Despite persisting questions regarding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's arm strength, Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith believes the third-year signal-caller can make all the necessary throws in his offense.
Speaking to SI.com's Alain Poupart, Smith said:
"I wouldn't say that we're limiting ourselves in anything. He's actually been doing a great job of ... every day presents different routes, different things we're trying to accomplish with receivers. So I would say that everything we've done so far has been extremely optimistic because there's certain things in our progressions and reads and his ability to move from throughout his progressions. He's been awesome for a guy just really being in the system for a month."
Smith's comments came on the heels of the Dolphins tweeting a much-maligned video of Tua underthrowing newly acquired wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a deep ball:
Given that he is entering his third NFL season and the Dolphins have seemingly provided him with everything needed to succeed, 2022 could be a make-or-break year for Tagovailoa.
Miami used the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft on Tagovailoa, which was a move questioned by some since he was coming off major hip and ankle injuries while playing collegiately at Alabama.
Tua went 6-3 as a starter during his rookie season, but then-head coach Brian Flores made constant quarterback changes between Tagovailoa and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Tagovailoa was the unquestioned starter last season and once again posted a winning record at 7-5, but he missed some time because of injury and didn't put up huge numbers, completing 67.8 percent of his passes for 2,653 yards, 16 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Also, last offseason and throughout the 2021 campaign, there were constant rumors regarding the Dolphins possibly pursuing a trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
It never came to fruition, as Watson was traded to the Cleveland Browns instead, but it couldn't have been easy for Tagovailoa to perform with that cloud over his head.
Now, Tua is being given the opportunity to establish himself as the long-term starter under a new coaching staff led by head coach Mike McDaniel, who was previously the San Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator.
McDaniel could be the perfect coach for Tua given what he was able to do in San Francisco with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation.
With Jimmy Garoppolo only putting up middling numbers under center, McDaniel still helped lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game last season.
In addition to McDaniel, Tua has the benefit of Hill being added to the offense, giving him one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL alongside wideouts Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson and tight end Mike Gesicki.
Hill was named a Pro Bowler in each of his six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and was a three-time first-team All-Pro to boot.
The one-time Super Bowl champion has also racked up 479 receptions for 6,630 yards and 56 receiving touchdowns during his career to go along with 719 yards and six scores on the ground.
Miami will still need Tua to be an effective deep passer from time to time to keep opposing defenses honest, though, and the team could learn a lot about his proficiency in that area in 2022.