It’s been 22 years since Dan Marino retired from football and in that time, the Miami Dolphins still haven’t found anyone to replace their former star quarterback. Since Marino’s retirement, the Dolphins have churned through a total of 22 quarterbacks and after spending nearly two decades looking for someone to replace him, the team is hoping that they’ve finally found the answer in Tua Tagovailoa.
Marino has been watching Tagovailoa and although Tua struggled through a lot of his rookie season, the Dolphins legend is still excited about Tagovailoa’s future in Miami.
“[Tagovailoa’s] been great. He’s been awesome. He has all the talent in the world,” Marino said recently, via ESPN.com. “Now it’s just about him developing the relationship with the other players.”
There are a lot of reasons Tua struggled last year. For one, he admittedly didn’t know the playbook as well as he probably should have, but one reason for that could have been because he didn’t get a true offseason as a rookie due to the pandemic. Since Tua will be getting a full offseason this year, Marino says that’s one reason why he thinks the second-year quarterback will improve.
“It’s been tough because he didn’t have OTAs last year, a lot of the summer camp or the chance to play in exhibition games,” Marino said. “All those things delay you somewhat. … As time goes on, you get a better handle [of things]. You know your people. That’s what OTAs is about, getting your timing down.”
Despite struggling at times in 2020, Tua did have some success last year and that should help his development, according to Marino.
“He played a lot last year and when he played, we won games,” Marino said. “We almost got in the playoffs. All that is a positive. You try to build from the positives.”
As the Dolphins proved earlier this week, even throwing five interception in practice can be a positive. Although Tagovailoa got grilled on social media for throwing five picks on Tuesday, Dolphins coach Brian Flores put a positive spin on the performance by pointing out that the interceptions happened because Tua was being more aggressive, which is exactly what the team wants from him.
From the outside, a five-interception performance looks ugly, but Marino and the Dolphins see a QB who’s trying to get better.
“He wants to be really good. And in time, he’s going to get there because that’s what type of kid he is,” Marino said. “I’ll tell you, he works his butt off. I’m really excited about him, his future and our future as a team.”
Although the team has high hopes for Tagovailoa, the quarterback could find himself on the hot seat early on if the Dolphins stumble out of the gate, which could happen thanks to their brutal early season schedule. Over the first five weeks, the Dolphins play three teams that went to the playoffs last year (Bills, Colts, Buccaneers) and in the other two games, they’re playing on the road at New England and on the road at Las Vegas.