Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa has been one of the early breakout stars of the 2022 season, following up his six-touchdown performance in Week 2 against the Ravens by guiding Miami to an upset of the Bills, snapping a seven-game losing streak to Buffalo. Former teammate and NFL QB Ryan Fitzpatrick said it’s clear new HC Mike McDaniel is helping to bring the best out of Tagovailoa.
“I really do think a lot of this early success is the way he’s being coached and the relationship that he has with the head coach,” Fitzpatrick said via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “Because I think that was a huge sticking point and something that just was difficult for him in the past few years. And I don’t want to speak for him. But I’m sure it’s evident to everybody the way that Mike McDaniel has come in and embraced Tua, and made sure that he knows that he’s the guy and that he’s loved and that they’re on the same team and trying to have success together. I think that’s been really helpful for his mentality.”
Former Dolphins HC Brian Flores had a rocky relationship with a number of former colleagues in Miami, which is part of the reason he was fired. Fitzpatrick went into a little more detail, saying it was hard for Tagovailoa when he was benched twice his rookie year against the Broncos and Raiders.
“I think that that was kind of an admission by coach for us that there were certain aspects of his game that weren’t ready yet, because he was young in terms of the two minute drill and being able to do some of that stuff efficiently,” Fitzpatrick said. “But he’s so talented that it was time to get him on the field and get them to learn. And so I thought he did a great job with that year because that wasn’t easy showing up to work every day having a smile on his face. After I left, there were some things that got even rockier with that relationship. I just think it was so refreshing when Mike came in.
“[McDaniel’s] all about preaching confidence to a guy and building him up, rather than trying to break him down,” Fitzpatrick added. “And I think that’s translated well so far to the field.”
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