The dolphins wanted to let Tua Tagovailoa go.

All the quarterbacks the Miami Dolphins wanted instead of Tua Tagovailoa is suffering. Tom Brady got off to the worst start ever, Deshawn Watson was suspended, and Jacoby Brissett lost what looked like a loss to the New York Jets.

Meanwhile, after Sunday’s monster come-from-behind performance In Baltimore, Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passing yards and passing touchdowns and is second in total QBR, but the Dolphins are 2-0 with a 77% chance of making the playoffs (and winning the Super Bowl). is 5%). .

This is a continuation of the upward trajectory Tua has been on for some time. Tagovailoa has been a top 10 quarterback since coming off the bench in Week 10 of last season. He ranks 8th in his raw QBR (62.7), 7th in passer rate (99.1), and 7th in expected extra points per dropback (0.14). He ranks eighth in yards per dropback (6.69) according to the ESPN Stats & Information Group. And he only gets better as the game progresses. In the fourth quarter of that period, Tagovailoa ranked 2nd (80.4), 4th (111.9), 6th (0.19) and 6th (7.51) respectively in the same statistics.

Last year, I wrote that Tagovailoa’s clutch performance was becoming increasingly inconvenient for the Dolphins organization slated to replace him. However, I often struggled in the early stages and rarely threw deep. Now, not only is Tua’s “clutch gene” still active, but he’s improving his overall game, and Tua says his bread-and-butter short just got better at his passing. There is none. In his first two games of 2022, he is finally attempting (and completing) the big play his pass has been lacking for his Arsenal.

After new head coach Mike McDaniel was hired this offseason, much was made of his offensive acumen, and he was open to the press about his assessment of Tagovailoa: McDaniel called Tua a “very A “precise” passer, he has an uncanny sense of the game and a long track record of being promoted to big opportunities. But even at his most effective in 2021, Tua was unaggressive looking downfield. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he ranked 28th in his air yards per attempt (6.92) and in the air he flew more than 20 yards he ranked 29th in passing percentage (7.5%). .

With the acquisition of speedy receiver Tyreek Hill, Tua’s short, accurate throws should have exploded vertically. catch. But Tagovailoa has also hurled bombs. He currently ranks his fourth among eligible passers in adjusted completion percentage, with 33.7% of his attempts being his 10+ yards (11th) and 10.8% his 20+ yards. (13th place). More of his pass attempts lead to first downs (42.2%) than anyone other than Patrick Mahomes.

Tagovailoa built exceptional chemistry with a 1-2 receiving combination between Hill and second-year wideout Jaylen Waddle.As pointed out by Next Generation NFL Stats, Waddle racked up more yards on the vertical “go” route on Sunday (73) than he gained all-time last season (43), and surprisingly, Hill’s 108 goal route yards against the Ravens will be his 2021 NBA record. approached the season total (147). Mahomes.

The potential for that combo wasn’t fully unlocked until Miami’s back hit the Baltimore wall. The opening kickoff was put into the hole before Tagovailoa entered center, and it would be futile to get out of it by Tagovailoa.

But it was then that McDaniel took the training wheels off the offense. He posted his 24/30 in the second half, averaging 10.63 yards per dropback and posting his raw QBR of a staggering 99.2. His passer rating was a near perfect his 150.6. And when you look at where Tagovailoa was throwing the ball (especially in the late game), we see his new deep touch.

Three heat maps of Tua Tagovailoa's pass attempts at the end of the 2021 season and the beginning of the 2022 season: Weeks 10 to 18 of the 2021 season, Weeks 1 to 2 of the 2022 season, and Week 2 of the 2022 season. Second half of.

Baltimore didn’t make Tua easy either. Blitz rates remained unchanged from early to late (23.8% vs. 23.3%), and man-to-man coverage actually increased (34.9% vs. 41.4%). Although they fielded defensive backs more often, they tried to keep up with the Dolphins’ downfield track meets. 20%) covered the dime and 39% (up from 37%) covered fact hit Next Generation NFL StatsThe Ravens defensive back had to cover more ground on Sunday than any secondary since the start of last season.

Additional reinforcements didn’t matter — Tagovailoa and Miami’s pass attacks shredded Baltimore’s secondary anyway.

Did McDaniel know Tagovailoa could make these adjustments, or was this a glass-breaking strategy in case of emergency? are looking to acquire tight end Mike Gesicki. In Week 1, he had one catch for 1 yard on one target. But on Sunday, he caught all four of his targets for his 41 yards and a touchdown.

Only time will tell if McDaniel is taking this grip-and-rip-it approach only in emergencies, or if Tua is bombing downfield at will. Either way, defenders need to respect Tagovailoa’s ability to beat them like never before. This could make him even more effective on the short passes he was already good at.

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