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Tua Tagovailoa officially signed with the Dolphins on Monday, and now his number 1 jersey is the league's best selling. It's also the second best. For some reason, fans prefer the aqua away jersey over the white home jersey. I'm guessing that's because very, very few people actually watch the Dolphins when they play at home.

Dol-fans are understandably excited about the new prospect. Why shouldn't they be? He hasn't played a snap yet and he already has to be better than a dozen of the players who have actually lined up under center for the Fins since that aforementioned Marino guy, hallowed by thy name.

Amusing side note: Tua selected the number 1 because his college number, 13, has been retired by the Dolphins for Dan Marino, saints be praised. For the record, I happen to have two Marino jerseys in my closet, one home and one away.

A word of caution: this time last year, the best selling jersey belonged to Baker Mayfield. The year before that, it was Carson Wentz and before that, James Conner. Two of those three have injury issues, and the other is stuck on the perennially worst team in the NFL. In other words, Tua is joining a very questionable group whose performance has never lived up to the hype.

Which is not to say that I'm off the Tua bandwagon. I'm just advising we pump the brakes a little. The Dolphins didn't get to the bottom of the heap by being a great team. So there's still a ways to climb before they get the top of the heap. Win a Super Bowl, guys, and maybe then I'll think about buying some of your merchandise again. In all likelihood, it will be a third Dan Marino jersey, blessed be the fruit of thy loom.

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The Miami Dolphins 2019 season can now be called a success.

Waaay back in January 2019, the Miami Herald reported that team owner Stephen Ross "really likes Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and that getting a high 2020 draft pick is the priority." After winning only 5 of 16 games, the team selected Tua Tagovailoa as the 5th pick in last night's 2020 NFL Draft! Amazing!

Whether or not Tua will translate into actual wins on the NFL gridiron remains to be seen, but I'm not worried. If the Dolphins still suck at actual football in 2020, I'm sure Mr. Ross can find some other way to redefine success.

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I haven't mentioned the Miami Dolphins in over two months and for good reason. They're bad. They're even bad at being bad. Their best achievement in 2019 was having Dan Marino named as one of the 10 greatest quarterbacks of the past century. Too bad Marino retired 20 years ago. The team hasn't had a consistently decent quarterback since.

To solve that problem, the team started the 2019 season with the intention of losing more than anyone has ever lost before to secure the first pick in the 2020 draft. They ultimately finished fifth in the race to be worst, meaning they won't get the best available quarterback. They might not even get the second, third, or fourth.

The best option, according to just about everyone, is Joe Burrow, whose LSU team mastered the art of having offensive linemen get away without being called for holding. He is followed in some order by Justin Herbert, Jacob Eason, and Jake Fromm. Two of them are/were Georgia Bulldogs, so I'd be fine cheering for them as Dolphins. On the other hand, Herbert is slow to make decisions, but is a nearly seven-foot-tall giant. Given that NFL scouts are size queens and Herbert is the one I like least, I figure he's the one most likely to be the Dolphins' eventual pick.

If there's any good news for the Dolphins, it's that their original target QB, Tua Tagovailoa, has fallen from his early projections and should still be available at five. (Maybe even at twenty.) Why? Because he's fragile. Would the team that famously passed on Drew Brees' wounded wing draft a player who's the real-life equivalent of a mid-80s G.I.Joe figure with a busted rubber band? We'll see.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins' last quarterback project, Ryan Tannehill, refuses to lose with his new team. Two games into the playoffs, two wins. That's two more than Ryan won in seven years with the Dolphins. Given that the Dolphins are still paying Tannehill against his last contract, they deserve at least some credit for those wins, right?

It remains possible, maybe even likely, that last year's starting QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick will return under center in 2020. In 2019, playing for his 8th team, Fitzpatrick became the oldest player (37) to lead his team in rushing yards (243) and rushing touchdowns (4) in a season, which implies that the Dolphins running game might be a bigger problem than whoever they've got under center. (Tannehill, for example, is now winning largely thanks to the legs of Derrick Henry.) I won't be surprised if the team decides to try losing another year's worth of games to address that problem in 2021.

Go 'Fins!

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Mid-season update on Operation Fish Tank: the winless Miami Dolphins were on target in their quest for the first pick in the 2020 Draft until they ran into the one-win New York Jets. The resulting contest was a sad parody of what football is supposed to be.

Coach Brian Flores's season-long compromise between his competitive nature and his owner's desire for Tua Tagavailoa has been to score as many points as possible in the first half then stop playing after halftime. That strategy finally failed him. It's hard to blame him here, as how could anyone expect the Jets to be better at the same tactic? Both teams tried forcing a safety on the other, but the Jets' incompetence could not be overcome.

There are now 4 teams with one win, and the Cinncinnati Bengals lie alone at the bottom of the pile as the only remaining winless team. The Dolphins aren't even in second place among the tied-for-second teams. The NFL uses strength of schedule for draft tiebreakers, and the worst team with the hardest road is the Atlanta Falcons. (Echos of "28-3" continues to resonate.)

(UPDATE 2019-11-05: Oops. I misunderstood that tiebreaker. That should be the worst team with the *easiest* strength of schedule, which isn't Atlanta but Washington. Dolphins still in third, though.)

So here we are at the halfway point of the 2019 season, and it looks like the Miami Dolphins have scrapped all the talent on their team and endured a horrible, losing season... for the third overall pick. At least Atlanta isn't likely to take a QB, right? Right?

Way to find a way to lose at losing, Fins.

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To be continued...

 

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