The Miami Dolphins have got to be pleased with the early signs of growth from second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins invested highly into Tagovailoa back in 2020 and made a decision nearly halfway through their 2020 campaign that simultaneously pushing for the postseason and getting Tagovailoa experience was in the best interest in all parties. The end result? A 10-6 season and plenty of knee-jerk reactions as Tagovailoa stumbled at times through rookie growing pains. As Chargers QB Justin Herbert, picked one spot behind Tagovailoa, rewrote the rookie passing records, the hindsight critics flocked in bunches to Tagovailoa this offseason.
But Tagovailoa’s start to training camp should have Miami excited to see what Year 2 under Tua looks like; because this is not the same player. And, amid plenty of trade rumors and hot takes about his future in Miami, Tagovailoa is keeping his head down and taking things one rep, one drill, one series and one day at a time.
If you’ve heard Dolphins head coach Brian Flores talk about his team and the mentality he wants, you know Flores loves to hear that kind of buy-in from his quarterback. Perspective is a big part of the formula for Tagovailoa, as he shared during a featured piece for Judy Battista of NFL.com. Battista shared her spotlight on the second-year quarterback this morning and on multiple occasions Tagovailoa talked about how he’s attacking his improvement and keeping perspective.
“When you look at it — there’s five cars in front of you,” Tagovailoa said. “The first car is a Mercedes. Three cars ahead is a Bentley. If your focus is on the Bentley three cars ahead of you, you might get into a car accident because you’re not focused on what’s in front of you. That’s my whole perspective — just worrying about what’s in front of me.”
“I’ve always been self-motivated. I’ve been confident in knowing what I can do. I don’t really need motivation from elsewhere or from outside noise. That goes to the point, taking it day to day. It’s something that Coach Flo would say in team meetings — one meeting at a time, one walk-through at a time, on practice at a time. For me, it’s been working.” – Tua Tagovailoa via Judy Battista of NFL.com
It would appear as though it certainly is working. But Tagovailoa will get some new hurdles to clear in the coming days when the Dolphins mix things up with some fresh competition. Miami is off practice and will be traveling to Chicago ahead of their first preseason game this weekend; but not before they share the practice field for a few days of locked horns with the Bears.
If Tagovailoa shines there, get ready to for Tagovailoa’s focus to be tested in a different kind of way: because a shining performance this week will have the expectations and imaginations of Dolphins fans running wild.
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