Before the trade deadline expired, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross asked permission to speak with Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, likely seeking information on the quarterback and the dozens of allegations. sexual misconduct against you.
It was a remarkable attempt to circumnavigate the investigative process that one might see as insensitive towards the women who sued it, who have seen their jarring complaints treated as little more than popsicle stick fences standing in the way of a sports transaction for many people. I would like to see.
Of much less importance, but relevant to what we are talking about at the moment from a field perspective, was the effect the maneuver must have had on Tua Tagovailoa, who may have the distinction of having routinely and publicly failed for his organization. more than any young quarterback in recent memory. Despite not yet having a full season of starts under his belt, Tagovailoa is already in his second group of coordinators and in his third wave of transactional rumors that directly involve his future employment.
While we tend to have less sympathy for someone who drops seven figures a year, it is nearly impossible to consider how Tagovailoa is expected to learn and grow in an environment where he clearly does not appreciate his budding skill set or the time it takes him to certain prospects. develop and feel comfortable at the NFL level. It’s easy for us to say that we wouldn’t worry about it, that we’d be happy with just play in the NFL, but imagine how you would feel if your boss routinely answered phone calls in full view of the entire company, talking to a person who does your job better than you about when they might start working.
That’s especially true when the person on the other line is under criminal investigation for some egregious behavior. How might you interpret your workplace’s set of values and platitudes about leading men and doing the right thing? Could you interpret any future vote of confidence as more than a half-hearted attempt to muffle the noise surrounding an unavoidable transaction?
Apparently, from the moment the Chargers’ Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, who were consecutively selected in 2020, began their divergent paths, Tagovailoa was treated as a bad or depreciated asset. He was benched multiple times during his rookie year which, while deserved, was during a time when he operated behind a middle offensive line and a dangerously low set of skill position players. His coordinator at the time, Chan Gailey, had a long-standing relationship with veteran Tagovailoa mentor Ryan Fitzpatrick, and has logged just one season in the top 10 in total points or yards over the past decade.
This year, the offensive line remains disastrous. Tagovailoa’s main weapon outside of DeVante Parker is a rookie navigating one of the most difficult positions to transfer from college to the NFL. The Dolphins knew everything they needed to know about Tagovailoa. They knew of his injury history. Brian Flores’ mentor Bill Belichick is closer to the Tagovailoa college coach than anyone else in the NFL. Flores’ former co-worker Brian Daboll was briefly Tagovailoa’s offensive coordinator. What could they not have anticipated?
Our role here as impartial observers is difficult because we must keep in mind that the Cardinals behaved similarly, setting up a first-round pick to fail and blaming the poor guy in his twenties (Josh Rosen) for the most part rather than the organizational mismanagement that got them to that point. And the Cardinals finished with Kyler Murray. Everybody is happy. The end, right?
This is exactly why I’ve advocated for more rookie quarterbacks to explore their business value during their first season if they sense something might be wrong. Tagovailoa’s stock, barring a tremendous finale to the 2021 season, is permanently lost, and it looks like his next destination may end up being the Texans, a club that will throw him into the veterans’ skillet in rebuilding and at the end of his career. They have been burdened and are forcing him to thrive with less talent and a more fragile head coach situation.
Players’ conscience is the only protection they have, but unfortunately, it takes time in the NFL’s washing machine to develop those eyes in the back of the head.
Not every workplace will be Chobani or Gravity Payments, where a CEO rock star builds a foundation of tremendous vibes through generosity, executive pay cuts, and employee raises or stock allocation. The only NFL facilities that are fun to get to for work every day are usually the ones that are winning.
That’s why it’s so confusing for a workplace to show up so continually, seemingly desperate to investigate someone like Watson rather than putting that effort into developing player common sense fixes it already has.
Miami has already failed Tagovailoa, and perhaps, as it happened in Arizona, few people will remember when there is another star quarterback in town, whether it’s Watson next year or some other player soon. But perhaps the recklessness of the organization persists with the sense of belonging and substitution capacity of its own players. Because in an era of increasing player empowerment, who would want to make a long-term commitment to an environment where their boss is already looking for a reason to move on?
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.