Last nights question had to do with the bringing back of Chan Gailey to once again run the Miami Dolphins offense. This, at least on Brian Flores’ part had to do with developing a rookie quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa. My Phinsider Question Of The Day tonight has more to do with Tua than Gailey. With this being year two or maybe year one of the rebuild, depending on how you look at it do you find it a good idea to just throw Tua out there at the beginning of the season or even mid season if he shows out at practice?
Everyone is well aware of the injury history of Tua as well as his terrible hip injury last season that he is, according the the Miami Dolphins brass, totally healed from. For those who are not aware of his actual list of injuries over the years at Alabama (I have zero information of any injuries in high school) I have made a full list below with some thoughts on each although I am not a doctor or a medical professional but have suffered most every injury you can think of at one point it seems.
- In March of 2018 he broke his left index finger and missed no games. This one does not worry me in the least as it’s minor as far as football injuries go and common among quarterbacks at any level due to their throwing motion and sometimes coming down on a blocker or defenders helmet in his follow through. Some people count this one against him but I do not.
- In October of the same year he sprained his right knee and missed no games. This one is more concerning only because once you sprain a muscle it is more likely to occur again although the recovery time depending on the player is often minute as in a day or two for some, once they have suffered the injury once. This initial sprain does not sound serious as he was never ruled out of any games due to it.
- In December, two months following the knee sprain he once again suffered a sprain, this time to his left high ankle. He did not require any surgery and missed no games once again relegating this to a minor ding kind of injury. The one thing that I can say about spraining an ankle, as I have suffered from a bad one on my right ankle, is that I had a tear and now on occasion I will still completely roll that ankle and while it hurts for a bit I can manage to walk it off in an hour or so now while the initial injury had me on crutches for a few weeks. This was also in the early 90’s and we have made tons of advances in these types of injuries, and I am not a pro football player who receives the best medical care that is available for any particular injury. My point being as once the initial injury occurs it’s hard to sprain or tear it again even if you manage to roll it and stretch it a bit more than is normal. If this applies here to this particular injury, I don’t honestly know, only speaking from personal experience.
- The following season, in October of 2019, he suffered a high right ankle sprain. This one most likely resulted in at least a small tear as it required surgery and he missed one game. Now this being college I do not know if they had an extra week off, but either way it took him either two weeks or three weeks to return from this injury which in football terms is not that bad.
- And last but not least is the injury that worries every Miami Dolphins fan the most. In November of last season he dislocated his right hip with a posterior acetabular wall fracture. This is beyond painful as injuries go and not as easy as any sort of broken finger or sprain to return from and would require rehab for anyone at any age. Having spent some time in rehab hospitals with my 95 year old grandmother there are always younger patients there for broken hips or severe leg breaks. Neither is good for a civilian let alone a football player.
So with all that in mind I come back all the way around to the question of the day. We have seen more than one quarterback sit and learn and then follow that up with a successful career. As a more recent example you can look at Aaron Rodgers, who for more than a few years was considered the best quarterback in the NFL (If not also the luckiest, who the hell throws and completes that many hail Marys?) if not in the top two or three for the better part of a decade. He of course had to wait his turn behind gun slinger Brett Favre. Favre for his part should never show his face again if only because he was wearing Crocs in his now infamous sexually harassing photos that he sent to certain women. It’s like working really hard at making the worst thing that you have ever done even worse even when it does not seem possible.
So if you are the Dolphins and you know that this is either one or two years into a two to three year rebuild process do you keep Tua on the bench for the most part and let him watch the habits of a guy who due to sheer determination has stuck around this league for a long time and is probably going to be playing somewhere for at least the next 5 or 6 seasons if for no other reason to just give that hip a bit more time as insurance? Or do you throw him to the wolves at some point in a sink or swim move during the upcoming season?