When the offense is on the sphere, Tagovailoa hovers behind coach Brian Flores listening to offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s playcalls in his helmet and searching down at his play wristband earlier than each snap. When the offense comes off, Tagovailoa sticks to starter Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s aspect eagerly awaiting details about what the veteran noticed on the sphere.
It is all part of Tagovailoa’s sideline training. The requires the rookie to be elevated to starter are solely getting louder. However Flores is adamant he won’t be pressured into enjoying Tagovailoa, who will proceed to study behind Fitzpatrick until his time comes.
“So far as [Tagovailoa] being a starter, we simply do not feel like he is prepared there simply but,” Flores stated. “Proper now, we really feel like Fitz offers us the very best likelihood to win.”
Tagovailoa is predicted to be the long-term reply to a two-decade Dolphins quarterback query, so the period of time he performs in 2020 largely will not have an effect on the group’s viewpoint. How Tagovailoa is growing as a quarterback, albeit on the sidelines at this level, is time effectively spent.
Coaches and teammates say Tagovailoa is all the time asking questions. Regardless of being probably the most environment friendly quarterback in faculty soccer historical past whereas at Alabama, Tagovailoa would not come off as a know-it-all and the veteran journeyman says he is straightforward to show.
“I most likely discuss extra on the bench than I usually would in-between sequence,” Fitzpatrick stated. “I need him to sort of perceive what I am seeing and to have the ability to ask questions even whether it is in a game-like setting. … It appeared like he noticed the sport fairly respectable from the sidelines when it comes to the stuff that we have been speaking about and the questions he was asking. It was good. It was a great begin simply to construct on that communication now, simply being one other set of eyes for me to have the ability to belief.”
Fitzpatrick and Gailey have labored collectively for years, and have a mixed 37 years of NFL expertise, so that they converse soccer in a extra superior language. Dolphins quarterbacks coach Robby Brown, who spends plenty of time with the rookie throughout practices, has tried to determine how you can finest attain Tagovailoa.
“My job is to sort of attempt to determine what’s working that [Tagovailoa’s] studying, attempt to be a translator so to talk,” Brown stated. “He sits in each single assembly that Fitz does. You attempt to get him psychological reps as a result of you aren’t getting a ton of reps throughout observe, after which slender the sport plan every day like, ‘Hey, OK let’s study this half, this half, this half.'”
Establishing consolation within the Dolphins’ sport plan is an enormous factor. The offense is geared towards Fitzpatrick’s talent set, so the eventual transition to the rookie would imply modifications. Within the meantime, Tagovailoa has acknowledged and identified to coaches performs which might be much like what he ran at Alabama, and Gailey and Brown have focused different performs for Tagovailoa in preparation for every time he’s referred to as into motion.
No preseason video games and a shortened offseason has affected Tagovailoa’s development. He hasn’t performed a NFL snap but, and Flores would not like backup QBs being utilized in subpackages, so barring a Fitzpatrick harm, it is possible his first motion will are available in his first NFL snap. Couple that with Tagovailoa’s restoration from a major hip harm on Nov. 16, 2019, which suggests he nonetheless hasn’t been hit or tackled.
Relying on Fitzpatrick’s play and/or his well being, Tagovailoa’s time might come ahead of later.
“He is one play away from having to play. I really feel like he’ll go in and play effectively,” Gailey stated. “He hadn’t been in a sport in any respect so it will be a brand new expertise for him. He’ll must go in there with eyes broad open; however I believe understanding the individual that he’s and understanding the kind of preparation that he places in, I believe he will be prepared when his time is named.”
Tagovailoa has been in-tune with the Dolphins weekly sport plans, and perhaps his greatest space of progress thus far has been understanding the velocity of the sport via psychological reps and searching on the pill after a sequence to see how a specific play labored.
Brown says in-week obligations for Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa are “very related” with the rookie going via the identical guidelines of defensive personnel and situational soccer. The largest distinction, in fact, is that Fitzpatrick will get much more on-field reps in observe whereas Tagovailoa has to maximise his progress primarily in walk-throughs, 7-on-7s and particular person drills.
Tagovailoa being deemed not prepared but should not be considered as a damning criticism. With Fitzpatrick having an enormous head begin and Tagovailoa’s previous harm and truncated offseason all in a season through which the Dolphins aren’t actually championship contenders, there merely is not any rush to play the rookie.
Tua Time will come, and when it does his sideline training will play a key position in how he performs on the sphere.