As a rookie, Tagovailoa looked solid, if not spectacular, passing for 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He completed 64.2% of his passes over 10 games (nine starts).
Starting this fall, Miami will be looking for Tagovailoa to take a major step forward. One place he can start is with the team's offensive playbook, which the second-year southpaw admitted he didn't master enough in 2020.
“I wasn’t comfortable calling plays,” Tagovailoa told the Miami Herald this week. “I think the guys that were here last year were phenomenal. I just didn’t have the comfortability of checking plays, alerting plays and doing that. I just rode with the play, even if I knew it wasn’t going to work. I was going to try to make it work still.”
Fortunately for Tagovailoa, and the Dolphins as a whole, the former Alabama star says he has a much better grasp of things at this point in the offseason.
“I didn’t actually know the playbook necessarily really, really good and that’s no one else’s fault but my fault,” Tagovailoa said. “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.”
For what it's worth, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said this week he has seen signs of his young quarterback feeling more at ease with his surroundings.
“He’s definitely more comfortable,” Flores said, via The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino. “Has a better rapport with his teammates. I’ve seen him…with a better understanding of how we practice. We’ve seen that from him so far.
“Hopefully he continues to grow and improve.”
An improved Tagovailoa might be the difference between another postseason near-miss and making the playoffs for the first time in five years.