While Tua Tagovailoa‘s rookie year with the Miami Dolphins wasn’t as encouraging as same other top draft picks from last year’s class, fellow quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is bullish on what Tagovailoa will be able to bring to the table in 2021.
According to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com, Fitzpatrick said that he believes Tagovailoa is much better situated for his second season with the Dolphins.
“Everything is going to be a little more comfortable this year,” Fitzpatrick said. “Playing in the league is going to be a little more familiar, your routine through the week and on road games. He’s no longer trying to figure out where the grocery store is, where he’s going to live or what car he’s going to drive. All that stuff is figured out. He can solely focus on being an NFL QB.
“To have an offseason, to have repetitions, to have some sense of continuity with [co-offensive coordinators] George Godsey and Eric Studesville in his ear calling the plays and working with him. All that stuff points to him having a much better season this year and continuing to progress as a quarterback. That’s the most important thing for him — progression.
“They drafted him in the top five for a reason, with his skill set and what he can do. There are very few people on this planet who can do that. For them to be fully bought in and believe in him, he’s going to do the same thing. He’s going to buy into what they’re coaching, and I think good results are going to come from it.”
Fitzpatrick began the season as the Dolphins starter as Tagovailoa continued to work back from last year’s hip injury at Alabama. Tagovailoa eventually took over as the starter in October with Fitzpatrick continuing to play at times through the rest of the season. In 10 games with nine starts, Tagovailoa completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,814 yards with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Tagovailoa’s production lagged behind that of top pick Joe Burrow with the Cincinnati Bengals and the stellar rookie campaign from Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers. But Tagovailoa was highly productive during his time at Alabama and would seemingly have room to improve another year removed from his injury and with a full offseason to prepare for the starting job in Miami.
“In anything that goes around, I can control what I can control,” Tagovailoa said. “My focus is just trying to get better with this Year 1 to Year 2 jump, and trying to be the best version of me that I can be for the Miami Dolphins.”