Tua Tagovailoa's five interceptions in practice Tuesday generated a lot of headlines in South Florida and across the country, but head coach Brian Flores downplayed the issue a bit the day after.
While Flores said he never really wants to see his quarterbacks throwing interceptions in any setting, the circumstances — namely the fact it was a minicamp practice in June — had to be taken into account.
Specifically, part of the goal of practice was getting Tagovailoa to throw the ball downfield. Flores said he wasn't concerned the interceptions would make Tua more hesitant to throw the ball downfield moving forward.
“I don’t think Tua is going into a shell," Flores said. "Look, I tell him to continue being aggressive. Really, the conversations are a lot of what we’ve already talked about here. It’s using this time to practice pushing the ball downfield, then we’ll make the adjustments and the corrections. Then we’ll go at it again the next day. That’s the normal progression of how this goes. My conversations with him are, ‘We’ll look at it, we’ll make the corrections and we’ll get better and come out here and go tomorrow.”
Here are a few things to keep in mind regarding Flores' comments:
-- First off, we have to examine the definition of "pushing the ball downfield" because not one of Tua's interceptions came on a deep pass. At most, they were intermediate routes and the pick-six by Nik Needham was a short outside throw intended for DeVante Parker.
-- Throwing the ball downfield most definitely was an issue for Tua during his rookie season and where he most needs to make strides in 2021 if he's to make the kind of visible improvement the Dolphins hope to see.
-- If nothing else, forcing Tua in minicamp to throw downfield without his receiver being clearly open, even at the cost of interceptions, will be beneficial in the long run because he himself admitted last season that he was hesitant to do that in 2020. And it's difficult to imagine Tua reaching his full potential without correcting that issue.
-- There were intermittent downpours in Davie on Tuesday, but there were few passes thrown — and can't recall an interception — in a driving rainstorm. For old movie buffs, it wasn't like the final game in "All The Right Moves."
-- While throwing interceptions in minicamps is no big deal and a point of contention for Tua supporters on this day, let's also understand that if the hope is that Tua takes the next step in 2021, it would be nice to see signs of that improvement on the practice field. Put simply, the hope remains that Tua will be able to throw downfield in his second season, but we still don't know for sure he'll become proficient at it and the practice Tuesday certainly didn't provide any evidence of that. All the glowing comments about Tua for people around him are great, but they don't mean as much as showing things in practice.
-- We'll finish off by just saying that, yes, it was just one minicamp practice and there's still a long ways to go before the start of the regular season. So while we caution against trying to justify everything that happened Tuesday, there will be plenty of other chances for Tagovailoa this summer for him to show he can thrown downfield.