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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa feels comfortable stepping into a leadership role

For the first time in the NFL, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa hasn’t had to learn a new offense in the offseason.

NFL: Miami Dolphins Minicamp Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie, Miami Dolphins first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa was learning how to operate an offense developed by Chan Gailey. In his sophomore season, the former Alabama Crimson Tide star needed to learn what co-offensive coordinators Eric Studesville and George Godsey wanted to accomplish on that side of the football.

In his third NFL season, Tagovailoa was forced to learn an entirely new offense as Mike McDaniel was named the 11th head coach in franchise history. Now, entering his fourth season, it is the first time he isn’t stuck learning a new offense.

“We feel extremely comfortable coming off of a year having to study,” Tagovailoa explained when meeting with the media on Wednesday. “Having to get a good feel of how Mike [McDaniel] calls plays. Get a feel of the guys running the routes and then the concepts and where guys are going to be and the distribution of those.

“It makes it a lot easier when you can transition from that into this year and not have to learn a new offense.”

Tagovailoa hit the ground running with McDaniel calling the shots. Miami began the year with a record of 8-1 when he was behind center. While head injuries derailed his season, Tagovailoa still finished the year with career-highs in passing yards (3,548), touchdowns (25), and quarterback rating (105.5) while also leading the league with an average of 8.9 yards per pass attempt.

“I’m trying to work on everything,” Tagovailoa said of his priorities throughout the offseason. “As much as I’m trying to work on throwing the ball, getting the ball to the guys, being able to push the ball a lot more downfield. You know, getting in the playbook. I’m doing the same with my body.”

Miami finished sixth in yards per game due to a complex offensive system that consistently kept defenses guessing. When looking to make another leap, Tagovailoa believes it always comes back to the little things.

“I think, for me, it’s continuing to work on the little things,” Tagovailoa said. “One of the things that we’ve been harping on has been operation. When I think of my position, I think of what have I done as a leader for the guys up front, for the guys out there to have gotten them better? What have we done?

“So I think we’ve been doing a great job, working operation, doing some cadence deals, motions, trying to work a lot of things just to give some eye candy for the defense and forcing them to communicate in the back end.”