In his first regular season game with Mike McDaniel, the Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t perfect but improved greatly in a key area that was a flaw and improved somewhat in another.
The scale where there was significant growth in Week 1: Medium pass.
Last season, in all passes thrown from 11 to 19 yards, Tagovailoa rated poorly at 68.6:50 completions in 98 attempts for 765 yards, with five touchdowns and six interceptions.
In his first week against New England, he had a pass rating of 149.3 in those throws — 4 for 6 for 80 yards and touchdowns.
One big key: The left Tagoviloa didn’t throw his body, his right, on any of his 11 to 19 yard throws.
Last season, when he threw straight outside on the fairways that traveled 11 to 19 yards, he had a brutal NFL 12.5 rating (5 for 15, 80 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions).
McDaniel apparently cleared those throws, and Tagovailoa didn’t try anything while improvising.
In throws of 20 yards or more, it was 2-for-5 for 49 yards on Sunday; Tagoviloa was 14 to 29 in such throws last season.
So in all 11-yard passes against New England, Tagoviloa was 6 for 11 yards for 129 yards and a TD (passing rating 126.7).
The other area, besides middle passing, where growth is needed is Tagoviloa’s performance in the face of the heavy passing rush.
Last season, he had a passing rating of 54.8 when pressured (51st in the league) but 103.3 (23rd) when he had a clean pocket.
On Sunday, he had a pass rating of 79.2 when pressured and a pass rating of 115.3 when kept clean. But Tagovailoa, in his eagerness to avoid cysts, must continue to improve his decision-making process.
He threw a few throws he would have likely reclaimed and missed the Tyrick’s open hill in one play.
But he threw for 270 yards, made no spin and emerged from the weekend ranked eighth in both the passer rating (104.4) and completion percentage (69.7).
Ryan Smith, Tagovailoa and Dolphins for Per Pro Football Focus used the play move on 45.9 percent of their drops. And he led the league last year with 42.4 percent.
As expected, Durham Smythe played more offensive shots than Mike Gesicki, 38 to 25. Smythe is the best blocker, and McDaniel’s system requires tight ends to be an effective blocker. Hunter Long, the owner of the tight end No. 3, played 12 shots.
Jesecki was targeted with just one pass and caught that lane but only for a yard.
Bear Chris Kaufman, podcast host @3YardsPerCarry, Gesicki wasn’t on the field in any of the 20 plays where the Dolphins used racerbacks and a tight end, and Miami ran six times for 0 yards when Gesicki was on the field.
Dolphins said they’re not shopping for Gesicki, but could have a decision to make before the November 2 trading deadline if they decide they don’t want to re-sign it but would rather not lose it for anything for free. Agency next spring.
▪ Here’s how to customize the receiver’s wide shots: Hill and Jaylen Waddle played 40 of the Dolphins’ 60 offensive shots, with Cedrick Wilson Jr. 28 shots, Trent Sherfield 21 and River Cracraft 10.
▪ On the run, Chase Edmonds played 38 shots, Raheem Mostert 25 and linebacker Alec Ingold 22. Miles Gaskin didn’t play a surprise attack, and the injured Salvon Ahmed was inactive.
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▪ In evaluating the game of dolphins, Focus on professional football The best pass blocking left tackle was given by Terron Armstead and the best pass blocking pass to the middle was given by Conor Williams.
PFF ranked left guard Liam Eichenberg as the worst player in Miami on Sunday in both blocking passes and blocking runs. Eichenberg allowed two strokes and four strokes in blocking the pass.
Greg Little allowed a sack and three presses in 45 shots after replacing Austin Jackson, who left with an ankle injury. Right guard Robert Hunt let the other Miami bag in.
▪ PFF cornerbacks Kader Kohou, Williams, Melvin Ingram, Emmanuel Ogbah and Waddle gave their top marks from the Dolphins opener. Kohou was targeted twice in coverage and not allowed to complete; He is also forced to fumble.
▪ Xavien Howard was only targeted twice and allowed to complete one (6 yards drop to Ty Montgomery) but had an impressive deflection when intercepting Jevon Holland.
Nick Needham, who started in place of injured Byron Jones, allowed five of six catches against him for 96 yards, which equates to a pass rating of 118.7 against him.
▪ Besides the two sacks (by Ogbah and Jones), Miami pressed Mac Jones in two more passing games of the day – by Ogbah and Duke Riley.
Sealer rushed 27 times, Christian Wilkins 24 and Jaylan Phillips 18 times without quarterback pressure, per PFF.
Miami was attacking its coffers infrequently. Jones lunged four times (he had a tape cyst leading to a TD on one of them) and Holland lunged twice.
▪ Last week, Patriots’ Jason McCourty spoke about Patriots linebacker Jonathan Jones being able to keep up with Terrick Hill’s pace. Hill caught four out of six goals for 50 yards with Jones covered.
▪ Cornerback Keion Crossen posted the NFL’s second-fastest pace on Sunday, at 22.05 mph.
This story was originally published September 12, 2022 2:02 pm.