Tua Tagovailoa went viral for all the wrong reasons earlier this week, with critics mocking the quarterback for a wobbly throw to Tyreek Hill at OTAs. In a “what have you done for me lately?” league where instant gratification will always trump patience, Tagovailoa’s future in Miami is anything but certain, particularly coming off a less-than-impressive sophomore season that did little to silence skeptics. Dogged by durability woes, athletic limitations and a fear he may have peaked in college, Tagovailoa’s early Dolphins tenure has not gone according to plan, though he still has the support of teammates, who insist Tua’s best is still to come.
Hill took to Twitter Thursday with a message for Tua’s doubters, defending his quarterback while borrowing a phrase coined by NBA legend Allen Iverson. “Can y’all chill?” asked Hill, dismissing Tagovailoa’s underthrown pass as much ado about nothing. “We talking about practice.”
While concerns over Tagovailoa’s arm strength persist, casting judgment based on one out-of-context throw is shortsighted, bordering on irresponsible. It’s also confirmation bias at its finest with the internet mob quick to pile on a player who hasn’t lived up to expectations, cherry-picking select practice clips in defense of a narrative. The narrative, of course, being that Tua is a fraud and Hill just made the biggest mistake of his career, leaving the relative safety of Kansas City for a sinking ship headed for the bottom of the Atlantic.
Tagovailoa could be the latest in a long line of first-round busts (Miami’s decision to draft him ahead of Chargers standout Justin Herbert has not aged well), but that’s not a conclusion that can be reached on May 12th.
With improved offensive line play (a need the Dolphins addressed by splurging on free-agent tackle Terron Armstead), the continued development of Jaylen Waddle and a scheme that plays to his strengths, don’t be surprised if Tua is at least serviceable enough to lead Miami back to the playoffs after finishing a respectable 9-8 a season ago.