Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has not had an easy transition into the NFL. As he heads into his third season with the team that drafted him No. 5 overall in the 2020 NFL draft, he still faces heavy criticism and doubt from fans and pundits.
With new head coach Mike McDaniel in control, the Dolphins offense is expected to undergo significant changes. McDaniel is often praised as an offensive guru.
Ahead of Miami’s second preseason game of 2022, Tagovailoa was spotted in an empty Hard Rock Stadium alone on the field. He had plays written on a card that he was running through.
Former Heisman-winning quarterback, Robert Griffin III, who now broadcasts for the NFL, took notice and spoke on what this means for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa.
Tagovailoa has repeatedly thrived under this sort of pressure, rising to every challenge from childhood to a collegiate national championship. But the reward for doing so has been more pressure still. Which is how he now finds himself facing abruptly high stakes so early in his career. He has to live up to his own historically onerous standards, or risk going from sensational talent to another failed prodigy.
For Tagovailoa, working with a new play-caller who is as serene as he is cerebral has been an adjustment. “Mike is always trying to encourage you and trying to keep you going, so for me, it’s a little backward,” Tagovailoa said. “I’m used to being hard on myself and the coach getting hard on me, too.”
The Dolphins face the Philadelphia Eagles in their last preseason game on Sunday. Their NFL opener is against the Super Bowl champs New England patriots on 11 September.