speculation had increased recently about a trade for a big-name quarterback, but if Miami is this committed to Tagovailoa, that seems unlikely to be a priority.

The 22-year-old Tagovailoa threw for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and five interceptions last season. For all the promise he’s shown, it seems he still has to win over some of his teammates. Perhaps Frye can help with that.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Report: Some Dolphins players have doubts about Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins are committed to Tua Tagovailoa as the team’s starting quarterback in 2021, but they may have to do some selling to some of their players on that front.

Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald spoke to three Dolphins players who felt that guaranteeing Tagovailoa the starting quarterback job was premature, and admitted that they felt he had not shown enough in 2020 to receive such a guarantee.

The players told Salguero that they were unimpressed with Tagovailoa during training camp, and were “caught totally off guard” when he was abruptly named the starter in Week 7. The players even said they questioned whether Tagovailoa had any special skills beyond his accuracy, and one openly admitted to being frustrated when he was told that Tagovailoa would have to play in place of Ryan Fitzpatrick during the season finale against Buffalo.

“We always think next man up no matter what,” the player told Salguero. “But I saw Tua as the next man up because Fitz was better.”

The players made clear they have nothing against Tagovailoa and like him as a person and a teammate, but questioned why the Dolphins were so willing to publicly commit to Tagovailoa as starting quarterback while simultaneously pledging to have competition for every position.

“I don’t know, man, that’s like a puzzle right there,” one player said.

The Dolphins did largely look better on offense with Fitzpatrick under center, and Tagovailoa was getting benched mid-game as late as Week 16. It was quite puzzling to see the Dolphins bench Tagovailoa in key games with playoff implications, only to go right back to him as starter the next week.

It may be that Tagovailoa skepticism is helping fuel trade rumors like this.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Tua Tagovailoa benched amid struggles during close game

Tua Tagovailoa

Brian Flores continued his trend of benching Tua Tagovailoa when he feels he’s not getting enough out of his quarterback.

Tagovailoa was benched during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s Miami Dolphins game against the Raiders in Las Vegas. The Dolphins were trailing 16-13 at the time. Tagovailoa had played the entire game up to that point and was 17/22 but only had passed for 94 yards and a touchdown.

Though Tagovailoa led a touchdown drive to start the third quarter, the Dolphins’ offense went 3-and-out three straight times after that. The Raiders seemed to have Miami’s number at that point, which may be why Flores made the switch to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick immediately led a 13-play, 84-yard drive that resulted in a field goal. The Dolphins should have had a touchdown on the drive, but Mike Gesicki dropped a pass in the end zone.

Tagovailoa was also benched during a loss to Denver in which he struggled.

Flores is in a tough spot as he is trying to get his team into the playoffs while also allowing the franchise a chance to see how its rookie quarterback looks. Sometimes it’s in the team’s best interest to let Fitzpatrick play.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Tua Tagovailoa reached out to Joe Burrow after season-ending injury

Tua Tagovailoa

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow heard from one of his important counterparts after suffering his season-ending ACL injury.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said he’d reached out to Burrow after the No. 1 overall pick went down for the season on Nov. 22, and said he’s rooting for Burrow to return as quickly as possible.

“Injuries like that are never fun,” Tagovailoa said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. “I know he’d love to be able to go out there and compete against us. I sent him my prayers. I wish him the best.”

Tagovailoa knows a thing or two about severe injuries. He suffered an ugly hip injury last season that ended his college career at Alabama. He was drafted fifth overall anyway, and ended up taking over the starting job for Miami during the season.

There’s some encouraging thinking about Burrow’s long-term recovery. Maybe he can use Tagovailoa as a blueprint for his return.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Tua Tagovailoa downgraded to doubtful for Week 12

Tua Tagovailoa

After participating in limited practice during the week, Tua Tagovailoa apparently is not where the Miami Dolphins need him to be physically.

Tagovailoa has been limited by a thumb injury on his throwing hand during the week. He had been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, but was downgraded to doubtful on Saturday. Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely get the start against his former team.

The news comes as a bit of a surprise, as up until Saturday there was cautious optimism that Tagovailoa would be fine to play. It became clear, however, that the thumb was not responding the way Tagovailoa needed it to.

It’s been a very up-and-down week for the rookie quarterback. He was benched during last Sunday’s game, with coach Brian Flores making clear that it was due to performance. Tagovailoa was given assurances that he would be returned as starter for Week 12, but now injuries have derailed that. It will be interesting to see if Fitzpatrick’s performance Sunday, good or bad, has any bearing on the team’s quarterback situation moving forward.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 11

Tua Tagovailoa

We are moving toward the part of the season where every game is decisive and every mistake is magnified in the NFL. Coaches are now starting to sweat it out as their seats get hotter, and teams are seeing their playoff hopes get slimmer and slimmer depending on how they do. In other words, the stakes are high.

So who isn’t living up to expectations? Here are five disappointments from Week 11.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

It’s fair to ask if the Dolphins went to Tagovailoa prematurely. He struggled on Sunday, throwing for just 83 yards before being benched in a move that coach Brian Flores explicitly said was down to performance. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t lead the Dolphins to a comeback, but the team received a bit of a jolt when he came in. Tagovailoa isn’t passing well enough right now. The Dolphins are still in a solid position, but the quarterback needs to improve.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

Jackson came into the 2020 season talking about how motivated he was to go even further after the Ravens’ playoff loss last year. A rematch with the same Tennessee Titans team that knocked them out should have been a chance to make a statement. Instead, it showed just how much work they have to do. Jackson missed two opportunities for touchdown passes and threw for just 186 yards. Dez Bryant, signed off the street, was the team’s second-leading receiver with 28 yards. The offense is broken, and these postgame quotes didn’t inspire much confidence either.

Detroit Lions

The Carolina Panthers do not have a great defense. The Detroit Lions have enough talent on offense to at least be competent. Instead, the Lions got shut out, and their season is now circling the drain. Matt Patricia increasingly looks like a dead man walking. It never needed to get this bad in Detroit, but the franchise has completely lost its way — not that it was ever that close to figuring it out anyway. It’s time, once again, for wholesale changes.

New England Patriots’ defense

Deshaun Watson is entirely capable of hurting anyone, but the Patriots’ defense was brutal on Sunday. Their performance is even harder to excuse when considering the Texans essentially had the run game taken away from them. That meant Watson was passing a lot, and the Patriots couldn’t stop it. Watson threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, then added a third rushing touchdown. In the end, Houston put up 399 total yards and 27 points. That won’t do against a team that has been struggling all year.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers

Sunday was cruel for Valdes-Scantling, who made a big catch late in the fourth quarter to get the game to overtime in the first place. However, the wide receiver made a huge mistake in overtime, fumbling away the ball after a catch to essentially set the Colts up for a win. It was, quite literally, a game-changing turnover, and he was visibly upset on the sideline afterward. He has the backing of his quarterback, but that’s unlikely to make him feel any better.

Tua Tagovailoa was benched for performance but will keep starting job

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa’s poor performance on Sunday got him benched late in Miami’s loss to Denver, but it apparently won’t be permanent.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed after Sunday’s game that Tagovailoa was benched for performance reasons, not injury. However, Flores added that Tagovailoa will still keep his starting job in Week 12 against the New York Jets.

Tagovailoa was just 11/20 for 83 yards and a touchdown when he was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. Fitzpatrick got the Dolphins within a touchdown, but threw a late interception to seal Miami’s fate. There was speculation that Tagovailoa had suffered an injury, but Flores made clear that was not the case.

It sounds like Flores tried to give his team a jolt by bringing Fitzpatrick in. It almost worked. Even if Tagovailoa is set to start in Week 12, expect this to raise questions about the Dolphins’ quarterback situation going forward.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.