- Apr 26, 2007
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Former NFL quarterback on Tua Tagovailoa not knowing playbook: ‘That should never, ever happen’
by John Buhler18 hours agoFollow @buhler118
A lot has been made about Miami Dolphinsquarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s public comments of not really knowing the team’s playbook from a season ago.
2021 will be Tagovailoa’s second season out of Alabama after the Dolphins used the No. 5 overall pick on the former college star quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tagovailoa split time with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick last year. While Tagovailoa offered greater upside, Fitzpatrick was the better player a season ago. Miami came up one game short of making the 2020 AFC Playoffs.
While Tagovailoa’s public comments about this not knowing the playbook issue are not the end of the world, it is something. 2020 may have been a challenging year for all of us, but Tagovailoa’s comments did not sit well with former NFLquarterback and ESPN football analyst Tim Hasselbeck. Here is what Hasselbeck had to say on the comments made by Tagovailoa publicly.
“I have to be honest. I kind of read some of the comments, [but] that’s the first time I had heard him say it in that way,” said Hasselbeck on ESPN. “It kind of bothered me. That should never, ever, ever happen with a quarterback, a guy that’s drafted in the first round that’s going to be the guy.
“I get it, the offseason was weird, it was hard, but I don’t want to hear Joe Burrow or anybody else talking about, ‘Hey, I didn’t learn the playbook.’ That, to me, is bad. Look, I do think he’ll be better, but sometimes, maybe, you don’t have to give everybody all of your information.”
How should Dolphins and NFL fans in general feel about Tagovailoa not grasping the playbook?
One thing that got lost during the draft process two years ago was Tagovailoa’s abysmal Wonderlic score. It was initially reported to be 13, which would have been more than three times worse than what Fitzpatrick got coming out Harvard. Tagovailoa’s score did end up being slightly higher than that, but nowhere near the 30s where you would typically want a quarterback to be.
Keep in mind that we were in the midst of a global pandemic during the 2020 offseason and Tagovailoa was working his way back from a college career-ending hip injury. Mobility was limited for so many reasons for him, yet he did not put in the time to figure out what former Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey wanted to do offensively. That is a major cause for concern.
While Fitzpatrick had a built-in rapport with Gailey from their time together with the New York Jets, it is not like Tagovailoa was under-coached in Tuscaloosa. Brian Daboll, Mike Locksley and Steve Sarkisian were all Crimson Tide offensive coordinators during Tagovailoa’s three years in school. One guy is an NFL offensive coordinator and the two others lead Power 5 programs now.
Ultimately, Tagovailoa is not athletically gifted enough to overcome not putting in the work in the film room. Factor in him having an injury-riddled past and this Dolphins run of his could go to hell in a handbasket faster than the ’72 team popping another bottle of champagne to celebrate the first loss of the season for the league’s best team. Simply put, Tagovailoa has to put in the work now.