After all the “Tank for Tua” talk, the Miami Dolphins got their guy without having to tank at all. Selecting Tua Tagovailoa in last night’s draft.
Tua Tagovailoa was introduced to the media shortly after his selection and I was fortunate enough to be on the live Zoom call with the media. Over the course of the press conference, a theme became very apparent. It’s important to Tagovailoa to build relationships, not just with his teammates but also the coaching staff and fans.
He specifically mentioned the quarterbacks and linemen. This sentiment was brought up during several responses.
Omar Kelly from the Sun-Sentinel asked Tua what makes him confident that he could play this year and if the Dolphins spoke to him about what their plans were for him this season. Tua stated that he was confident in what his doctors have told him and that during his rehab and re-checks he has checked off all the boxes. He’s really encouraged that he could play this year if need be.
When asked by Chris Perkins from the Athletic about the fans excitement and if he is prepared to deal with the fan’s expectations and hopes and dreams and if he would at any time ask them to chill out or to keep hyping you up, Tua responded by emphasizing that how the fans feel about him is out of his control and he’s going to focus on the things he can control like learning the playbook.
Mike Cugno from CBS4 in Miami asked Tua how working and playing in Alabama has helped him prepare for the NFL. Tua emphasized how everything at Alabama is hard. The guys you go against, the training, the coaching, and the academics. The key was to embrace the hard and how you can become successful through the hard.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald specifically asked Tua about what his goals are as a quarterback in the National Football League. Tua stated that learning his plays was high on that list as well as building relationships, especially in the quarterback room and other guys in the locker room as well as building relationships with the coaching staff.
Mike Girardi from the NFL Network asked Tua if there was any frustration at any time during the process with all the talk about his health and if he got nervous about falling in the draft. Tua stated that he and his family did not get nervous at all and any team that decided to take a chance on them (yes he included his family) then that’s where they would belong. He’s excited to play for the Dolphins organization and is out to prove he is the right decision for the organization.
Safid Deen from the Sun-Sentinel asked Tua about how his developing relationship with Chris Grier and Coach Flores has gone leading up to the draft. Tua stated that the relationship was created at the combine and has continued to grow. He got to talk to Coach Flores, Chris Grier, and Stephen Ross via Zoom three times throughout the past month.
Joe Schad from the Palm Beach Post asked Tua how he’s going to approach having Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 37-year-old veteran quarterback available and what does he know about Ryan. Tua first wants to get to know what kind of person he is and knows that he’s been a great leader for the organization and a great team player. Ryan has so much knowledge for the game so it would be best to pick him, ask Ryan how he goes about preparing for defenses. Just being able to ask him questions and learn under him will be beneficial.
Jarret Bell from the USA Today asked Tua his feelings about the Tank for Tua talk last year and how ironic it was that he still ended up with the Dolphins. Tua stated that he didn’t hear too much of it last year. It was more so after the National Championship loss to Clemson. He’s very grateful and thankful that the fans think that highly of him. He’s coming into the NFL with a clean slate and wants to earn the trust of the fans and his teammates.
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Cameron Wolfe from ESPN asked Tua about what he knew about Dan Marino and the Dolphins past and what number he might wear with the Dolphins. Tua said that he understands that number 13 is retired and it should be, he’s the G.O.A.T. and he’ll wear whatever number the team gives him whether it’s 78 or 99 the number doesn’t mean anything.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald asked Tua if he expected to start this year or play or does he expect this to be a redshirt year for him. Tua said he plans to go out there and compete as if he’s preparing to be the starter even if he might not be. He said that has to be his mindset because the competition is usually always healthy because not only do you get better but you help get the other guy better and the whole quarterback room gets better.
Omar Kelly from the Sun-Sentinel asked Tua what was this year like for him with regard to the draft, the injuries, the rehab. What would he tell his grandchildren 40 years from now? Tua said he would tell them that this was the hardest process he’s gone through. During this time he went to Nashville and got caught in a tornado where his car got destroyed, going through the rehab and a lot of uncertainty was piling up.
Chris Perkins from the Athletic was going to ask Tua about his injury history but decided to ask about his car being destroyed in Nashville. Tua said at about 1:00 am on March 3rd he woke up to warnings on his phone and 3 or 4 minutes later the tornado swooped over his complex and destroyed his car.
Travis Wingfield from the Dolphins organization asked a fan question, what would you say is your best attribute is from an intangible standpoint. Tua said he doesn’t like to speak about what he’s good at, he’d rather let others do that. He likes to go out and compete and have fun and do his best to win games.
Travis Wingfield from the Dolphins organization with another fan question, what are you looking forward to most playing in Miami. Tua said he played there once in the Orange Bowl and that he’s looking forward to playing in front of the fans and play with his new teammates.
Hal Habib from the Palm Beach Post asked Tua to tell them about the phone call he got when he found out the Dolphins were picking him. Tua said he got to talk to everyone, Coach Flores, Chris Grier, and Stephen Ross. It was awesome and very emotional for him and his family. It’s been a dream of not just him but his family as well.
Ruthie Polinsky from NBC6 South Florida asked Tua what Brian Flores has told him about what he’s trying to build here in Miami and how he fits in with that culture. Tua said that Coach Flores thinks highly of him and was excited to welcome him to the Dolphins family. He also had his kids hop on the phone and say hello and congratulations.