Happened to see a clip of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa making the rounds, where he’s at the podium dealing with the latest line of questioning about his individual job performance.
See, the assertion by many Tua haters is that he can’t function without Tyreek Hill. The proof of this came in the form of Tyreek getting injured in the stunning collapse of a loss to the Titans, and how the Dolphins couldn’t adjust to, you know, losing the best receiver in football in the middle of a game.
What happened this past week, you ask? ICYMI, Tua completed 21 of 24 passes for 224 yards and a TD on the Jets’ supposed elite defense. Mind you, the Jets have an elite defensive front, and the Dolphins are playing pretty much all backups on their o-line.
Is that any good? And yet here Tua is at the podium, getting all these exhausting inquiries about how much credit he deserves for balling out. He finally let everyone have it.
Tua Tagovailoa: “I keep receipts.”
Dolphins QB responds to the narrative that he only plays well when Tyreek Hill is in the lineup with him.
Folks are confused by what he said, so I’m here to clarify, or at least present a less muddy picture based on my take.
How do you “keep receipts” but also not care at all about what outsiders say? PFN’s Adam Beasley is on to something here:
Couple of other quick final points on Tua Tagovailoa's "I Don't Care" news conference. 1. He didn't bring up his critics, unprompted. He was asked about them. 2. My sense is his frustration is less about the criticism itself, but rather having to answer for moronic takes weekly. https://t.co/8LVO5tKeAg
Right. So everyone left Tua for dead once Tyreek went down in the Titans game. Then I loved how Tua hinted that some of the narratives he has heard from a Fins staffer who keeps him briefed on such trivialities. Baffling, hilarious nonsense.
“I understand that my platform and who I am in this league as a quarterback, if you want, polarizing. Whether I’m the best, whether I’m the worst, I could care less. I don’t listen to it.
“[…] I keep receipts. We all have a way of how we do things. But like….all the narratives about it? Yeah sure, I’m only good with Tyreek. You’re right. That is the only time I’m at my best. You’re right. I’m only good when Jaylen [Waddle] is in.
I could care less about it. Like sure, if Jaylen and those guys are out, I’m only as good as Raheem Mostert allows me to be. If that’s what the narrative needs to be, and we’re able to win games and we’re about to go where we want to go as a team, I am the worst football player! If that’s what you want.
“[…] Take clips out of what I just said. Do what you need to do. I’m just here to do my job, and my job is to help our guys win.”
The weekly microwaved overreactions are what help the NFL sustain such a high level of popularity. That said, it cuts both ways. People want to freak out from one bad game, or one bad performance. Big-picture thinking across multiple years of the NFL is uncommon in the era of HOT TAKES, never mind big-picture thinking within a single season. Or even week to week.
Jets QB Zach Wilson was AFC Offensive Player of the Week in his start before facing the Dolphins. As we saw, Miami blew a 14-point lead with, what, three minutes left against the Titans? They came out and won 30-0. Everyone who said “The Dolphins are pretenders!” and “Zach Wilson has finally arrived!” looked like idiots. Shocker.
Because Tua can’t throw the ball 80 literal yards in the air like his divisional adversary Josh Allen, and can’t extend the play at an elite level like all-time great Patrick Mahomes, he’s perceived to be a peg below the supposed elite QBs in the game. That’s not really Tua’s game, though.
According to Next Gen Stats, he has the fastest average time to throw in the NFL at only 2.38 seconds. That’s down from 2.6 seconds last season, when he led the league in average intended air yards. Now, Tua’s IAY is more middle-of-the-pack. Mike McDaniel has leaned into how fast of a processor Tua is, and factored in how Miami’s o-line is decimated by injury and can’t hold up in pass protection as long.
Not that Tua can’t throw downfield. LOL. How about this one to Waddle from last week. Can you throw it any better?
For whatever reason, people penalize Tua and try to take credit away from him any way they can. Weird energy all over the place.
Two totally different players, but this is almost starting to have shades of Detroit Matthew Stafford. He was criticized for targeting Calvin Johnson too much. Imagine that. Johnson wound up with the single-season receiving yards record. Then, Stafford goes to the Rams. Guess what happens there? Cooper Kupp wins the receiving Triple Crown en route to a Super Bowl victory. You could say, “Matthew Stafford is a Calvin Johnson/Cooper Kupp merchant!” but at some point, don’t you have to give the QB his due credit?
I think people act like just anyone can operate McDaniel’s offense to the high level that Tua does. If you can’t see how pinpoint accurate he is while also throwing with crazy anticipation and how quick and decisive he is with his reads, you don’t know ball. That’s just the truth of it. Tua knows that. McDaniel knows that. The Dolphins locker room knows that. And at this point, they’re a little fed up. Can you blame them?
I wonder if anyone values Dan Marino’s opinion. He was a decent quarterback once upon a time.
🎥 Dan Marino on Tua Tagovailoa: "I think he's really competitive, he understands the game very well. His instincts are there, you can tell, instincts as far as: reading the coverages, throwing the ball, getting the ball out on time… he's been great." (@TheFishTank81) #FinsUppic.twitter.com/OG7CXK7utQ
Enjoy the rest of the week, where the annoying, “THE DOLPHINS HAVEN’T BEATEN A WINNING TEAM YET!” narrative gets tons of play. Then prepare to freak out if they get beat by a 10-win Cowboys team. When really, no matter what happens to those teams on Sunday, it’s not a stretch at all to say they could meet again in the Super Bowl. They’re two of the six odds-on favorites last time I checked.
Deep breaths, Tua haters. I know it’s tough to be wrong. Hurts the pride and ego. But Tua Tagovailoa is the truth.