Dolphins getting into robust stretch, however Tua Tagovailoa is greater than prepared

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Have a look at the Miami Dolphins‘ schedule and it might be straightforward to say the hardest stretch stays forward of Tua Tagovailoa. He would possibly respectfully disagree.

Certain, on paper, the Dolphins have a punishing midwinter instantly earlier than them, with 5 groups on the docket all above .500 who’ve a mixed report of 34-21, plus the who-knows-what-now Green Bay Packers.

But Tagovailoa, as issues proceed to go effectively in South Seashore and “MVP” chants reverberate at Onerous Rock Stadium with growing frequency, might be forgiven for declaring that at the least in his view — he hopes — the hardest half is firmly behind him.

For 2 strong years, the Dolphins quarterback discovered himself in a brutally making an attempt scenario that he hasn’t acquired sufficient credit score for enduring. He was a rookie, coming off hip surgical procedure in 2020, and suffered the ignominy of typically being benched mid-game, not all the time with good purpose.

Final yr, he operated behind an offensive line about as helpful as a cardboard cease signal, bought damage and needed to endure commerce chatter persistently linking Miami with options like DeShaun Watson and Tom Brady.

Even when issues started to circulation this season and Miami sprinted to a sizzling begin, he suffered accidents in consecutive weeks — first a again difficulty that was initially described as a head harm and noticed him return to the sector in questionable circumstances. Then, towards the Cincinnati Bengals, he was hurled to the bottom, carried off the sector and missed the subsequent two video games.

But right here he’s, surging, clocking off the weeks and the wins — having taken his staff to the highest of a division, the AFC East, that’s collectively flying. 5 straight victories have the Dolphins proper the place they need to be, earlier than a calendar that features the San Francisco 49ersLos Angeles Chargers and Buffalo Bills, back-to-back-to-back.

Get via that unscathed, and the Tremendous Bowl speak shall be unavoidable.

“(Tua) is tremendous correct,” stated FS1’s Colin Cowherd, on “The Herd.” “And, with slightly safety, could be very productive.”

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel not stunned with Tua Tagovailoa’s success

Emmanuel Acho and Pleasure Taylor talk about whether or not individuals needs to be stunned by Tua’s success this season. Pleasure says she’s with McDaniel, having predicted this final yr however admits she could be very impressed by the first-year head coach’s work along with his quarterback.

When Tagovailoa has performed both your entire recreation (or three quarters earlier than being rested, like final weekend), the Dolphins are 8-0. His numbers are phenomenal: 2,564 yards, 19 touchdowns and simply three interceptions.

He’s shifting via the marketing campaign with all of the hallmarks of a assured participant, main some to query the place that confidence got here from, given the shaky begin to his skilled profession.

Final weekend, one potential reply began to emerge.

Miami first-year head coach Mike McDaniel, it seems, believed sufficient in Tagovailoa after getting the job to comprise a 700-play spotlight reel of the QB’s greatest moments and sat via watching it with him. It was an train geared toward restoring perception. It appears to have labored.

McDaniel figured that Tagovailoa was in his personal head, that the criticism and uncertainty had made him really feel like a foul participant. That half was true — Tagovailoa has admitted he used to look within the mirror and marvel “if I sucked.”

“I might not need to commerce locations (with) anyone actually to be drafted tremendous excessive after which fall in need of the franchise’s expectations,” McDaniel stated. “That could be a robust place to dwell in. That was the motivating issue behind every part. Understanding that, wow, it is laborious sufficient to play an opponent. There (have been) numerous issues which can be telling me that this participant could not have the arrogance that he ought to.”

Tagovailoa does not all the time converse notably effusively, and likes to downplay questions moderately than lean into them. However whereas he could by no means love the presence of microphones, it was clear he was grateful for McDaniel’s technological effort.

“I believe anybody right here can attest to somebody believing in them and the way that modifications how they see themselves but in addition issues round them,” Tagovailoa advised reporters. “There’s numerous particulars that entail me sitting down with him and different issues as effectively, but it surely’s superior. It is actually cool.”

Forward of this weekend’s conflict with the 49ers, it was not all feel-good information. Left sort out Terron Armstead has a torn pectoral muscle that can preserve him out for many of the common season, at greatest.

And when issues have gone greatest, it has usually been when Tagovailoa has been most stoutly protected.

However it is a model of Tagovailoa that appears able to deal with the pressure. Moderately than being cowed by his struggles, he has grown from them. For he remembers when his time in Miami appeared to be executed. When his standing as a real NFL starter was underneath risk.

When all of the hype appeared to be for nothing.

All he has to do now could be play video games. Difficult ones, however simply video games. The hardest half, the one plagued by doubts and demons, is gone now.

Learn extra from the World Cup:

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports activities and the creator of the FOX Sports activities Insider e-newsletter. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.


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