Dolphins movie examine: What the attainable absence of Tua Tagovailoa means for Miami’s offense



Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) units as much as move within the second quarter in opposition to the Green Bay Packers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on Sunday, December 25, 2022.

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One of the most effective halves of soccer Tua Tagovailoa has had lately — a 9-for-12, 229-yard, one-touchdown efficiency in opposition to the Green Bay Packers — was shortly negated by a disastrous fourth quarter.

Three consecutive interceptions from the Dolphins quarterback sunk Miami in a 26-20 loss, the group’s fourth consecutive loss.

Whether Tagovailoa will be capable of rebound in opposition to the New England Patriots on Sunday stays to be seen. On Monday, Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel introduced Tagovailoa had been positioned within the NFL’s concussion protocol after reporting signs.

McDaniel didn’t announce a starter for the important thing highway sport in Foxborough, Massachusetts; Miami can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a New York Jets loss to the Seattle Seahawks. If Tagovailoa is ready to play, he and McDaniel must discover options to the problems that led to the fourth-quarter collapse. If backup Teddy Bridgewater has to step in, McDaniel has to determine the right way to hold an offense that has been one of many league’s most effective models this season functioning.

“You just know that someone goes into the protocol and you have to be ready to really do whatever with that,” McDaniel stated Monday. “I know Teddy will prepare as though he’s starting and we’ll see as the week goes.”

Tagovailoa’s three-interception quarter introduced again questions — and issues — in regards to the state of a Dolphins offense that has regressed amid 4 consecutive losses. Analysts claimed Tagovailoa’s late-game struggles informed the story of a quarterback not studying defenses post-snap and as an alternative locking onto sure gamers. Comments from Packers coach Matt LaFleur aligned with these beliefs.

“We knew [Tua is] a guy that’s going to anticipate, he’s going to let the ball go,” he stated after the sport. “But if you can read the QB the right way, that also gives you some opportunities defensively.”

McDaniel pushed again when requested about these assertions.

“I think I’d be careful [with] the absolute anything,” he stated. “I think the bottom line is in the National Football League, players and coaches shouldn’t be surprised when outcomes aren’t what we’re going for in the first place. So you turn the ball over, you throw three interceptions and you have a fumble; a lot of conclusions can be drawn. It’s fair to draw them, but in my experience, absolutes in those regard or making it that simple; it’s a team game and you have to assess each and every decision, how did it happen? I know there’d be couple throws in particular that he’d love to have back. I know there’s at least one decision that appears to be pretty poor that other guys on the offense would take 100 percent accountability for, so a lot goes into it and I don’t think it’s always that simple.”

Tagovailoa stated his first interception was a foul move that he tried to recover from a Green Bay defender to vast receiver Tyreek Hill. Running again Raheem Mostert accepted the blame for the second choose, saying he ran the flawed route. But on the third and deciding interception, Tagovailoa appeared to stare down tight finish Mike Gesicki operating a nook path to the sideline from the slot. Cornerback Rasul Douglas, lined up reverse Hill on the boundary gave the impression to be operating with Hill throughout the sphere earlier than stepping away and returning to the flat, the place he undercut Tagovailoa’s move. Hill was open over the center of the sphere, although it’s unclear the place he fell in Tagovailoa’s development.

“[Douglas] baited them onto that throw,” Green Bay security Adrian Amos stated. “It was a China 7, [corner] route, and he got it.”

Should Bridgewater find yourself beginning, the Dolphins have an skilled quarterback, although one who hasn’t operated Miami’s offense wherever close to the effectivity of Tagovailoa. But Bridgewater’s temporary taking part in time this season has primarily come off the bench. After Tagovailoa was knocked out of the Week 4 sport in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals due to a concussion within the second quarter, Bridgewater accomplished 14 of 23 passes for 183 yards, one landing and a late interception on a possible go-ahead drive.

His first begin of the season, Week 5 in opposition to the New York Jets, was upended after one play; an unbiased licensed athletic coach (ATC) located in an upstairs sales space stated he stumbled and confirmed indicators of ataxia — abnormality of steadiness/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech — the brand new “no-go” symptom that bars a participant from returning to the sport.

Bridgewater returned to the sphere the following week in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings after rookie Skylar Thompson sustained a thumb harm within the second quarter. He accomplished 23 of 34 for 2 touchdowns and two interceptions within the 24-16 loss.

Despite the shedding streak, Tagovailoa’s anticipated factors per added (EPA) per play, a measure of effectivity that accounts for situational elements resembling down, distance and discipline place, solely path the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes amongst certified passers, in keeping with analytics web site

Bridgewater, who has simply 60 passing makes an attempt this season, would rank twenty second out of 34 quarterbacks together with his small pattern measurement. In his stints this season, Bridgewater has thrown the ball downfield simply as aggressively as Tagovailoa. Bridgewater’s common depth of goal is 9.3 yards, whereas Tagovailoa’s is 9.7 yards, although Bridgewater’s accuracy and anticipation might put a cap on the ceiling of the Dolphins’ passing sport.

A full week of first-team reps in observe ought to assist Bridgewater as McDaniel has typically emphasised the significance of timing in Miami’s offense. And just like the group’s early-season prep to play with out Tagovailoa, Bridgewater’s finest pal in opposition to a Patriots protection permitting the fifth-fewest factors might be a dependable operating sport and blocking, neither of which he was afforded in opposition to the Bengals and Vikings. Two of the group’s three-highest allowed strain charges this season got here in opposition to Cincinnati and Minnesota, in keeping with TruMedia. And in these matchups, Miami averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

“I mean, that’s one of the reasons you go and aggressively pursue a player like Teddy Bridgewater,” McDaniel stated.

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Daniel Oyefusi covers the Dolphins for the Miami Herald. A local of Towson, Maryland, he graduated from the University of Maryland: College Park. Previously, he lined the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.


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