By: Pat Pitts
The NFL offseason brings me so much joy. It is a time where any player could be the break-out star of the season. Anyone can make the leap into that higher tier.
In 2021, Tua Tagvalioa needs to be that player.
Tua walked into a dream situation in Miami. He sat behind journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, learning as much as he could from the veteran. Flores names him the starter in Week 8 and almost leads the Dolphins to a playoff birth. However, even being replaced by Fitzmagic in crucial situations was not enough for a spot in the postseason.
Tua had a decent first year as the starting QB. The stats are not glamorous, but rewatching his starts helped me realize he performed extremely well for someone coming off a serious injury and little time to prepare as a top ten draft pick.
With that being said, there are zero excuses in 2021.
I believe that Tua can make a significant step in the right direction. He will finally have a normal-ish offseason to fully prepare for his role. The franchise has put him in a very good position to succeed. Here is how.
The college reunion
The Miami Dolphins drafted Tua’s former teammate, Jaylen Waddle, with the sixth pick in the NFL draft. The reconnection of the duo gives Tua the confidence the QB1 needs. He becomes more comfortable in the pocket with the established chemistry with a rookie, along with a superstar wide receiver named Devante Parker.
Mike Gesicki is sick, too. Pun intended.
Tua played his best season at Alabama in 2018. Waddle was a freshman. History repeats itself.
Patience is a virtue.
Tua sat out the first seven weeks of 2020, aside from a few late-game possessions. This time gave him more time to take note and properly prepare to be put into such an important role.
2021 brings the tradition of mini and training camps, unlike last season. Tua has been given an ample amount of time to train physically and mentally to make that next step in his career.
It’s time for Tua to be a sponge until September.
You have to fail in order to succeed.
The Miami Dolphins were one game away from making their first postseason appearance since 2016. The Fitzmagic ran out at the worst possible time.
Analysts and the social media peanut gallery criticized Tua for not living up to expectations in 2020 by missing the playoffs. His stats may not wow fans, but it is how he played that manifests hope. He made the expected rookie mistakes; however, he completed some incredible throws and scrambled for critical first downs when the game was on the line.
2021 is a fresh start for not only the NFL, but for everyone. Tua can put last season in the rear view and keep moving forward. It is time to take the leap into superstardom.
It’s your time, Tua.