Dolphins Rumors: Brian Daboll's Ties to Tua Tagovailoa 'Significant' in HC Search

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

ORCHARD PARK, NY - JANUARY 09: Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll on the field before a game against the New York Jets at Highmark Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Brian Daboll's history with Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will reportedly be a "significant factor in his potential to merge with that job," according to Jason La Canfora

The Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator had the same role at Alabama in 2017 and helped recruit Tagovailoa to the school. Per La Canfora, "Daboll has known the quarterback since he was a teenager."

Despite numerous rumors in the past year that the Dolphins would trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, team owner Stephen Ross told reporters Monday the team would not pursue him and that he puts his support behind Tagovailoa. 

"I have a lot of confidence in Tua, and I think the next head coach will work with him. ... I have a lot of confidence in him," he said. "I've watched him grow. He's a fine young man. He is right now the quarterback and will be depended upon by the new head coach, but I have a lot of confidence in Tua."

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Tagovailoa is "expected" to be the quarterback next season, adding that the "organization's belief in him as their starter is considered significant, and it appears the search for a flashy replacement is over."

Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores reportedly didn't share that belief. Per La Canfora, "the relationship between Flores and his quarterback was not strong, and there was also a heavy backlash from many in the locker room back as early as 2020 about how Flores was handling the then-rookie passer."

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Brian Flores' doubts in Tua Tagovailoa as a long-term answer in Miami were well-known in the organization, and resulting fraying in their relationship was one of a number of factors in his firing.<br><br>We'll see who's right. <a href="https://t.co/cIjKfyGmow">https://t.co/cIjKfyGmow</a>

La Canfora added that Flores was a major proponent of acquiring Watson. 

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

As we reported yesterday, Flores was the biggest advocate for acquiring Watson. Grier remains hopeful about Tua. Conflicting reports regarding Ross' interest. <a href="https://t.co/BFrV55UxqO">https://t.co/BFrV55UxqO</a>

The 23-year-old Tagovailoa hasn't exactly seized the role. This past season he threw for just 2,653 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 13 appearances (12 starts), completing 67.8 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns, and the Dolphins were a solid 7-5 in his starts. They were 6-3 in his starts in 2020. 

Dov Kleiman @NFL_DovKleiman

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Dolphins?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Dolphins</a> GM Chris Grier was asked if it was a mistake to pick Tua Tagovailoa over Justin Herbert in the 2020 Draft.<br><br>"I don't know.."<a href="https://t.co/Kkx6fvIddZ">pic.twitter.com/Kkx6fvIddZ</a>

So while Tagovailoa's stats haven't exactly jumped off the page and don't compare favorably to Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, fellow first-round quarterback selections in the 2020 draft, the Dolphins are clearly committed to him. 

And Daboll, who has helped Josh Allen thrive in Buffalo and has a background with Tagovailoa, would certainly be a logical target for the team.