Tua’s preseason Dolphins debut was most spectacular hours earlier, alone in an empty stadium | Opinion


Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws a whole move to operating again Chase Edmonds (2) within the first quarter throughout recreation towards the Las Vegas Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, August 20, 2022.

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The most spectacular factor concerning the Miami Dolphins on Saturday evening of their second preseason recreation recreation occurred 4 1/2 hours earlier, in an empty Hard Rock Stadium, on an empty area however for one man.

There was quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, in shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt, at mid-afternoon, by himself, doing dropbacks and going by his progressions with out a soccer. Shadow passing.

“That says everything,” new coach Mike McDaniel would comment later, after the 15-13 house loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. “That’s why his teammates are confident in him. That’s why I’m confident in him. That’s why his coaching staff is.”

Said Tagovailoa: “All the little details. Going through all my progressions…”

It was becoming that the bizarre preparation, psychological fine-tuning and visualization by Tagovailoa was not one thing Dolphins followers might see.

Here is what additionally they will not be seeing this preseason:

Their group. In full. With all its potential on show.

Didn’t see it in final week’s exhibition win in Tampa. Didn’t see it Saturday. Likely gained’t see it subsequent Saturday both within the fake-game finale vs. Philly.

The Dolphins are the present you’ll be able to’t unwrap and revel in but, you’ll be able to solely think about what’s inside.

Christmas morning will come September 11 at Hard Rock towards the New England Patriots..

Ever NFL preseason is inscrutable on this manner, one’s full group seen in fleeting glimpses if in any respect, however this yet another than standard, the exhibition video games diminished from 4 to 3 and McDaniel’s apparent precedence to determine lower-tier roster spots fairly than showcase his starters.

So probably the most notable revelation of this preseason, two video games in, is that third-string QB Skylar Thompson may be actually good. He was the star final week after which Saturday accomplished 9 of 10 passes, certainly one of them accounting for Miami’s lone landing.

Might Thompson , the seventh-round draft select of Kansas State, and old-ish rookie at 25, even have an opportunity to beat Teddy Bridgewater for the backup job? No, virtually definitely not. But there isn’t a lot actual drama in watching backups play in video games that don’t rely, so why not think about a little bit!

The one factor most Dolfans ache to see — Tagovailoa going deep to new receiving sensation Tyreek Hill, in an actual recreation not on a follow area — continues to be hidden within the gift-wrap. Hill was a late scratch and didn’t play (once more). Receiver Jaylen Waddle hasn’t performed this preseason, both. Nor has key free-agent signing Terron Armstead, the left deal with.

Tagovailoa did play, barely, finishing six of eight passes for 58 yards even sans his two greatest receivers.

“I was really happy with Tua because he’s been having such a good camp just in his development and ownership of the offense,” mentioned McDaniel. Saturday, added the coach, “He commanded the huddle.”

If there s a priority concerning the Dolphins, two pretend video games in, for me it’s the sputtering floor recreation, which is the forte’ of McDaniel, the run-game whisperer.

Saturday Miami garnered a mere 37 yards from 18 carries, and the numbers would have been a lot sorrier if not for one 12-yard run by Salvon Ahmed, who could discover it robust to make the ultimate roster.

Again, although, it’s August, and McDaniel isn’t displaying his full hand.. Four of 5 offensive line starters did play Saturday, however not the perfect one (Armstead), and never for lengthy. Starting again Chase Edmonds performed, however not a lot., although sufficient to remind he’ll be as harmful on the receiving finish as operating. Raheem Mostert and his blur-speed didn’t play.

Cornerback is one other potential concern space, after Trill Williams was misplaced for the season injured final week. But prime nook Xavien Howard has not performed in any respect this preseason, and the opposite beginning CB, Byron Jones, nonetheless is combating again by an ankle damage and hasn’t performed.

The operating recreation/offensive line and the defensive backfield look like the areas of concern by two exhibitions. Except neither is. Not but. Not when Armstead, Mostert, Howard, Jones and others are nonetheless items but to be unwrapped.

The overarching query concerning the Dolphins is what it’s been the previous two years: How good can Tua Tagovailoa be and what is going to it take to get him there?

Saturday afternoon, alone in an empty stadium, when no person was watching, mentioned a lot even because it occurred in silence. It certain impressed his head coach.

When the third-year quarterback is in an actual recreation, with the 100-catch Waddle and Hill, The Cheetah, each amongst his targets — solely then will we start to see the complete flourishing.

We haven’t seen it but, however quickly. Soon the present wrap comes off and the current, and future, lastly arrives.

Greg Cote is a Miami Herald sports activities columnist who in 2021 was named prime 10 in column writing by the Associated Press Sports Editors. Greg additionally hosts The Greg Cote Show podcast and seems repeatedly on The Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz.

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