Heading into his junior season at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa was extensively thought-about the highest prospect in his class. He was having a terrific marketing campaign — finishing 71% of his passes at a mean of 11.3 yards per try, with 33 touchdowns and simply three interceptions — when a scary hip damage and a magical season from then-LSU quarterback Joe Burrow modified Tagovailoa’s top-overall-prospect standing.
Tagovailoa as an alternative watched Burrow get chosen No. 1 by the Cincinnati Bengals, whereas he slipped to the Miami Dolphins on the No. 5 general choose. Miami introduced Tua alongside slowly, electing to start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick beneath heart. He was finally elevated to the beginning lineup in Week 7, however he solely sometimes confirmed off the ability set that made him such a highly-touted prospect within the first place.
Tagovailoa was an especially conservative passer, averaging simply 7.7 air yards per try, in response to NFL.com’s Subsequent Gen Stats. That determine ranked twenty eighth out of 41 certified passers. He accomplished 64.1% of his throws for 1,814 yards (6.3 per try), whereas throwing for simply 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions in 9 begins. He was additionally pulled in favor of Fitzpatrick in a late-season sport when the Dolphins wanted to stage a comeback.
Coming into his second season and now firmly entrenched because the starter, Tagovailoa is feeling rather more safe in his function than he did final yr.
“Final yr, for me, I wasn’t as comfy simply normally,” Tagovailoa stated this week, per NFL.com. “I wasn’t comfy calling performs. I feel the fellows that we had final yr had been phenomenal. I simply did not have the comfortability of checking performs, alerting performs. I simply rode with the play even when I knew in a means that it wasn’t going to work. I used to be going to attempt to make it work. However the firepower now we have this yr, I imply, it is good, however you bought to get it out to them, too. Should you’re capable of shield your self, then get it out to them and have them make performs, then you definately’ll be good.”
He additionally let on that his hip is doing significantly better now than it was a yr in the past.
“I suppose you possibly can say the main target was the glutes to assist help the hip,” Tagovailoa stated. “My hip feels 10 instances higher than it did final yr. The boldness degree for myself, I really feel actually assured coming into this second yr after that damage two years in the past.”
Tagovailoa has the advantage of a robust offensive infrastructure round him. Miami has invested a whole lot of assets in surrounding him with high quality playmakers like DeVante Parker, Mike Gesicki, Preston Williams, Lynn Bowden Jr., Will Fuller, Jaylen Waddle, and Myles Gaskin, and the entrance workplace has additionally poured cash and draft capital into the offensive line. Now, it is simply as much as Tua to take benefit. Gesicki, for one, has confidence he’ll be capable of do exactly that.
“He is been via adversity earlier than,” Gesicki stated. “He is performed within the greatest video games, going again to his school profession. He will give attention to what’s necessary and the opinions which might be necessary. The blokes within the locker room all consider in him and respect him.”