Tua the Titan


Coach Flores summed it up pretty well with his blistering list of profane words he started letting off into his headset microphone in the final moments of Sunday’s game as he realized his team was going to lose yet another game to a walk off field goal as time expired that he was powerless to stop. If Flores could have ran out onto the field and tackled Younghoe Koo as he was running up to kick the ball, I am sure that he would have. If there was a Guinness record for most curse words by a human in a 60 second timeframe, I am sure that Brian Flores would have broken it. That is with all due respect to the hip hop legend Carl Mitchell, better known as “Twista.” Early in this season these losses to the Colts, Jaguars, and Falcons would have been looked at as bad losses for the Dolphins. Now they are low quality wins for those teams that those teams are not even bragging about. Oh, what a difference a few weeks make! Yes, the Dolphins are THAT bad! The Dolphins are streaking and not in a good way! Six losses in a row and next week will be no reprieve as the Buffalo Bills will be sure to embarrass the Fins again for L number 7. The last time the Dolphins played the Bills they cracked Tua’s ribs and started this losing skid. You can say the Bills ended Miami’s playoffs late last year and they ended Miami’s season early this year. They will be sure to keep the party going on Halloween. The results could be scary. The Dolphins are near the bottom of too many offensive and defensive statistical categories, yet still all I see is people blaming the second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

Sometimes I look at Tua and I see the spitting image of the titan Atlas in Greek mythology, cursed with the burden of having to carry the entire weight of the whole world on his shoulders while supporting everyone else. The fans are blaming Tua Tagovailoa and the media is blaming Tua Tagovailoa. Grier by constantly dangling this Watson trade over everyone’s heads is by default blaming all of this team’s woes on Tua, somehow making it seem like mortgaging this team’s entire future to trade for a player that we’re not sure if or when he will play another down of football will somehow magically medicate all of what ails this team. It’s a mirage. You have been hoodwinked and bamboozled. It’s misdirection and a fake. Don’t fall for the okie doke and let Grier off the hook. He has not done his job in effectively building around and protecting Tua.

The quarterback is one guy, and he has the ball in his hand on every offensive snap. The defense is 11 guys on the field at a time who don’t have the ball in their hands and are constantly making substitutions. It’s a lot easier to point out and focus on Tua’s two mistakes in a game than it is to look at the dozens of mistakes different members of the defense made in a game. Tua can’t block for himself, and he can’t improve our horrendous third down defense. Tua can’t make the offensive line stop getting silly drive killing penalties and he can’t help Preston Williams and Jaylen Waddle with their drops. Tua can’t make the Dolphins go back to those exotic blitzes and amoeba cover zero looks that made the Miami defense so formidable and confusing for quarterbacks last season. We must play a lot of high safety looks now because we got rid of Bobby McCain and had to bring our young baller Holland up to speed with coverages in the NFL. This defense is not built to hold up in coverage with our safeties playing deep. Our defense plays a lot of zone now and gets almost no pressure on the quarterbacks which is exposing our guys in coverage. That’s not Tua’s fault.

It’s not Tua’s fault that he is playing with the pressure of the world on his shoulders even though he is technically still a rookie in terms of the number of starts and games that he has under his belt. Tua has gone 65/87 for a 75% completion percentage while also throwing for 620 yards 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions since his return last week in London. He has run for first down with his feet to extend drives that ends in scoring opportunities. At times, he is having to break tackles and take shots on his still broken ribs because he would rather die on the field than lose another game and ultimately lose his position on this team. Tua feels like his career is on the line. He feels his whole life is in jeopardy because, at this point football is his life. You can see the pressure of the moment on his face with every snap. The guy was out there sacrificing his body like it was the Superbowl to try to win a regular season game when his team is already 1-5 with no shot to make the playoffs. He took a big shot to his ribs to get a 1st down and he paid for it. You could see him on the sideline struggling to breathe and trying to tough it out through the pain. He came back from that hit and threw a touchdown pass to Mack Hollins for the go ahead score but his defense quickly let Matty Ice go down the field and ice the game with another come from behind victory in Ryan’s long career. That was not Tua’s fault. Tua was by no means perfect. He made two critical errors in throwing those two interceptions that contributed to the loss, but those were the only two mistakes he made in the whole game and he came back firing his team into the lead after that. On the endzone interception, Durham Smythe ran the wrong route after reading the safety wrong. He should have broke inside for an easy touchdown instead of breaking outside. Tua knew that and didn’t throw his teammate under the bus. He accepted full responsibility for the miscommunication when asked about it in his post-game press conference. The kid has moxy and played with incredible toughness. He has short term memory loss when it comes to moving on from negative plays. Say what you want about Tua but not everyone can perform the way he is performing when his coach is being openly transparent and honest with him in their conversations about the GM trying to trade him for another guy who right now has 22 accusers of sexual misconduct. Who amongst us really feels that the Dolphins are giving Tua a fair shot to have fun and play carefree and with confidence while actively shopping for another triggerman and trying to trade Tua to the Redskins?

If I was coaching on the offensive side of the ball for Miami, apart from dusting off and updating my résumé, I would be lobbying to sit Tua for this game against Buffalo. There’s no reason to put the kid in there to get killed again in a meaningless game we all know that the Dolphins have no chance of winning especially if all of the reports are true that a deal will be finalized to get Watson by the fast-approaching trade deadline. This is why when I look at Tua I see him as the embodiment of Atlas, the titan who dared to go to war with Zeus and was cursed with having to carry the entire weight of the heavens on his shoulders as punishment. Tua’s being punished for having a storied college career and being drafted by a team that wasn’t responsible or competent enough to protect their investment and build a good team around him. It’s a tough position to be in. For such a diminutive guy, his shoulders have been big enough to bear it.

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