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MIAMI – Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is starting to fail his guard, head coach Mike McDaniel told reporters after the team’s second day of mandatory minicamp on Thursday.
Tagovailoa completed a couple of deep passes to wide receiver Tyreek Hill – for 45 and 55 yards – and made clear how he felt about the skepticism regarding his perceived arm strength.
“Yes, if you’ve seen the third-to-last game we had – I do not know if I could still throw the ball down the field, but in my opinion I think it could have been a touchdown for Tyreek,” he said. after training. “If not, we’ve scored two plays after that for Tyreek. So you know, but you want to write some of it down on social media or whatever business you’re in now.”
One of the primary criticisms against Tagovailoa since joining the league in 2020 is his perceived ability to push the ball down the pitch; since his rookie season, he ranks as number 30 among qualified passers in average airyards per game. attempt at 7.13 yards.
Tagovailoa, however, led the NFL in passing percentage on passes at least 25 yards down the field, completing 50% of them – but he attempted only 18 such passes, the second fewest in the league.
In an interview with Muscle & Fitness magazine this week, he claimed that his lack of downfield delivery was more a result of playcalling than natural abilities.
“I’ve seen some improvements in terms of being able to push the ball down the field again,” he said. “I honestly think it’s just practice. I was not really able to push the ball down the field last year because we did not have plays specifically to push the ball down the field. Many games were called last year , was meant for one person, either this person is open or the play may be dead.
“It’s a little different now. My second year was different from my rookie year, and this year will be different than last year with how we do things. I certainly feel much more confident of being able to push the ball down the field. It will be interesting.”
In the same interview, Tagovailoa said he spent most of his low season developing his foundation and improving his arm strength and mobility.
The former No. 5 overall pick said he is aware of what people are saying about his arm strength, mostly because the Dolphins’ communications department tells him he needs to prepare him for what local media may ask him.
Earlier, he had declined to comment in depth on how these critics make him feel; that was not the case Thursday.
“You know, for me it’s just to rule it out,” Tagovailoa said. “I mean, we’re out to practice. Everyone else – Twitter warriors, you know, keyboard warriors, whatever you want to call them – they’re not out here practicing with us and working hard.
“I do not know if you admitted the last one to Tyreek. I do not know with you, but it looked like money.”
Tagovailoa said this is the most open he has been to the media since arriving in Miami, and his level of comfort stems from McDaniel’s efforts over the past few months to get him to open up.
Whether it’s in the hallway, the meeting room or the weight room, Tagovailoa said McDaniel likes to come in to chat, even if it’s a short conversation. He also said he “has never been around a coach” like McDaniel who is “extremely positive.”
“I think his teammates have really noticed a difference in him; he opens up,” McDaniel said. “He’s somehow coming into his own in that regard. And he’s been incredibly trainable. He’s failed his guard. And we’ve been able to keep his confidence high, which it certainly should be right now, while that we corrected him and got this game better, which is the ultimate goal for everyone. “