NFL analyst explains why he’s expecting improved arm strength from Tua Tagovailoa next season

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ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper is expecting the arm strength of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to increase during the 2021 NFL season.

Kiper indicated that Tagovailoa’s effort to simply come back from a pair of major injuries was why the Dolphins’ passing attack was more conservative when the rookie played this past season.

“I said when he was drafted, I think his body needed to heal,” Kiper said. “He had two major injuries — [including] that hip. To throw the football, you need everything working: legs, hips, rotation. I don’t see that. You knew he had the ability to make every throw at Alabama. He needed a year to figure it out medically and get his body back to where it needs to be.

“He played. He won games. The arm strength will show next year when he’s more time removed from that significant hip injury.”

The hip injury suffered by Tagovailoa had some teams unsure about whether or not he would be able to withstand the hits that all quarterbacks inevitably take over the course of their careers.

Despite those concerns, the Dolphins chose Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick last April. Earlier this week, the team’s general manager, Chris Grier, indicated that there are no plans to pursue another signal-caller to replace Tagovailoa.

Tagovailoa started nine games for the Dolphins and won six of those contests, with most of his passes being high-percentage attempts that didn’t provide a solid look at his arm strength.

Even before the season started, the Dolphins didn’t appear to be in a rush to play Tagovailoa, but grew comfortable enough to eventually have him replace veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Tagovailoa turns 23 in March and has already shown that he has the strong work ethic to come back from a severe injury. Now that he appears to be showing no signs of his past injuries, expect him to air it out more often during the 2021 campaign.

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Brad is a freelance writer for and has been around long enough to remember the 1972 perfect season, and even when Don Shula was coaching the Colts. He still follows the Dolphins and other happenings in the NFL, so he can offer a little perspective when it comes to the ups and downs of each season. Some of his opinions may end up differing from the people who read them, but that's par for the course when it comes to life in South Florida.