Tua Tagovailoa acknowledges problems in cold weather as dolphins seek a strong finish – NFL Nation

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MIAMI – In Week 17, the Miami Dolphins looked like a South Florida team – ineffective in bad weather conditions during a 34-3 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

The temperature was in the 30s Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee. It rained. Both the pitch and the football were smooth. Still, only one team turned the ball over twice – the one that kept Christmas at 80 degrees.

With annual games in cold weather environments like Buffalo, Boston and New York, the Dolphins must be better under those conditions; that’s something quarterback Tua Tagovailoa said he will prioritize this offseason.

“We look at the mistakes we’ve made after every game we’ve played and see what we can do to help us become successful so we do not make the same mistakes,” he said on Wednesday. “I think for myself it is to be able to simulate the scenario in cold weather and try to throw a ball while it is wet at the same time in cold weather. Many of the good teams are teams in cold weather.

“I think it’s something I have to take into consideration in this offseason for myself. I’ll probably visit my brother or take a trip to a place where it’s cold and somehow get the feel of it. . “

Any out-of-season trips to visit his brother, Taulia, in Maryland will have to wait until at least next week, as the dolphins’ season is not over. They are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but have the opportunity to end with their second winning season in a row under coach Brian Flores when they host the New England Patriots (10-6) on Sunday (16:25 ET, CBS).

It would be something to celebrate – Miami (8-8) has not recorded consecutive winning seasons since 2003, the last in a series of 15 seasons in a row without a losing record for the franchise.

Still, it feels like a forced silver lining after entering the season with so much optimism. Miami started 1-7 before rattling a seven-game winning streak that ended last weekend. The endless loss was a microcosm of the problems Miami faced throughout the season, including a slow start.

“I think for us it starts with consistency,” Tagovailoa said. “In order for us to get things started, we have to do the things we do really well. If we do not do the right thing, we can not really skip shifts. We can not go from gear three to gear four to gear five if we make a mistake on one and two. “

Their characteristically slow start must become a saga just next season if the Dolphins hope to end a five-year playoff drought. In three seasons under Flores, they have started 1-7 twice – a record that was excusable in 2019, but not so much in 2021.

This upcoming offseason is crucial for Miami, which is expected to have more than $ 70 million in salary caps. That’s more than enough to bolster an offensive line that ranks last in the pass block win rate, or add playmakers to an offensive that clearly lacks those behind rookie receiver Jaylen Waddle.

It also represents a fork in the road for Tagovailoa, which the team will have to decide on after the 2022 season. Can he make the necessary adjustments to develop into a player worthy of having his fifth-year option picked up? He seems ready to learn from his mistakes, which is a trait Flores has seen from him through their two years together.

“We move on. We move on to the next piece, we take it one piece at a time, one day at a time,” Flores said. “That’s the case for [Tagovailoa] and each player. That would be my message to anyone who has suffered adversity. “

A win Sunday would feel like a moral victory after the possibility of playoff football shone brightly in South Florida before disappearing like a shooting star against the Titans. But back-to-back winning records would also be a positive takeaway from a season that the Dolphins can tolerate learning from.

“I really have not thought too much about it. I’m just very focused on this team this week,” Flores said. “It’s a tough opponent … It’s going to take a lot of effort from us, a great week of preparation to get the result we’re looking for.”

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