To continue to shine, Tua needs Dolphins to master new techniques, attack approach |Schad

MIAMI GARDENS — Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was fantastic in Sunday's training camp practice.

Tua connected with Tyreek Hill on a 40-yard touchdown.

Then Tua completed another bomb to Cedrick Wilson for a touchdown.

Tua was excellent on short, intermediate and deep passes.

Now comes the caution. No, it's not about how Tua is doing this in practice, not games, and certainly not games in Buffalo or Tennessee in January.

Yes, Tua's arm appears stronger and he's regained some confidence and he has a coach and teammates who support him. Yes, Tua is clearly an improved player.

But none of that will matter much if Miami's offensive linemen and tight ends don't accelerate their absorption of a brand-new style of offense, the outside zone.

When it works, it's a beautiful symphony.

Until it's pieced together seamlessly, it can be a cacophony.

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It's imperative that Miami's offensive linemen learn how to work in sync. And tight ends, too. They're the ones who are going to determine whether Tua has the time to do his thing.

"We have a lot of weapons," left tackle Terron Armstead said last week. "We’re just trying to get those guys an opportunity to make plays.”

Dolphins like 49ers-style zone offense

Player after player has said they're liking the 49ers-style zone offense. It can create misdirection. It can stress the bodies and minds of defensive coaches and players.

And it works. It just takes some time. On Sunday, coach Mike McDaniel, who explains things candidly and simply to both players and media, pulled back the curtain a bit.

McDaniel, asked specifically about tight ends, noted coaches are "undoing a bunch of technique that (players have) been used to their whole football lives."

Then McDaniel went further. The coach explained that tight ends, in particular, are often coached to "not get beat as opposed to attacking with known help."

You will notice Dolphins offensive players attacking space and attacking players in a more aggressive manner in 2022.

"We say, 'We’re going to go after the guy,'" McDaniel said. "Here, on these plays, you will have help. Here, you won’t. It’s really a completely different mindset. It’s almost like every time he blocks, he’s running a route."

The same can be said about Miami's offensive linemen. They will no longer be sitting back on their heels.

"I have pretty big dreams," offensive tackle Austin Jackson said recently. "I’m going to live up to them.”

Jackson has more confidence because not only are his coaches encouraging him but all involved believe he's a better fit for this scheme.

Jackson's athleticism should work in his favor. He knows the play. He knows the snap count. He knows where he is headed before the play begins.

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, passing during last Friday's practice in MIami Gardens, has looked better in the first two weeks of training camp.

Less react. More attack.

"I think this offense and scheme is an o-line-friendly scheme," guard Robert Hunt said. "It’s a beautiful thing."

No excuses for Tagovailoa this season

Tagovailoa is entering a no-excuses season. And you can call it an excuse or a reason, but poor offensive line play, particularly protection, impacted his play in 2021.

ESPN recently projected Miami's offensive line to improve from worst in the league to 25th overall. If Miami could somehow get league-average line performance, that would make a big difference for the entire offense.

Based on what we've seen this spring and summer, the scheme should help Tagovailoa improve both statistically and with an eye test. And Miami's offensive line should be better, although this week's joint practices at Tampa could prove telling.

The Dolphins expect yards-per-rush and yards-per-catch to increase.

But in order for that to happen, Dolphins players are going to have to get very comfortable with what really are totally different assignments.

"Some schemes are, I mean, it's more 'front' a guy up," tight end Hunter Long said. "This scheme, you know, you're supposed to run with the ball, and we're getting there.

"And everyone has tendencies from what they learned in the past, where you went to college, what you learned from different coaching staffs. This coaching staff likes it one way, and we're definitely on our way to getting it."

Saturday's preseason game

Dolphins at Bucs

7:30 p.m.,  CBS

Joe Schad is a journalist at The Palm Beach Post part of the USA Today Florida Network. You can reach him at jschad@pbpost.comHelp support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Dolphins new offense under Mike McDaniel should help Tua Tagovailoa