Before I start, i’m the biggest Tua fan there is. I cannot wait to cry real tears when he throws his first touchdown pass in the aqua. But that being said, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Dolphins struggled in week 1 against the Pats, and putting Tua in won’t fix those issues.
Having watched Burrow run for his life on Thursday night, with a line that looks like it’s made out of paper mache, I don’t want to see Tua go through that. He’d stand up to the challenge, but there’s no need. We’re still rebuilding.
Before we get into any of this, let’s remember that it’s been one week, in season two of a complete rebuild, with a complete overhaul of the roster, which has not yet played together. No pre season, limited game style situations. COVID has really affected the pre season work we’ve been able to put in. Every assumption and ‘take’ on the Dolphins is currently an overreaction. We need to see a lot more. And we’re not going to be a 12-4 team this year, we shouldn’t expect to be. Dolphins fans are instantly over reacting and calling for Tua, and I bet many of them are the same fans who were over reacting and crying when we drafted him because he’s ‘injury prone’ and all that nonsense. Right…
Fitz was not good in week 1, that much was apparent, he did look like a back up playing starter. It was average QB play at best. But I don’t think we should have been expecting anything different all of a sudden.
The Patriots defence was heavily depleted. Nobody in the league was hit as heavily as the Patriots were with opt outs (8) and off season moves combined. No Patrick Chung, the starting strong safety, no Dont’a Hightower, starting line backer and stand out on their defence. Kyle Van Noy now plays for us, so he was there but… not in a Patriots uniform, and he wasn’t exactly influential for us either.
So to see us go out on offence and struggle against their passing defence, was a bit of a shame. That being said, I’m confident in saying that our receivers room is not up to scratch, and I believe that when you now look at the team as a whole, pretty much everything else has been addressed. So the receivers need to be a priority.
Fitz threw three picks, of which one was a horrible read. The other two, the first picked off by Gilmore, and the third picked off in the end zone by JC Jackson, were both throws into tight coverage. The receiver didn’t get open, and Fitz threw the ball up hoping his guy could make a play. Tua is not going to throw many of those, he’s not a Jameis Winston where 30 touchdowns is going to cost you 30 interceptions. He threw 87 touchdowns and only 11 picks in college for a reason. He’s not the type of quarterback to throw prayers and hope for the best. Everything about Tua is more disciplined than that, and his dad certainly isn’t going to allow him to become a turnover machine in the NFL. If you know Tua, and you’ve watched as much about him as I have, that’s just not the type of quarterback he’s going to be. Which means… he’s going to get hit. If you can’t get receivers open, Tua’s going to take some hits in the backfield, which of course is inevitable anyway, but we want to avoid forcing that situation while he’s learning in his rookie season. So before we put him in, we need to get right at receiver.
Receiver Room is… meh
DeVante Parker looked like he’s going to pick up where he left off last season, which is exactly what I hoped would happen. Outside of that, it’s a whole bunch of what ifs and question marks. Preston Williams looked great last year before he got hurt, and the undrafted free agent was creating a lot of wow moments that had us thinking he might be the next diamond in the rough for our team, but that is yet to be confirmed, and we’ll only know more about him as this season begins to unfold. I have high hopes for him! But he’s still developing and is short of game time in the league, the injury last season was a real shame for him and I hope it doesn’t slow his momentum. At 6’5, he could be the big target compliment to Parker.
Then it’s Jakeem Grant and Isaiah Ford, who’ve now both been in the league long enough for us to get a grasp of what they’re going to be. Are they cemented starters? Not for me. Jakeem has done wonders on kick return, and I know he’s trying to take that next step to become a top quality receiver too, but he’s not quite Tyreek Hill. They’re good receivers, but they can also find themselves locked up in a hurry. Ford, a 7th rounder in 2017, has stuck with the team over the last few years, but we waived him in 2018, before bringing him back on the practice squad. We waived him again in 2019… and resigned him to the practice squad. Which kinda tells you everything you need to know, up until this point. I like Ford & Grant, but there is certainly a lot left to be desired in the receivers room. Grant is a return specialist for me, and Ford is great depth, but neither are the three spot/slot receiver starter for me. Grant could develop into that this season, maybe. But it’s a big maybe.
So when you consider our number 2 is a question mark, and our number 3 is a question mark… that only leaves you with Parker as a sure bet to either get himself open, or go and make a play. When you watch Deandre Hopkins, in his very first game for the Cardinals, he was open, every damn play. He had 16 catches and like 150 yards in the end. The difference somebody like that makes to an offence, and a young quarterback, is invaluable. I know D Hop is a dime a dozen, but we could be doing a lot better. Some of it is most definitely the scheme, which is also something that seems to have a lot left to be desired. At least that’s the way it looked in week 1.
Mike and Myles
I’d like to touch on Mike Gesicki though briefly, who i had penned as the perfect addition for us back in 2018, and was thrilled to see us draft him in the second round. He stood out for me at Penn State, and the All Big Ten tight end is coming on leaps and bounds in Miami. I’d go as far as saying he might be the most exciting development in the whole team at this stage. Either him or Jerome Baker. He needs to be a little more physical, but he’s a guy you can throw the ball up to, and trust that he’s going to come back with it over a DBs head. You still need to put the ball in the right place though Fitz.
A couple of other things I liked offensively, Myles Gaskin, and the young offensive linemen. Gaskin had the most carries on Sunday, and he looked nice. I was a fan of the pick when we took him late out of Washington, as he was an exciting young back in college, and a good player to take a chance on late in the draft. I wanted to see more of him last year, and was pleased to see him earn a roster spot this season. I do however attribute the majority of the carries situation to the fact that he’s more familiar with the playbook than Breida, and Jordan Howard looks like he’ll serve as more of a power back, which was evident when he punched the touchdown in. I believe Breida will likely take the starting role over time, but I’d love to see Gaskin in there taking reps, and he definitely helped his own case on Sunday.
The line looked good, in parts. Still room for improvement, but I was honestly expecting it to be terrible. At least early on. Austin Jackson, who is the 5th youngest human in the league, makes his rookie debut week 1 and he looked comfortable, which is EVERYTHING we want to see, and I’d love to see him develop into the long term replacement for Tunsil, with a tonne less penalties, ideally. At just 21 years old, the future is bright for him. Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt also made rookie debuts on the inside, and considering the age and experience of the line, and the fact that it’s basically a whole new unit, I was impressed. Fitz only took one sack the whole game, good job young men.
We spent this offseason and the vast majority of the draft building up the trenches. That much was evident on Sunday. For me the issue was the receivers & the scheme. When you don’t necessarily have the talent, you at least need to be able to scheme your guys open, before you throw in your rookie quarterback. We scored 11 points, which is not going to win you football games.
Fans weren’t happy with this, and twitter is already questioning the role of Chan Gailey, who came out of retirement back in January to run the offence in south beach. Let’s not over react, as Miami fans seem to be particularly good at, and let’s give the team some time. COVID has hindered off season work, and for a team that’s about 98% new rookies and free agents, we’re going to need to put that work in.
Let’s remember that this is season 2 of a complete destroy everything and rebuild it from the ground. The trenches were the focus, and now we need to turn our attention to giving Tua the weapons he needs to be the elite quarterback he was at Alabama.
Adding some talent…
I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see us go and get an elite receiver for a draft pick before the deadline. Somebody who isn’t happy where they are, or might be surplus to requirements. A few names that have been thrown around, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson. JuJu is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Odell hasn’t necessarily worked out yet in Cleveland, and Stefanski might see getting some value back for him as a positive considering their offence is completely loaded. Allen Robinson removed every Bears reference from his social media accounts last week, which sparked rumours. Robinson hasn’t yet received an extension, and his contract runs out at the end of the season. He has since said he doesn’t want to be traded, so maybe they can work it out in Chicago.
I just think, considering the draft capital we have, and the cap space we’ve got, it’s the perfect storm to go and spend a 2nd or a third rounder, on a receiver either due a big contract, or already on one, and snagging someone like JuJu or Odell. If it happens, i’m having a street party.
I believe we’ll also address the receiver spot in the draft this year, and i’d go as far as saying it’ll be the first position we select. Ja’Marr Chase was the best receiver in the draft last year, and will be a top 10 pick, Jaylen Waddle is extremely exciting to watch, and should also be a mid round first rounder, and Rashod Bateman from Minnesota is another that I really like. I can see us doing a Denver Broncos, where you’ve spent a couple of years getting everything else together, building the line, putting your quarterback in place, and then adding a Jeudy and a KJ Hamler, in rounds 1 and 2 in the draft to go along with our new hall of fame QB Tua Tagovailoa.
In short, don’t rush Tua in. Figure out the scheme, do some work on the receiver room, and let it all come together naturally. Tua will play this season, that much is for certain, but crikey, give it a few more weeks.
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