If you’re part of Dolphins Twitter then Chris Simms and Mike Florio are very familiar names. Most of the time it’s a bit negative stemming from Chris Simms thinking that New Orleans Saints utility player Taysom Hill was a better quarterback than Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, or that “the whole world can throw the ball five yards over the middle” comment.
I’m happy to inform you that they’ve seen the light. Whether it’s getting over the hater cliches, watching the tape, or just a gradual evolution of needing to see it to believe it, they’ve made it to the promised land. They have been really good this offseason talking Dolphins, and it’s a solid show to watch now. I know I’m a bit late on this clip, but it’s such an inverse of what they used to say about the Dolphins, that I felt the need to write about it.
The pair touched on a few aspects of the second-year offense. First is execution. The way the starters methodically moved down the field was different from what we saw last year. Instead of high-risk high-reward, it was precision. I know it was just one drive but work with me here. It’s all we can go off of until today’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but I’m expecting more of the same.
That interception Tua threw was horrible, so let’s just get that out of the way. It was his first game action “in 237 days” to quote Mike Florio. He needed to shake the cobwebs off, see some real game action, and just get the nerves out. That all happened in one god-awful throw, but we’ll give him a mulligan for that.
On the next drive, Tua was locked in. He went 5/6 on that drive for 61 yards, and the only incompletion was a throwaway. That included hitting 5 different receivers, converting all 3 3rd down attempts, and an absolute dime to Braxton Berrios that could’ve gone for a touchdown if Berrios didn’t slip on the 6-yard line. Talk about hitting a switch.
Chris Simms goes on to talk about the machine that is the Dolphins offense. He comments that they have too many good players, Tua can be the point guard/distributor, and if Mike McDaniels’s scheme stays “ahead of the curve,” they’ll be impossible to stop. Just systematically going down the field whether it’s the run game, short passes for YAC, or when they try to adjust, Tua can him them right over the top with their outside speed.
Another factor that’s not getting enough love is the offensive line play. They were good throughout the game, but I’m not holding too much value in backups vs. backups.
I will say in that one drive with the starters, Tua had time to throw and didn’t have much pressure in his face, and Kendall Lamm looked really solid subbing in for star Left Tackle Terron Armstead who’s dealing with an injury. I also thought Austin Jackson was solid, and finally might be turning the corner. Last, but not least I think they’ve finally found their starting Guard in Isaiah Wynn. He has a nice connection with Kendall Lamm, and they did well communicating on defensive stunts. Just happy overall with their play.
The development of Kendall Lamm (70) potentially becoming a solid swing OT is massive for the Dolphins. With Terron Armstead’s injury history and Austin Jackson’s shaky start to his career, having a guy who can provide serviceable play at both tackle spots is extremely important. pic.twitter.com/VkwZlHK6TL— Finscentral (@finscentral) August 22, 2023
Tua Tagovailoa looks different
Both Mike Florio, and Chris Simms were complimentary of Tua Tagovailoa’s body looking “in shape, and more explosive.” I couldn’t agree more. I also thought we saw a little more zip on the ball, especially on that first pass to Tight End Durham Smythe. Tua looks like he put in work during the offseason, and looks bigger, faster, and stronger even if ESPN’s Ryan Clark tells you otherwise.
With all the strength-building and Jiu-Jitsu classes, we saw a perfect example of how it’ll help Tua stay on the field this year, and bring the Dolphins toward their full potential. He took a hit, and everything looked fluid. The way he fell mixed with the strength he’s built up in the top half of his body, especially with his neck muscles allowed him to fall without smacking his head against the ground, or even have a whiplash effect.
Tua Tagovailoa & Dolphins talked a lot this offseason about how they believe offseason jiu jitsu training (in part transferring energy to ground & keeping chin tucked) will help Tua’s bid to avoid concussions.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 19, 2023
Look at Tua after hit today (H/T @ian693):
The cultivation of all of his offseason work was on full display for everyone to see, and even some of his biggest critics applauded it.
4 million dollar 3rd string?
The last point from the clip I want to get to is where they questioned who would be the backup to Tua. It was quoted “Are they trying to run Mike White out of town”, and although it was a joke there was some truth to it. Not that they’re actually trying to run him out of town, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was traded at some point this year. From all indications, Skylar Thompson has outplayed Mike White in camp and balled out against the Texans where he went 15/22 for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns. I get that’s against mostly backups, but he looked really good.
AND NOW A BRAXTON BERRIOS TOUCHDOWN FROM SKYLAR THOMPSON!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ArBjPngHeD— Big E (@ian693) August 19, 2023
When the Dolphins signed Mike White they thought they were getting a second-string guy that could go out there when Tua was hurt, and win you half the games he starts. They didn’t plan on Skylar Thompson beating him for the backup job but it seems that’s where we are heading. After Mike White sustained a concussion last game and is not yet cleared to play, it’ll be Skylar Thompson’s show once Tua and the starters leave the game. Barring a disastrous performance, Skylar will have pretty much sown up the backup gig, and the Dolphins will have a 4 million dollar 3rd string QB. I’m not a mathematician, but that has to be up there as one of the highest-paid in the league.
With all the negative content we saw over the last few years from Pro Football Talk, it felt like a breath of fresh air to hear them compliment Tua and the offense as a whole. Their estimation of the Miami Dolphins if Tua stays healthy is that they could be right there in the thick of it competing for a Superbowl, and they’re not wrong.
Let us know in the comments how you feel about the evolution of where Pro Football Talk is at now with the Miami Dolphins.