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Leaked practice footage feeds the Tua hype machine

The majority of Tua Tagovailoa fans anxiously await his first snap inside in a real NFL game.

Every week, we wait to see Tagovailoa’s name under Fitzpatrick’s in Google’s stat box, and every week results in another week of anticipation.

Then, this week came another setback, when Tagovailoa fell ill with a non-COVID-19-related flu, which temporarily forced the Dolphins to place him on the injury report.

The other setback came when Fitzpatrick, the 37-year-old quarterback, found the fountain of youth in his lights-out performance against Jacksonville on Monday Night Football.

Fitz was 18-for-20 for 160 yards and two touchdowns and, most importantly, zero interceptions, leading the Fins to a 31-13 victory over the Jags.

The Dolphins are now 1-3, and fans are getting restless. Even though they played a Seattle Seahawks team that looks destined to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season, Fitzpatrick’s stats didn’t stand out.

Against the seemingly-indestructible Seahawks team, which, barring a number of significant injuries, look to be destined to make it to the Super Bowl, Fitz threw two interceptions and no touchdowns.

The leaked YouTube footage has only added to fans’ anticipation to see the standout from Honolulu.

It was said on YouTube, by Dolphin Zone, the publisher of the leaked footage, that a former member of the Miami Dolphins practice squad, Chester Rogers, allegedly leaked the footage since he was angry at the Dolphins for cutting him.

In the footage, Tagovailoa links up a couple of times with Rogers, where his talent is reminiscent of another former Miami Dolphin quarterback named Dan Marino.

Because Marino is right handed and Tagovailoa is a lefty, the comparisons to those as quarterbacks probably stop and end there, but it is inevitable the pair will forever be linked because they are both players the Dolphins’ organization invested big-time into the franchise’s future direction.

One parallel that isn’t ridiculous in looking at this YouTube footage is Tagovailoa’s natural talent. Like Marino, Tagovailoa’s fluid throw, his quick release and his ability to find the open receiver under a tremendous amount of pressure are reminiscent of watching some of Marino’s early footage in the 1983 Dolphins’ training camp.

Marino, who was competing with the now-late Dolphins’ quarterback David Woodley, had throws that seemed as effortless and as fluid as Tagovailoa’s.

Rogers was disgruntled, and that is why he chose to release the footage to showcase his skill set as a wide receiver. Now he’s with the Titans’ practice squad, but what he ended up doing was inadvertently feeding the hype machine around Tua.

The impulsive actions of Rogers just probably caused the Fins’ fan base to be more anxious to see Fitzpatrick’s successor.

With each pressing setback, he has you almost wondering if he is completely healthy. It is hard to tell from a snippet of footage, but showcases his natural ability to be the quarterback, the reason he was drafted fifth in the 2020 NFL draft.

The Dolphins may remain patient with his development, but Rogers just continues to feed the hype machine surrounding the franchise’s future.

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Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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