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#pounditTuesday, October 19, 2021

Articles tagged: Tua Tagovailoa

Video: Tua Tagovailoa tried to blow up returner after throwing interception

Tua Tagovailoa tackle

Tua Tagovailoa put in a solid, if unspectacular performance in the Miami Dolphins’ preseason opener. The second-year quarterback went 8-for-12 for 99 yards, with the biggest blemish coming on a bad interception in the end zone.

The interception will probably trouble the Dolphins less than what Tagovailoa did after throwing it. Tagovailoa was picked off in the end zone by Chicago’s Deandre Houston-Carson, who tried for a return. He got out just past his own ten-yard line before he was wrapped up by several Dolphins players. Tagovailoa, clearly wanting to prevent a big return, launched himself into the fray to try to lay out Houston-Carson.

As much as you admire the effort, the Dolphins are not going to love seeing their quarterback throwing his body around like that, especially in a preseason game. The last thing they’d want would be for Tagovailoa to hurt his arm or shoulder trying for a hard-hitting tackle. That’s even more true when you consider that his teammates seemed to have Houston-Carson wrapped up already.

It’s worth noting that coming out of college, Nick Saban picked out self-preservation as one of the key things Tagovailoa needed to work on. Saban was talking about knowing when to get rid of the ball and avoid a hit, but the same principle would apply to this type of play, too.

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Tua Tagovailoa reveals key issues he had as a rookie

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa had an up-and-down rookie season, but the Miami Dolphins quarterback has reason to believe year two will be much better.

Tagovailoa admitted this week that he wasn’t comfortable with the playbook as a rookie, and sometimes rode plays through that he didn’t feel would work because he lacked the confidence to do otherwise.

“Last year, for me, I wasn’t as comfortable just in general,” Tagovailoa said, via Nick Shook of NFL.com. “I wasn’t comfortable calling plays. I think the guys that we had last year were phenomenal. I just didn’t have the comfortability of checking plays, alerting plays. I just rode with the play even if I knew in a way that it wasn’t going to work. I was going to try to make it work.”

Tagovailoa also admitted he was still compensating for his hip coming off surgery, which he does not expect to be an issue in 2021.

“I guess you could say the focus was the glutes to help support the hip,” Tagovailoa added. “My hip feels 10 times better than it did last year. The confidence level for myself, I feel really confident coming into this second year after that injury two years ago.”

All the reports about Tagovailoa during OTAs have been positive. His personal trainer has nothing but praise for him. Coach Brian Flores added that he has taken steps forward in another key aspect. It’s hugely encouraging for the Dolphins, who will really need Tagovailoa to show progress this season before long-term doubts begin to grow.

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Tua Tagovailoa has improved relationship with teammates, coach says

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa has made significant strides toward working more closely with his teammates, according to his coach.

Brian Flores revealed that the Miami Dolphins quarterback has been organizing practices with his wide receivers during the offseason, and that Tagovailoa has also improved his own practice habits while growing closer to his teammates.

This is welcome news, especially considering there have been rumblings that Tagovailoa didn’t win over all of his teammates in 2020. It sounds like the second-year quarterback has been doing a lot of work on his own as well to take a step forward.

The 23-year-old quarterback threw for 11 touchdowns and five interceptions in his rookie year. Flores had a somewhat odd way of handling him but that may well be in the past going forward.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Tua Tagovailoa’s trainer predicting big season after offseason work

Tua Tagovailoa

While it’s no huge surprise that a quarterback’s personal trainer would be eager to talk up their client, Tua Tagovailoa is getting quite the endorsement from his.

Tagovailoa’s trainer Nick Hicks is expecting big things from the Miami Dolphins quarterback in 2021, and he raved about the work Tagovailoa has been doing in the offseason.

“Tua is an amazing person. I’ve never met anybody like him,” Hicks told the “Miami on the Rockets” podcast, via Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. “He’s an insanely hard worker. He’s all gas, no brakes. I show up at his house super early; we put in work. Little break, then he leaves me at the field and he works some more. Then he goes home and watches film. He’s on a mission. He’s different.”

Hicks added that he expects a much better 2021 from Tagovailoa now that he’s over a year removed from his hip injury at Alabama and has had the opportunity to train more aggressively. In fact, much of the work the pair has done has been based on strength and conditioning.

“A healthy Tua is a confident Tua and a confident Tua is a Super Bowl contender guaranteed,” Hicks said. “And that’s our goal to make him healthy. And we’re doing a damn good job right now.”

The Dolphins will be hoping Hicks is right. After all, they were apparently willing to change quarterbacks if the right deal came along. It means Tagovailoa should come into year two with something to prove. If his trainer is right, the sky is still the limit.

Brian Flores claims he never lost faith in Tua Tagovailoa despite benchings

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins had one of the stranger quarterback situations in the league down the stretch in 2020. After starting the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, he was abruptly replaced by Tua Tagovailoa about midway through the year. With the Dolphins on the fringes of the playoff hunt, Tagovailoa was then benched for Fitzpatrick twice during games.

Despite all this, Dolphins coach Brian Flores is adamant that he never lost confidence in Tagovailoa despite those benchings.

“Last year’s situation is … we’ve talked about this numerous times. If he had started the season, we wouldn’t have pulled him,” Flores told Peter King of NBC Sports. We put him in. We’re in a playoff chase. At that point [second half in game 15, at Las Vegas, when Ryan Fitzpatrick entered in relief], it’s hey, we’ve got to do whatever we’ve got to do to try to win. But no, my confidence wasn’t shaken in him.”

It’s down to you whether you believe Flores or not. That said, given some of the rumors that have followed Tagovailoa’s status this offseason, it’s fair to wonder if the Dolphins still think they can do better.

It’s also fair to wonder whether Tagovailoa’s teammates have as much faith in the quarterback as Flores does.

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Dolphins were willing to trade Tua Tagovailoa for Deshaun Watson

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins were at one point viewed as the favorite to land Deshaun Watson in a trade, but those talks fizzled out after the Houston Texans star was accused of sexual assault by multiple women. Had the two sides worked out a deal, however, it sounds like Tua Tagovailoa would have been included.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle was told that the plan for the Dolphins was to send Tagovailoa and draft picks — including the third overall pick this year — to Houston.

After news of the Watson scandal broke, the Dolphins pivoted to working out a blockbuster draft trade with the San Francisco 49ers. They shipped the No. 3 pick to the Niners in exchange for the No. 12 pick, a third-round pick this year and two future first-round picks.

Less than a week before Watson was first accused of sexual assault, a report claimed the Dolphins were “all-in” on trying to acquire the quarterback. Miami was also supposedly on Watson’s list of preferred trade destinations, and he had been spending a lot of time there this offseason.

None of that matters now, of course. The Dolphins are committed to Tagovailoa and the Texans are in a holding pattern with Watson. While Watson got some good news recently regarding his scandal, he is still facing allegations from numerous women.

The Texans were reportedly one of at least eight teams that showed interest in trading for Watson. You can see who the others were here.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has high praise for Tua Tagovailoa

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick clearly does not share the growing concerns about Tua Tagovailoa’s long-term viability as an NFL quarterback.

Fitzpatrick appeared on “The Ross Tucker Football Podcast” on Monday and showered praise on Tagovailoa, who he worked with on the Miami Dolphins in 2020.

“The two things that really stick out to me about Tua is he has elite accuracy; that’s very important,” Fitzpatrick said, via Brad Sullivan of DolphinNation. “And he throws with anticipation and that is something you don’t see with quarterbacks coming from college to the NFL.

“I’m a huge Tua fan. My kids love Tua. Sometimes they play with him on Madden. Sometimes they play with me. I’m looking forward to big things from him. I think he’s going to do great. As far as being a leader or guys people can follow, he has all those qualities.”

Fitzpatrick preached patience with Tagovailoa, pointing out that Tagovailoa was a rookie in 2020 and still went 6-3 as starter.

There have been reports that some of Tagovailoa’s Dolphins teammates have doubts about the quarterback. That may be true of the organization as well, as they appear willing to try to upgrade at the position. Maybe Fitzpatrick disagreeing with that — as someone who has worked closely with Tagovailoa — means something to them.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

DeVonta Smith had interesting answer when asked about favorite Alabama QB

DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith had ample experience playing with a pair of future NFL quarterbacks at Alabama, and he appears to have weighed in on which of them he prefers.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, Smith was asked by one team at the Senior Bowl which quarterback he preferred: Mac Jones or Tua Tagovailoa. Smith said he preferred Jones, and was “bold and definitive about it.”

Considering all the hype Tagovailoa came to the NFL with, this answer might count as a bit of a surprise. That’s especially true when you remember that Jones has flown under the radar for most of his college career, as well as throughout the draft process.

Teams appear to be buying into Jones ahead of the draft. Smith’s opinion may end up being shared by some NFL teams by April at this rate.

Tua Tagovailoa shares thoughts on Deshaun Watson trade rumors

Tua Tagovailoa

The Miami Dolphins drafted Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick less than a year ago, but there has already been talk that they could include the former Alabama star in a blockbuster trade.

During an appearance on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Thursday morning, Tagovailoa was asked about the rumors linking Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins. He said he is only focusing on things are are in his control.

“I can control what I can control. I’m the quarterback for the Miami Dolphins,” Tagovailoa said. “Really, I’m just looking forward to being the best version of myself, looking at getting better this offseason and just helping our team win games next year.”

Tagovailoa made similar remarks when he appeared on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” earlier in the day. The 22-year-old was asked if he believes he is the franchise quarterback the Dolphins have been searching for.

“I would say yes,” Tagovailoa said. “What I can do is just control what I can control. My focus is being the best person that I can be. Working hard. Making this Year 1 to Year 2 jump in the NFL.”

If the Houston Texans decide to fulfill Watson’s trade request, the Dolphins are viewed as a suitor. Watson has a full no-trade close, and he is reportedly very open to playing in Miami. If the Texans could get Tagovailoa and several high draft picks in a potential Watson deal, they might be interested.

At least one other team is expected to aggressively pursue Watson, so Tagovailoa is taking the right approach. It’s still unlikely that he’s traded, and he needs to prepare as though he’s Miami’s starter going into 2021.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Tua Tagovailoa shares the two sides of Nick Saban

Nick Saban

Nick Saban has a reputation for being hard on his players, but there is a reason he continues to land the top recruits in the nation every year. As Tua Tagovailoa explained this week, there are “two sides” to arguably the greatest college football coach of all time.

Tagovailoa shed some light on what it was like to play for Saban during an appearance on Mike Greenberg’s “Greeny” show on ESPN Radio this week. He said Saban is demanding on the field but “very loving” toward his players off of it.

“Then the other side where you get someone who is very caring. Very loving for his players. That’s who coach Saban was,” Tagovailoa said, as transcribed by Austin Nivison of 247 Sports. “On the field, he was very hard. He expected the best out of his players. He expected the best out of you.”

Tagovailoa said Saban being able to balance both coaching relationships and personal relationships helped prepare Tua for the NFL.

“I think having someone like that has helped me in the NFL because you deal with guys with different personalities,” Tagovailoa added. “You deal with guys that are ‘hoo-rah’ guys that like to get in your butt. You also deal with guys where you’ve got to help them get the best out of them. I think that’s how he helped me.”

Saban is a lot like Bill Belichick in that the coach we see during games and in interviews is not the same person a lot of players and associates describe. Heck, remember that unbelievable story Josh Jacobs told about Saban joking around during practice? The seven-time national champion knows how to have a good time, and that balance clearly helps his players.

Dolphins fans! It’s time to roll in a new era in Miami. This Roll Fins shirt is a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.