AFC Notes: Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots


Count 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan among the many doubters of Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa entering this season. And count him among the many people needing to eat crow after the brilliant job done by HC Mike McDaniel, Shanahan’s former top assistant, in bringing the best out of Tagovailoa. 

“I wasn’t totally sure of [Tagovailoa’s fit in the scheme],” Shanahan said via the Athletic’s Matt Barrows. “And I remember turning (the television) on in the preseason and watching his first game and I was like, ‘Wow, this guy looks totally different and looks very comfortable.’ And you turn it on in Week 1 and I thought he was playing in Week 1 as good as anyone in this league.”

Tagovailoa doesn’t have the strongest arm, which a lot of people thought would limit all the speed the Dolphins had collected on offense. But Shanahan says Tagovailoa’s quick processing is helping him hit players in open windows and making the offense go. 

“When that back foot hits, he knows where to look,” Shanahan said. “They have so much speed that they blow the top off of stuff, which gets some people open underneath. Tua’s the reason that they’re leading the league in explosives. He knows how to hit people over the middle.”

  • Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater (knee) wouldn’t put a timeline on his return but was not overly concerned about needing surgery.  (Joe Schad)


Jets RB James Robinson admitted that he was upset for being a healthy scratch against Chicago.

Obviously, I didn’t come here not to play,” Robinson said, via ESPN. “Obviously, they brought me here for a reason. I don’t expect anything unless I work for it, and I’ve been working my ass off. Me not playing pisses me off.

Robinson is beginning to question how he fits in New York.

Obviously, I was upset about it,” he said. “I don’t know what they have planned for me.

Robinson claims that he’s adjusted well to the new system and believes he has a good handle of what he needs to do in pass protection.

I mean, picking up the runs, that’s easy,” Robinson said. “The thing is getting used to the pass game, protections and I feel like I’ve picked up that stuff up pretty good. You probably have to ask them what their game plan is for me. I’d do the same, but obviously I’m going to continue to work my ass off. I can’t go in there begging. They can see what I do on the field.

Jets HC Robert Saleh declined to comment on what to expect from the running back room moving forward.

With that entire running-back room, it’s going to be a week-to-week thing,” Saleh said.


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Howe writes that if Buccaneers QB Tom Brady decides to play another season in 2023 and if he decides his best bet is to play somewhere besides Tampa Bay, the Patriots should not be discounted as a potential landing spot.
  • Howe explains Brady and Patriots HC Bill Belichick still have tons of mutual respect and appear to be on good terms despite Brady’s exit a few seasons ago. The hangups will be who’s running the offense and if Brady trusts them. 
  • While Howe says the Patriots would probably explore trading incumbent QB Mac Jones if Brady returned, it wouldn’t be a necessity since Jones is still on a cheap rookie contract, especially if New England can’t recoup a first-round pick. 

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