The Miami Dolphins have a talented roster, and they should have a real shot at reaching the NFL playoffs this season.
But the Dolphins will likely only go as far as quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will take them.
Although he has shown flashes of excellence in his two pro seasons, there are still plenty of questions surrounding him.
But new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel recently had some high praise for his starting signal-caller.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 18, 2022
“The skill set [is] crazy. I mean, the dude is right-handed. You hear me? He’s right-handed but he throws lefty,” McDaniel started.
“… It’s the most accurate, catchable ball I’ve ever seen.”
Tagovailoa Has Been Slow To Develop
The Dolphins took Tagovailoa, a native of Hawaii, with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
As a rookie, he wasn’t impressive, managing just 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns, and a meager 87.1 passer rating in 10 games, nine of which he started.
Last season, he got off to a slow start, missing four of his first nine contests, mostly due to fractured ribs, and when he did play, he was a mixed bag.
But during the second half of the schedule, he started to come on strong, going over 200 passing yards in four of his final seven games.
Miami won eight of its last nine contests, and although it didn’t reach the playoffs, it gave fans hope for the 2022 campaign.
One concern people have about Tagovailoa is his ability to connect on deep passes downfield.
However, there are some encouraging stats in that department.
On deep passes in 2021, Tua Tagovailoa ranked:
1st in EPA/att
1st in success rate & comp %
1st in YPA
— Sharp Football Analysis (@SharpFBAnalysis) August 14, 2022
Some also question his accuracy in certain situations, but Hill feels that isn’t an issue.
Tyreek Hill on his new teammate, former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa:
“…Tua is that dude. Patrick Mahomes has the strongest arm, but I’m going with Tua all day in terms of accuracy.” pic.twitter.com/TPa5ePGEsZ
— Sidelines – Bama (@SSN_Alabama) June 11, 2022
Tyreek Hill is a big fan of Tua Tagovailoa's accuracy and ball placement. pic.twitter.com/rcnynxGcpg
— Touchdown Alabama (@TDAlabamaMag) March 24, 2022
How Far Could Miami Go With A Competent Tagovailoa?
If Tagovailoa starts to put it all together in his third season, which is regarded as a huge year for young QBs, the Dolphins can be very competitive.
They have two very capable wideouts, a solid tight end in Mike Gesicki, and one of the best corners in the game in Howard.
There are some holes on the roster, especially on the defensive side of the football, but this is a very solid roster.
The Buffalo Bills are almost a certainty to win the AFC East, but the Dolphins can compete hard with the New England Patriots for second place, which would give them a real shot at the playoffs.
Miami hasn’t been to the postseason since 2016, and it has made the playoffs only twice in the last 20 seasons.
Tagovailoa looked fairly good in its preseason contest on Saturday versus the Las Vegas Raiders.
Although the team lost 15-13, he was successful on 6-of-8 passes for 58 yards and a decent passer rating of 94.8.
This could be the season that either makes or breaks Tagovailoa’s budding NFL career.