Tua Fish: Does Tua’s Arm Strength Make a Difference in the Dolphins' Offensive Progression?
I don’t think anyone that I know of questions the leadership of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. From what I’ve seen of him, the intangibles are there: he’s a fighter, he’s not going to give up, he will play to the very end. He doesn’t complain, throw a tantrum, or pout when things doesn’t go his way. An example of this was a Thursday night game last year when Jacoby Brissett was named the starter against the Baltimore Ravens.
When Jacoby was injured and couldn’t return, Tua, who was dealing with an injury himself, but was healthy enough to play, didn’t complain. He went in, did what was asked of him, and helped the Dolphins get an upset win over the Ravens. There are some things you just can’t teach, and although talent is a major factor, this sport and others go well beyond the physical aspect.
The biggest questions about Tua is his arm strength. Earlier this year, an anonymous Dolphins player complained that Tua can’t make all the throws, and he’s only going to get them so far. This scrutiny picked up steam when the Dolphins acquired Tyreek Hill from the Kansas City Chiefs in a trade. Tyreek is currently one of the top receivers in the league, and definitely one of the fastest. He’s a big play waiting to happen, and skeptics are wondering if the two will gel.
Although Tyreek is their biggest acquisition, they have Jaylen Waddle coming off a monster rookie season, they picked up receiver Cedrick Wilson, and they have a boatload of talented (but injury prone) running backs, and at least two out of those four (Chase Edmonds and Myles Gaskins) will be a big help in the passing game.
All of this, plus the fact that he hasn’t quite played to the status of a fifth overall pick, although I think he has the potential to change that, has put all eyes on Tua. So, that leads to the question: Can Tua Tagovailoa successfully lead the Dolphins offense, despite his arm strength deficiency? Well, “perceived” arm strength deficiency because he, according to an article from the Palm Beach Post (Note: you have to have a paid subscription to read their articles) as well as some others will argue that it’s not quite what most are thinking.
One a side note, Tyreek Hill recently spoke for Tua, saying he’s more accurate than his former quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He could be giving his new quarterback a bolt of confidence. I don’t know if he’s more accurate than Mahomes, but I will say that’s one of his strengths, and has been since his days at Alabama, however, from what I’ve seen of him throwing deep, it leaves much to be desired.
My answer to that is yes and no. I’m going to start with “no” first. The reason why this could be a problem is because with the talent and gamebreaking speed the Dolphins have at receiver, there’s an understandable concern that Tua won’t be able to get them the ball on deep throws or that the receivers might outrun his arm, so to speak. This can lead to frustration and miscontent with his receivers.
However, Steve Young, a Hall of Famer, and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees — although I can’t stand the guy — are examples of quarterbacks who won Super Bowls, and had great careers despite not having a great arm, so it’s possible that (Dolphins coach) Mike McDaniel will work around that and tailor the offense that suits Tua’s skillset, which is what I would do if I were the coach or offensive coordinator. Coming from the Shanahan coaching tree, it wouldn’t surprise me if this is exactly what the Dolphins are working on.
Yes, a quarterback with a rocket arm is ideal, but I prefer if he at least have enough to make all the throws. A better idea would be to work on improving one’s arm strength, however, history has proven there are ways you can work around someone’s weakness and still be successful, so it wouldn’t surprise me if this staff is able to get the best out of Tua.