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Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa connects deep with Tyreek Hill; snaps back at deep-ball criticism


NFL: Miami Dolphins Minicamp Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Good Morning, Phinsider Family.

Yesterday, during the team’s final mandatory mini-camp before OTAs kick off again on June 6th-7th, Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa set the sky ablaze, connecting on not one but two deep passes to wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

And like everything with QB1, Tua Tagovailoa, the internet was talking.

What fans should be most excited about, however, isn’t this 55-yard dot to Tyreek Hill or the 69-yarder (nice) that he completed to The Cheetah earlier in the day. No. He’s always been able to do that.

The thing that should have fans most excited from yesterday’s OTAS is everything we continue to hear about Tua Tagovailoa’s newly found swagger. A swagger that we’ve already seen from time to time on game day. (For example, that one time he destroyed a helpless New York Jets’ defensive back with a vicious truck stick.) But now, under new HC Mike McDaniel, he’s starting to open up more with his coaches and his teammates. Unlocking a more confident Tua than anything we’ve seen out of the third-year QB since his arrival.

Here’s what head coach Mike McDaniel had to say about what he’s seen from his quarterback Tua Tagovailoa early on in camp.

“I’m really excited about the reps that Tua (Tagovailoa) is getting in this offense. I’m excited about where he’s at. Today was – I talked to the team and I talked to him today specifically about – I’ve just been waiting for those moments where you have a slight obstacle. Tua is very, very critical on his ball placement and he’s a very accurate quarterback as a result. Yesterday, he had some throws that he demands better of himself. Like I told everybody else, today was the first day I got to really evaluate Tua because that is a professional quarterback in the National Football League. You’re going to have things that you don’t execute to perfection. You’re going to have people talking about how you’re not performing and guess what? No one cares. It’s about leading. He had a ton of energy and I was very, very happy with his effort today because it was one of the million reps you need at that position to handle the scrutiny, the pressure and all that stuff. I think his teammates have really noticed a difference in him. He’s opening up. He’s coming into his own in that regard and he’s been unbelievably coachable. He’s let his guard down and we’ve been able to keep his confidence high, which it should be right now for sure, while correcting and getting his game better, which is the ultimate goal for everyone.”

Tagovailoa admitted he didn’t live up to his expectations during Wednesday’s practice. However, he did say Coach McDaniel never stopped encouraging, which is entirely different than anything he’s ever experienced from a head coach.

“Yeah, I think I’m pretty hard on myself every time whether it’s throwing a ball where it needs to be or pre-snap operation – guys aren’t set, guys aren’t where they’re supposed to be – because in order for the offense to function, we’ve all got to be on the same page and in order for us to execute at a high level, we’ve got to do things at a high level. So I’ve got to be hard on myself. Mike (McDaniel) is a little different. Mike is always trying to encourage you and trying to keep you going so for me it’s a little backwards where I’m used to being hard on myself and the coach getting hard on me, too, whereas I’m getting hard on myself and he’s trying to tell me, ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay. We’re only in May. We’re only in June.’ There’s a lot more time to grow, but…”

The swagger, however, was on full display when Tagovailoa was asked about his deep ball. At one point, Miami’s starting quarterback re-enacted a perfectly placed pass over his right shoulder. Tua was playing the part of ‘Tyreek Hill,’ catching a 55 or 69-yard touchdown. Tua was right, the ball was ‘money’. And the ‘keyboard warriors,’ well, they were speechless.

In the end, nothing ultimately matters until games are played in September. But for now, working on his third offense in as many years, Tagovailoa looks confident and eager to prove the doubters wrong in 2022.

I still believe in Tua Tagovailoa, and you should too!

What are your thoughts on Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa connecting deep with wide receiver Tyreek Hill? Are you one of the ‘keyboard warriors’ he was referring to? Does any of this matter in shorts and a t-shirt? Do you believe in Tua Tagovailoa? Why? Why not? Let us know in the comments section below!