The Miami Dolphins are aligned in what may be their best position entering into a regular season campaign since the early 2000s. The Dolphins have a strong willed coach who excels in player relations, they’ve got a young nucleus of talent to help build off of a 10-win campaign in 2020 and there’s a general belief that after two straight years of self improvement, this franchise is ready to be truly relevant once again.
But lingering in the background of all of the optimism in South Florida is the persistent rumor that Miami, or at least someone of power in Miami’s building, has eyes for Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, who reportedly has eyes for the Dolphins, too.
But Watson has bigger things to worry about other than football and the Dolphins have a season to play; with a second-year quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa at the helm. Tagovailoa had an irregular rookie season, but he’s shown significant signs of growth throughout the preseason and in training camp from his 2020 self. It appears to be enough to keep the Dolphins committed to staying the course.
That’s the message that Brian Flores reportedly delivered to his team, too — according to Jeff Darlington of ESPN. Darlington has South Florida roots and is, quite frankly, one of the best in the business. So when Darlington reports that Flores ‘addressed’ the rumors with his team and backed Tagovailoa, it carries weight.
“I’m told Dolphins coach Brian Flores just addressed his team regarding recent reports tying Miami to a possible trade for Deshaun Watson. Sources say he told players and staff that Tua Tagovailoa is “our quarterback” in a brief but poignant endorsement of the QB. (quick thread)
This info isn’t intended to dispute recent reporting that Miami was a major player in trade discussions. Rather, it is a reflection of the moment. A coach standing in front of his team, endorsing his QB, is not the same as one navigating a press conference.
So wherever it started, wherever it’s going, here’s what you can take away: Less than two weeks before the season’s start, Flores made clear to his team that Tua is indeed their quarterback, and I expect him to echo a similar sentiment in the weeks to come.” — Jeff Darlington, ESPN
Interestingly enough, Darlington also does go out of his way to note that the reports of Miami’s interest very well could be true. Who is at the root of that interest in Watson is up for speculation. But based on the timing of the start of the season and, more importantly, Watson’s lingering allegations off the field of sexual assault, Flores apparently felt now was the right time to close the door on such discussions internally and make sure his team knows where things stand.Tua Tagovailoa is the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback. And it sounds like that’s going to continue to be the case for 2021 — what Tagovailoa does with that fact now will help further define the rumor mill with Watson going forward; because ultimately the rumors are not going to go away until Watson’s trade request to the Texans is fulfilled. Unless of course, Tagovailoa leaves no doubt he’s the future throughout this season.