No more excuses for Tua Tagovailoa after Dolphins trade for Tyreek Hill

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa may seem like a bust as a top-five 2020 NFL Draft pick, but having Tyreek Hill could boost Tua’s stats.

On the surface, Tua Tagovailoa has not performed as expected as the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even though it’s not uncommon to see top quarterback draft picks turn out to be busts, the prevailing response is to try to equip young quarterbacks with the best possible weapons.

The Dolphins have committed to surrounding Tua with an ideal situation, pairing him with college teammate Jaylen Waddle, seasoned halfbacks Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert, and now teaming him up with Tyreek Hill.

If Tua can’t make something of that, he could be out as early as 2023.

Tua is going to have to get well above a winning record this season and prove that he can make the Dolphins a perennial contender in the postseason, and Hill alone is not going to fix every offensive problem.

The main critique of Tua is he ranks low in deep throws, which is going to be confronted with the presence of Hill. Although Tagovailoa proved he can throw deep in college, he needs the opportunity to complete those deep passes more frequently in the NFL. His offensive line and offensive scheme haven’t provided him that thus far.

Still, there are many stats that illustrate how capable Tua is of becoming a top NFL quarterback. He ranked third behind Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady in time to throw per dropback, according to PFF. Tua was second behind Kyler Murray in completion percentage (70.9 percent), but he ranked 2.5 completion percent over expectation over the last two seasons. That ranks him 18th among 43 qualifying quarterbacks since the start of 2020.

While Mike McDaniel can change the offensive scheme, Tagovailoa’s decision-making—which is an entirely different level in the NFL— also needs work as the young quarterback still struggles with making consistently solid reads.

Tua Tagovailoa needs to step up his game in 2022 with Tyreek Hill

The reason that some chalk up Tagovailoa’s time in Miami as a collection of excuses is because there have been many variables that contributed to Dolphins losses beyond Tagovailoa.

Miami has had a quick-passing, run-pass option offense, which didn’t afford much opportunity for the deep ball. The Dolphins offensive line has also been one of the worst in the NFL since Tua’s rookie season, which is why Miami pursued Terron Armstead in free agency.

Clearly, the Dolphins are looking to change the offensive and compliment Tua as much as possible. Improving their offensive line, offering more running back options, and landing another deep threat to compliment Waddle will give Tua time and opportunity to throw deep and make big plays the way he did at Alabama. Having Mike McDaniel’s genius and their newly-acquired weapons gives the Dolphins one of the most exciting rosters in 2022.

But in order to make the most of what the Dolphins are giving him, Tagovailoa is still going to have to work on his execution this year, because the presence of Hill means the end of any excuses.