As a rookie, Tagovailoa made nine starts and appeared in 10 games, operating mostly as the proverbial "game manager." He finished with 1,814 passing yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.“
Recently, Tagovailoa even admitted he didn't have the playbook fully mastered in his first season and is feeling more comfortable with that heading into year two.
“I didn’t actually know the playbook necessarily really, really good and that’s no one else’s fault but my fault,” Tagovailoa told the Miami Herald. “Our play calls were simple when I was in. I didn’t have alerts and checks. Where now, I feel comfortable and I can maneuver my way through these things now.”
On a related note, Dolphins wide receiver Lynn Bowden Jr. recently told Go Long's Tyler Dunne that he thought Tagovailoa played "a little scared" at times as a rookie. Bowden is expecting that to change this year though, and when it does, he says the team's results will skyrocket.
“When he lets it loose and he’s being himself, we’ll win every game,” Bowden said. “When he’s feeling himself and he’s moving and doing his thing, Tua is one of the best quarterbacks, literally, around. And people don’t know that yet.”
Of course, Miami isn't really going to go 17-0 next season, but it is a welcome sign for Dolphins fans to see one of Tua's targets speak that highly of him. Miami spent the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft on the Alabama signal caller, and needs to see that type of investment rewarded soon.
If it is, the Dolphins should take a step forward from fringe playoff team to actual postseason participant and maybe more.