|Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Date: Sunday, 17 October Begin: 14:30 BST|
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You simply knew that Tua Tagovailoa’s phrases would come again to hang-out him.
The Miami Dolphins chosen the quarterback with the fifth choose of the 2020 draft and 7 weeks into his rookie season, gave him the beginning job.
Then after profitable his first three video games as a starter, he stated of adjusting to the NFL: “I anticipated it to be rather a lot tougher”.
He was benched through the very subsequent recreation and has been underwhelming since, profitable simply half his video games. Eleven months on, BBC pundit Osi Umenyiora is not the one one who’s “not 100% bought on him because the long-term reply for that offence”.
Now it is his former school rival Trevor Lawrence, the highest choose in this yr’s draft, who’s studying simply how robust a transition it’s within the NFL.
Miami and the winless Jacksonville Jaguars have swapped Florida for London this weekend, the place their younger quarterbacks will battle it out for a much-needed win.
Are Jaguars over fallout of Meyer movies?
Jacksonville may need had the NFL’s worst report final season however having the primary choose in a draft that includes the most important ‘can’t-miss’ prospect in a decade helped persuade legendary school coach City Meyer to take his first NFL job at 57.
It has been a tricky begin although. After 5 video games, Jacksonville and the Detroit Lions are the one groups but to win this season. The Jaguars have not received since their 2020 opener and cross the Atlantic on the again of 20 straight defeats, the second-longest dropping streak within the Tremendous Bowl period.
Even Jacksonville’s James Robinson, who rushed for a career-high 149 yards final week, is shocked. “I can not actually wrap my head round that,” stated the operating again. “We have to discover a technique to win.”
And their activity was made all of the tougher by movies of Meyer, a grandfather who’s been married for 35 years, partying with a younger girl.
They went viral, forcing Meyer to apologise each publicly and privately earlier than final week’s 37-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans, whereas Jaguars proprietor Shahid Khan stated his conduct was “inexcusable”, including: “Now he should regain our belief and respect.”
“In a locker room it is all about these conversations along with your coaches and that belief,” says BBC pundit Jason Bell.
“Meyer’s all the time been a fantastic communicator in school and he wants to speak together with his crew now, to re-establish himself as their chief. He builds organisations, and hopefully he can do the identical at Jacksonville, however it simply takes time.
“This yr it is all about taking a look at Trevor Lawrence, seeing precisely what he does properly after which, in these years to come back, rebuilding the offence round that. That is all about progress, that is why it is thrilling to look at them, to see how they hold enhancing.”
Can Lawrence make historical past in London?
Lawrence knew he wasn’t becoming a member of a profitable franchise. However after simply 5 video games with Jacksonville, he is suffered extra defeats within the NFL than he did throughout his highschool and school profession – he had a outstanding 86-4 report.
Solely fellow rookie Zach Wilson, whose New York Jets misplaced final week’s recreation in London, has thrown extra interceptions than Lawrence’s eight.
However Lawrence, who’s simply turned 22, hasn’t gone again into his shell. He is thrown for six touchdowns, averaged 229 passing yards a recreation and scored a speeding landing in every of the final two video games.
Now he faces a Miami defence which allowed 5 landing passes as they slipped to 1-4 final week and, within the thirtieth regular-season recreation to be performed in London, Lawrence can grow to be the primary rookie quarterback to win there – Wilson was the fifth to try to fail.
“I’ve seen a man taking dangers, as a result of he has to, however every week he is nonetheless throwing the ball, he isn’t gun shy,” says Bell.
“He appears to enhance his choice making just a little bit each week. That is what we heard about Patrick Mahomes early on in apply. He was throwing a ton of interceptions each day.
“However you have to work out methods to throw the ball within the NFL. It is exhausting, the home windows are smaller, so I like the very fact he is making an attempt to try this every week. And for a man who’s 6ft 6in, he’s so athletic. He can run.
“So I feel he is simply figuring it out. They are going to construct the crew round him and I like his future. If the draft was finished over, I would choose him primary once more, little question.”
Time for Tagovailoa to indicate he is the fitting man for Miami?
However for a nasty hip harm that introduced a untimely finish to his school profession, Tagovailoa may need been 2020’s primary choose, as a substitute of the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow.
The left-handed quarterback from Hawaii rose to prominence by coming off the bench to steer Alabama to victory in school soccer’s nationwide championship recreation in January 2018. The yr after they misplaced to Lawrence’s Clemson, who had been crushed by Burrow’s Louisiana State College in 2020.
Considerations stay over his sturdiness after Tagovailoa missed per week with a thumb harm final yr, plus the final three weeks with cracked ribs, and regardless of a constructive begin, he was eclipsed by fellow rookies Burrow and Justin Herbert in 2020.
Miami favoured a low-risk passing recreation which nearly acquired them into the play-offs. Tagovailoa has a fast launch and tended to test down earlier than taking time to look down the sector for a deep throw.
Now again from harm and with the Dolphins having drafted huge receiver Jaylen Waddle, one in every of his favorite targets at Alabama, maybe that is the time for the 23-year-old to let unfastened and present he may be Miami’s franchise quarterback.
“I need Tua to be the man,” says Bell. “They constructed the offence round his skillset, being a distributor, however I am unsure they’re even utilizing Jaylen Waddle the way in which he ought to be used. I feel on this subsequent quarter of the season they’re going to be capable of work out who and what they’re.”
Umenyiora provides: “Defensively they’ve not performed in addition to anticipated after final yr, however they’ve a improbable head coach [Brian Flores] and good homeowners. I feel this crew is barely going to get higher. We simply want to offer Tua extra time to see if he is the fitting man for Miami’s future.”