Chan Gailey wasn’t expecting a phone call from Dolphins head coach Brian Flores asking him to return to the NFL as the offensive coordinator in Miami, but he accepted it when it came early this year.
Gailey told reporters on Saturday that the chance to work with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick again factored into his decision and that it “might have been a different story” with a different roster. Gailey’s decision also gives him a chance to work with first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa.
The veteran coach praised Tagovailoa’s “leadership, his ability to throw the football, his touch, game management” during the media session, but acknowledged that there are plenty of unknowns when it comes to how he’ll develop as a professional.
“He’s going to develop quickly or slowly depending on how much he grasps the offense, and how quickly he comes [along], and how he develops as a football player. A lot of that is based on health,” Gailey said, via Safid Deen of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “There are a lot of factors in there. I hope I have a big impact on [Tagovailoa’s development], but you never know about that. You have to see how fast and how well a player comes on, and you see what he does. . . . We’ll try to put him in a position to be successful when the time comes.”
The question of when Tagovailoa’s time is going to come will be a big one in Miami this season and Gailey’s ability to prepare him for that moment will likely have a lot to do with how long the coordinator’s NFL comeback lasts.