Justin Herbert ruined the Miami Dolphins, but not in the traditional, opposing quarterback’s way with a soul-crushing, last-second, game-winning drive. No, he achieved this feat as an innocent bystander during the 2020 NFL draft.
The Dolphins passed on Herbert and selected Tua Tagovailoa with pick number five. Justin Herbert fell in the LA Chargers’ lap, and now, every single rifle-armed pass Herbert completes is like a thousand lashes to the soul of every Dolphins fan.
Poor Tua, the quarterback whose game relies on timing, quick decision making, and hitting the short to intermediate routes, has nothing to offer in the “Wow Factor” department. For some reason, a sizzling rocket throw that beats double coverage allows people to ignore several precise seven-yard completions. Add in his injury history and the stage is set for his early exit.
Go ahead and take that exit, Tua. Follow the trail left by Ryan Tannehill, because there is no evidence that the Miami Dolphins organization knows how to win or build a winning team.
Since 2010, the Dolphins have played in one playoff game and experienced two seasons where they finished above .500. One of those seasons was last year.
Speaking of last year, the Dolphins completely botched last season by starting Tua over Ryan Fitzpatrick. Full disclosure: I thought this was the right move. Find out what the kid had versus the well-known beats of the “Fitzmagic” experience: great highs, devastating lows, and no playoff wins.
But in a clear display of how bad organizations operate, they failed to support their decision with the required on-the-field actions. Instead of allowing Tua to work through the tough times that come with trying to gain yards against NFL defenses, he was benched in favor of Fitzpatrick at the first sign of adversity. Why do this if the choice was made to build for the future? No one forced the Dolphins into starting Tua. Fitzpatrick was the obvious choice to compete for a playoff spot that year. The result of all this was that Tua missed development time, and the Dolphins missed the playoffs.
Even though the Dolphins missed the playoffs last year, there was plenty of optimism surrounding the team for the upcoming season this year. It wasn’t a stretch to think that the team would build off their 10-win season and contend for the division. But that was before Tua suffered an injury that caused him to miss three games, the Dolphins’ offensive staff called “the worst play ever seen”, and then perhaps the most discouraging event out of all the above – they lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the United Kingdom.
During the game against the Jags, one could feel the desperation closing in on head coach Brian Flores. He challenged two plays within a minute of each other – the result: complete failure. Two second-half timeouts vaporized. Then, his decision to go for it on 4th down failed and gave the Jags great field position to start their game-winning field goal drive.
The Dolphins’ 1-5 record puts them last in their division. To save their season, they’ve reached out to the Houston Texans for a potential trade to make Deshaun Watson their QB1. Yes, the same Deshaun Watson with serious, unresolved legal issues. How can a team pursue a deal for Watson without a guarantee that he will play? What if he is guilty of the accusations levied against him? What if Watson gets suspended?
This move is laced with a ton of risk – all because Tua isn’t Herbert.