It was one of those ugly football games in Indianapolis yesterday. The Dolphins started out hot and, after playing a solid second half, won the game and improved to 2-7. You could joke that they are now Tua and 7. It’s a joke because it looks like the Dolphins will not even sniff the chance to draft Tua Tagovailoa, the star quarterback from Alabama.
Coaching is the most significant part of the Dolphins’ improvement. Since Don Shula, the Dolphins have lacked a coaching staff that consistently makes players better. The second half blunders were constant, consistency was non-existent, and young players rarely progressed. Now the coaching staff in Miami is improving players like Nik Needham, who was a hot mess during the preseason. Needham has improved each week ever so slightly and had an interception yesterday. With 5:45 to play in the fourth quarter, Needham stepped up as Brian Hoyer rolled out of the pocket and threw a dart his way. It didn’t seal the game, but the interception put the Dolphins in the driver’s seat. Needham was also played a lead role in stopping Colts tight end Eric Ebron during a 4th and 10 at the end of the game to seal a second straight Dolphins victory.
Now that the Dolphins have fallen to Tua-7, let’s dive into the Saturday’s LSU versus Alabama game. This was undoubtedly the top college football match-up this year. When it looked as if quarterback Joe “Cool” Burrow was going to blowout the Crimson Tide and Tua Tagovailoa, Roll tide came back and brought fans a hell of a game. While Tua did look bad at times, he made some key throws. Devonta Smith helped out Tua with 7 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Jaylen Waddle scored a crazy touchdown on a punt return that looked as if it were going nowhere.
Note to tank fans: Stop freaking out and take a breath. Your Dolphins are in good hands for the first time in forever. They stand in fourth place behind the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, and the Cincinnati Bengals. They also hold the current 22nd and 26th picks in the first round and the 38th and 60th choices in the draft. That’s five top picks in the first 60. The team has the capital to move up if needed, but as it currently stands, it is the only other team besides Cinncinati in the top four that needs a quarterback. The Bengals would presumably take Tua, the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins last season, and the Giants drafted Daniel Jones. Everything is fine, and the Dolphins won’t be screwed over if they get Justin Herbert. This team has the right people in the right positions for the first time since Shula’s and Marino’s Dolphins.
They might have won only two games this season, but they were “expected” to win zero and aren’t done yet. They face the up-and-down Cleveland Browns in week 12, the poorly coached Jets and Giants in weeks 14 and 15 respectively, and of course, Tank Bowl V2 against the Bengals in week 16. This Dolphins team could potentially pull off 2 to 3 more wins, and you shouldn’t be surprised if they do. Preach it to everyone: the Dolphins are a fantastically coached team headed in the right direction. Tua-7 or not.