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Playing to Tua’s strengths

Super Bowl shows Dolphins can win with current quarterbac­k Tagovailoa


Here’s a lesson that can be learned from Sunday’s Super Bowl: the Dolphins can get to the title game, and win, with quarterbac­k Tua Tagovailoa. They just need to finish building their team and find a way to play to Tagovailoa’s strengths.

Obviously, that’s much more difficult than it sounds, but it can happen.

Let’s pay attention to what’s really going on in the NFL. Teams have made it to Super Bowls without a star quarterbac­k who throws for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns. And they’ve done it recently.

Philly won a Super Bowl in

2017 with quarterbac­k Nick Foles.

Sometimes you get to Super Bowls because of your team — not because of your quarterbac­k. You don’t need a strapping, 6-foot-5 guy with a rocket of a right arm.

Here’s hoping the Dolphins, who have made recent pursuits of superstar quarterbac­ks Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson, get that same takeaway from this year’s Super Bowl.

Kansas City, led by the dynamic passer, Patrick Mahomes, faces Philadelph­ia, led by the dynamic player, Jalen Hurts.

Even if Hurts and the Eagles don’t win, the quarterbac­k takeaway remains the same because Hurts isn’t your prototypic­al 21st century NFL passing quarterbac­k.

There are teams that know how to build and win regardless of the quarterbac­k and Philadelph­ia is one of them.

Similarly, the Rams went to recent Super Bowls with Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford at quarterbac­k.

San Francisco reached Super Bowls with quarterbac­ks Colin Kaepernick and Jimmy Garoppolo, and came close this year with rookie Brock Purdy.

It’s not necessaril­y the quarterbac­k, as Super Bowl appearance­s from Garoppolo, Goff and Foles will attest, it’s knowing how to build a team and play to your quarterbac­k’s strengths.

The Dolphins, who have strongly voiced their stance that Tagovailoa will be their starter next season, seem content with their quarterbac­k situation.

“I would say with Tua, he’s our starting quarterbac­k,” general manager Chris Grier said at the Dolphins’ season-ending news conference last month. “I don’t know how we could say it any more clearly.”

That’s good. That part of the equation is settled.

Now the Dolphins must figure out the best way to win with


Perhaps it’s having a strong ground game and better utilizing play action and a tight end. Or perhaps it’s throwing more check-downs and getting rid of the ball faster. Perhaps it’s building a bone-crushing defense.

And because Tagovailoa comes with concussion concerns they’ll need a quality backup, and they’ll need to employ that same philosophy that they can win without him throwing for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns.

It wouldn’t hurt to acquire a top-notch running back to take some pressure off Tagovailoa, something that would make the play-action and star receiver Tyreek Hill more effective.

In the past, it seemed the Dolphins spent way too much time plotting and scheming to get a quarterbac­k that fits a certain mold.

To me, they should have just built their overall team while figuring out how to win with their current quarterbac­k. And then when “that guy” comes along it’s a plug-and-play situation.

That’s why Philly is in the Super Bowl.

It’s why San Francisco was able to reach the NFC Championsh­ip game.

There are perhaps only five or six elite quarterbac­ks, or, more precisely, five or six quarterbac­ks that play at an elite level each year.

Good teams know quarterbac­ks don’t have to fit a specific mold.

For example, Mahomes had 648 passing attempts during the regular season, which ranked third in the NFL, while Hurts had 460 passing attempts, which ranked 16th. That makes sense considerin­g Hurts’ skills and how the Eagles win games.

Meanwhile, Hurts had

165 rushing attempts, while Mahomes had 61. Again, that makes sense considerin­g Hurts’ skills and how the Eagles win games.

Yes, it’s a quarterbac­k’s league, more than ever.

And, yes, the quarterbac­k is still the most important player on the field. It was that way in the days of Slingin’ Sammy Baugh and Y.A. Tittle in the 1930s and 1940s.

The thing to remember is you can win with your quarterbac­k playing almost any style.

One of the big takeaways from the Super Bowl is that a team, once adequately built, doesn’t need a future Hall of Fame quarterbac­k. Philly already proved that with Foles, and it’s proving it again with Hurts.

 ?? JIM RASSOL/AP ?? This year’s Super Bowl shows the Dolphins can win with quarterbac­k Tua Tagovailoa.
JIM RASSOL/AP This year’s Super Bowl shows the Dolphins can win with quarterbac­k Tua Tagovailoa.
 ?? ?? Chris Perkins
Chris Perkins

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