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Dolphins to 'tailor' offense around QB Tua Tagovailoa's strengths

The No. 1 question for the Miami Dolphins' new coaching staff revolves around the development of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

The commitment to the former No. 5 overall pick extends to molding the entire offense around what best suits Tua, according to new quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Darrell Bevell.

"The first thing is to get him ingrained in the system," Bevell said Wednesday, via the Miami Herald. "Once we are able to do that, then I think the system is going to be built and tailored to him, and... bring out all the positives in his game."

Bevell, who has worked with Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford and Trevor Lawrence in the past decade, noted that, unlike other positions, it's vital to construct the offense around what the quarterback does best, or the entire operation never gets off the ground.

"(It's important) to tailor the game to them, to their talent, rather than fitting the round peg in the square hole," he said. "We can tailor the offense to bring out the strengths of each guy."

Tagovailoa's strength is his accuracy, particularly in close quarters, and his ability to quickly get the ball out. There were plenty of times that Tua's quick reads and release saved a sack or worse.

"I think he's a really accurate passer," Bevell said. "That's the thing that jumped out at me right away is looking at him. I haven't done like a complete deep dive yet. But I've looked at enough tape that I like the accuracy that he has. I like his ability to make some off-schedule plays. He can get outside the pocket. He's not going to be a major runner, but he can run and make plays with his feet. I really like those kinds of things."

The negative to Tua's game is the lack of arm strength that could hold back the offense, particularly down the field and deep outside the numbers, where he didn't target much in 2021. Bevell said he wouldn't judge whether Tagovailoa had limited arm strength before working with him in person.

"I think it's important for me to be able to see the ball coming out of his hand in person," he said. "I can see it on tape. I can see him making some of the throws. There are questions that I have. But I want to see the ball come out of his hand in person. That's the one thing for me, always on tape, is it's hard to tell the true velocity, so I want to get him out here on the grass and see exactly what it looks like. From what I've seen we'll definitely be able to have high success from him being able to throw the football. He can make many of the throws that we're going to ask him to do. And the ones that he can't then we're going to do something different."

Assuming the bulk of Mike McDaniel's offense relies on the Kyle Shanahan scheme, it should fit with what Tua does well, namely getting the ball to players in space and working defenses over the middle. In addition, the Dolphins' RPO game should be better in 2022 in the new system.

To help the quarterback, the Dolphins must upgrade the run game and offensive line after both struggled in 2021.

"Any time you run the football, that's a quarterback's best friend," Bevell said. "It opens up so much when you turn around and hand the ball to the quarterback it takes a lot of pressure off of you. But then it affects the defense in a positive way when you can play-fake them and distort the defense."

Everything we've heard this offseason from the new staff suggests Tua will get every chance to show he's the franchise quarterback. If he struggles in 2022, it'll be back to the drawing board in South Beach.

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