By all accounts, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is primed for a significant jump in his second season.
Now a legendary Dolphins QB has added his voice to the chorus of those setting higher expectations for the sixth pick in the 2020 draft.
Hall of Famer Dan Marino serves as a special advisor to the franchise and has gotten to see Tagovailoa’s development by attending practices and meetings. Marino recently told ESPN that he feels the young quarterback can come into his own.
“[Tagovailoa’s] been great. He’s been awesome. He has all the talent in the world. Now it’s just about him developing the relationship with the other players,” Marino said, via Cameron Wolfe. “It’s been tough because he didn’t have OTAs last year, a lot of the summer camp or the chance to play in exhibition games. All those things delay you somewhat. I’ll tell you, he works his butt off. I’m really excited about him, his future and our future as a team.”
Marino added that Tagovailoa’s first-year playing experience should help him for Year Two. The Dolphins were 6-3 in games that Tagovailoa started last year, though Ryan Fitzpatrick relieved the young quarterback in the second half of Miami’s victory over Las Vegas.
Tagovailoa recently admitted that he didn’t know the playbook well enough as a rookie, but things have changed entering 2021.
“As time goes on you, you get a better handle [of things]. You know your people. That’s what OTAs is about, getting your timing down,” Marino said. “He played a lot last year and when he played, we won games. We almost got in the playoffs. All that is a positive. You try to build from the positives.
“He wants to be really good. And in time, he’s going to get there because that’s what type of kid he is.”
The Dolphins narrowly missed the postseason last year, finishing at 10-6. The AFC East should again be competitive, with the Bills finishing on top in 2020 and the Patriots looking to rebound after a 7-9 season. Tagovailoa’s development will go a long way in determining whether Miami will reach the playoffs for just the third time since 2002.