Tua’s trainer feels the QB is back to where he was when he was the ‘sharpest quarterback in the NCAA’

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa’s trainer, Nick Hicks, had some serious praise for the Miami Dolphins quarterback as he continues to ramp up and prepare for the 2022 NFL season.

Hicks believes that Tagovailoa is starting to get back to his old self when he was the “sharpest quarterback in the NCAA.”

Hicks spoke to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson about Tagovailoa’s development as a player heading into the 2022 season.

“He ended up throwing 71 [air yards],” Hicks said. “I don’t think he could have thrown 71 last offseason.

“He can push the ball down the field. He’s throwing the ball 50, 60 yards multiple times a practice. He is throwing the ball completely differently, with more confidence, more rhythm. His lower half is in shape. I feel he’s back to where he was when he was the sharpest quarterback in the NCAA.”

Tagovailoa will have some new weapons at his disposal in the 2022 season as well. The Dolphins traded for star receiver Tyreek Hill and signed wideout Cedrick Wilson Jr. In addition to that, the Dolphins brought in running backs Raheem Mostert, Chase Edmonds and Sony Michel to flank Tagovailoa in the backfield.

Those moves and an improve offensive line should make things much easier on Tagovailoa in the 2022 campaign.

“His overall strength has improved,” Hicks said.

Hicks also spoke about how much happier Tagovailoa is playing under new Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel.

“It’s a different feel,” Hicks said. “He thought the NFL was strictly business and coaches were just coaches, that they couldn’t be a friend. The first year, he thought that [nature of the business] really did [stink]. The NFL is rough.

“Having Mike McDaniel, [quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator] Frank Smith, he loves these guys. He has found his love for it again, which is exciting.

“Every chance he gets, he has teammates over to the house to play basketball, have a barbecue. The situation he’s in compared to last year is very different. I haven’t seen him this happy ever. It’s fun to see.”

During the 2021 season, Tagovailoa appeared in 13 games for the Dolphins, making 12 starts and throwing for 2,653 yards and 16 touchdowns. The No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft dealt with some injury issues in the 2021 campaign. The Dolphins are hoping he will be able to stay healthy and lead them to the playoffs in the 2022 campaign.

In two seasons in Miami, Tagovailoa has compiled a 13-8 record as a starter. He’s proven to be one of the league’s most accurate passers as well. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes in the 2021 season and was fifth in the NFL in on-target percentage at 80.1 percent.

There’s a reason Tagovailoa was such a high draft pick back in 2020, and Hicks thinks that Tagovailoa is primed to show the rest of the NFL just how good he can be this coming season.