August 13, 2022

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s rocky relationship with former coach Brian Flores has been documented within the time since Flores was fired on Jan. 10, the day after the 2021 season concluded.

On Wednesday, in Tagovailoa’s first press convention the place he addressed soccer subjects with reporters because the finish of final season, he had loads of nice issues to say about his relationship with new coach Mike McDaniel.

However not almost the identical might be mentioned about his response to questions on former Dolphins coach Brian Flores.

Amid a South Florida Solar Sentinel report of a locker room meltdown between the 2 at halftime of the Dolphins’ 34-3 Jan. 2 loss on the Tennessee Titans and staff proprietor Steve Ross noting communication as an element that led to Flores’ firing, Flores had beforehand contested that his relationship with Tagovailoa ever deteriorated.

“It wasn’t strained,” he advised the I Am Athlete podcast, which the Solar Sentinel participates in, earlier this offseason. “We had a great relationship. It was a player-coach relationship. The coach challenges the participant, and oftentimes, the participant challenges the coach. It was quite a lot of respect between the 2 of us.

“Ask Tua. I’m right here to say what I need to say. And ask him. I feel he’d say the identical factor.”

Tagovailoa was certainly requested on Wednesday, and his solutions, or lack thereof, didn’t appear to fall in line.

“I’ve no remark towards any of that,” Tagovailoa mentioned, when initially requested about his response to Flores’ firing. “I don’t provide you with these selections. I don’t make these selections.”

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He was pressed additional to remark about his relationship with Flores, and Tagovailoa’s one fond reminiscence he named after two years with him as coach was that of his first day as a Dolphin beneath him.

“Massive query,” Tagovailoa began when requested about that relationship. “I’ll inform you this: I’m very grateful that he drafted me to come back right here to play for the Miami Dolphins. That’s what I might say.”

The tone was a lot completely different when talking about his early impressions of recent coach Mike McDaniel, who was employed from his function as San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator by Miami to interchange Flores. Tagovailoa mentioned he feels supported by McDaniel.

“I feel help, for any of us, means loads,” he mentioned. “To have the ability to have the help of the pinnacle coach, the pinnacle man, that ought to inform you numerous.”

That a lot has been evident since McDaniel’s first documented dialog with Tagovailoa as Dolphins coach, when he phoned him from his personal flight to Miami. It has been additional strengthened earlier this month, taking part in Tagovailoa’s “Luau with Tua” charity occasion, banging Polynesian drums on stage.

“That’s form of how the connection has been. Very supportive, needs to hang around,” he mentioned.

Tagovailoa mentioned McDaniel even acts upset when he doesn’t get invited to participant outings. A reporter requested if gamers truly really feel they will have the pinnacle coach round after they hang around, and he even doubled down on the notion.

“This one, you possibly can!” Tagovailoa proclaimed about McDaniel. “He’s that cool.”

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McDaniel isn’t the one factor that has Tagovailoa excited in regards to the new-look 2022 Dolphins after the staff additionally made a sequence of offensive acquisitions with star receiver Tyreek Hill and touted left sort out Terron Armstead highlighting the group.

“The locker room feels completely different,” Tagovailoa mentioned. “I simply really feel like there’s a lot issues which have occurred, loads of modifications, and loads of good modifications, I assume, with the people who we picked up.”

Having the instruments essential to succeed has led to a nationwide narrative that the strain is on Tagovailoa this season, with out the earlier excuses he had for uneven play in his first two NFL seasons.

“I don’t really feel extra strain that we have now acquired all these guys,” he mentioned, “however it’s extra of a chance that I get, that all of us get, as a staff, to point out what we are able to do that yr.”

Tagovailoa famous that an emphasis this offseason has been on his footwork. He additionally mentioned McDaniel’s offense is similar to what he ran in faculty at Alabama, which made him a high draft prospect in 2020.

Though many hope to see Tagovailoa add some zip to his mid-range throws and yards to his deep ball, he mentioned Wednesday he doesn’t really feel he’s in a position to put something further on his passes regardless of being additional faraway from his November 2019 hip damage that lower his faculty profession quick and final season’s rib and finger illnesses.

“I don’t really feel any of that in any respect,” mentioned Tagovailoa. “I feel an important factor is timing with these guys. These guys are going to get there, simply lay it as much as a spot for them and have them go get it.”

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And an incredible precedence has been positioned on yards after catch on this new offense. It will not be a raid of deep throws from Tagovailoa hitting Hill, fellow huge receivers Jaylen Waddle and Cedrick Wilson and tight finish Mike Gesicki, however the Dolphins will look to place cross catchers ready to choose up what is usually known as YAC.

“We need to YAC the heck out of groups,” Tagovailoa mentioned.