Chris Perkins: How will the Dolphins teach Tua how to land correctly? And a couple other thoughts out of season

As the Dolphins’ offseason gets underway, it’s a good time to remember that even though Miami made the playoffs, they were a 9-8 team last season and need a lot of work to get where they want to be inside. of the window of two or three years. has been opened

Let me recap the open window thing: When the Dolphins acquired wide receiver Tyreek Hill and left tackle Terron Armstead last offseason, they showed they wanted to win, but when they gave up a first-round pick to get running back Bradley Chubb in On the Nov. 1 trade deadline, they showed they want to win now. After all, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who battled concussion last season, is in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract if the Dolphins don’t accept the fifth-year option on his contract, so that his current salary facilitates the construction. around him.

However, without a first-round pick in this year’s or next’s NFL draft, the Dolphins are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to adding more key pieces.

For now, here are three quick offseason thoughts:

Bevell, Tua and teaching Tua to fall

The Dolphins want to spend part of the offseason working with Tagovailoa on how to land correctly to avoid hitting the back of the head on the ground, which, in his case, has caused his concussions. That job likely won’t fall solely to quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell, who is a hot commodity in the league. By the way, Dolphins fans should be happy Bevell allegedly turned down offensive coordinator interviews with the New York Jets and the Washington Commanders to stay here and work with Tagovailoa.

It’s unknown if the Dolphins will hire a martial arts expert, a former quarterback or someone else to instruct Tagovailoa on how to land correctly, but coach Mike McDaniel said it’s on the offseason to-do list.

“Our plan is to approach him like he’s a young quarterback who’s not used to sliding,” McDaniel said. “We have ideas and thoughts on how to help him because that’s a consistency that we’ve noticed as well, is that they’re induced by the soil. So, like everything else, we’ll do everything in our power to help train them and that’s a new way of trying to train.”

As for Bevell, the Tagovailoa-Bevell combination did some great things together last season and Bevell, who has worked with future Hall of Fame quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson, could be more important to Tagovailoa’s development than McDaniel.

Many years ago I was talking to players in the Dolphins locker room for a story I wanted to write about the bond between head coaches and starting quarterbacks. It would have been Joe Philbin and Ryan Tannehill at the time.

Wide receiver Brian Hartline took issue with the premise, saying that the story would be more accurate if it linked the quarterbacks coach with the quarterback, because those two spend more time together than the head coach and quarterback. Hartline was right.

Tagovailoa, of course, had his best season while working with Bevell, totaling 25 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a league-leading 105.5 passer rating. But he ranked 20th in completion percentage (64.1%) and went 2-4 against teams that made the playoffs. Tagovailoa still needs to learn how to use his feet and how to make something out of nothing on broken plays.

However, his arrow points up, except for the concussion issues, which goes back to teaching Tagovailoa how to fall correctly. If this strategy doesn’t work, the Dolphins need to find a new quarterback.

Backup QB Dilemma

Speaking of the quarterback, the Dolphins have to decide what they want to do for Tagovailoa’s endorsement.

If a backup quarterback led the Dolphins to, say, a 3-0 mark, would that spark a QB controversy and hurt Tagovailoa’s psyche? Both are things the Dolphins need to consider.

Veteran backup Teddy Bridgewater would probably be happy to return, but with his history of injuries and knee and finger issues last season, it’s hard to say if the Dolphins could count on him if necessary. However, Bridgewater has a few things going for him, and the main thing is that he’s not a distraction.

Rookie quarterback Skylar Thompson could also serve as a backup, if the Dolphins think he’s ready for a third-team QB promotion.

The Dolphins may not want a backup quarterback who has starting intentions. McDaniel has clearly set out to build Tagovailoa’s mentality after the beating he took under the previous coaching staff, and that mission continued throughout the season. A challenge from a backup could jeopardize that job.

Is a defensive change coming?

You assume the Dolphins are planning changing his defensive philosophymoving away from of former defensive coordinator Josh Boyer frequent bombing style.

But here’s a question: Can this Dolphins defense start with a forward attacking style led by defensive tackles Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler, and aided by a pass rush led by Chubb and Jaelan Phillips? And can the secondary, led by cornerbacks Xavien Howard and Kader Kohou, slot cornerback Nik Needham and safeties Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones, play man and zone, standard and attacking styles?

Previously, the defensive force was their cornerbacks, Howard and Byron Jones. But that changed last season when Jones missed the entire season with a lower leg injury. The Dolphins will likely look to find a new defensive fortress, one they can use to control games.

My best guess, not knowing how Needham (Tenaquiles) and Brandon Jones (knee) will recover from their injuries, is that the Dolphins will change tack and try to control games using the defensive line.

If the Dolphins can stay somewhere around their No. 4 ranking in the league in run defense, and add to their 40 sacks, which were tied for 14th in the league, they might be onto something. Sure, they need to improve by allowing 234.8 passing yards per game, which was 27th in the league, but improved pass rushing should help.


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