Report: Criticism from coaches and fans last year had Tua Tagovailoa asking himself, ‘Do I suck?’

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Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is one of the most improved players in the league this season. As a matter of fact, he has been receiving MVP buzz because of his stellar play and ability to impact winning.

It’s a good thing that the third-year pro has been able to bounce back in dominating fashion after iffy rookie and sophomore campaigns in the NFL. According to reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala, things reached a point last year where Tagovailoa questioned whether he belonged at the professional level or not.

“He looked in the mirror, and he asked himself, ‘Do I suck?'” Kinkhabwala said of the Dolphins star. “He genuinely didn’t know if he belonged on this level because he was so beleaguered by both the fan base and his coaches. And then Mike McDaniel put together a 700-play tape to show him how good he actually is.”

Fortunately for Tagovailoa, Miami hired a coach who has been able to empower him and provide him with the right environment to thrive and grow into his potential.

When the organization fired former head coach Brian Flores following its 2021 season, rumors were swirling that the 41-year-old coach had a strained relationship with the young quarterback. Flores refuted the notion, claiming that the two had a “good relationship.”

But considering that Tagovailoa apparently took a slight jab at Flores while praising McDaniel’s captain selection process earlier this year, it’s safe to say that their relationship wasn’t exactly rosy.

Under McDaniel’s leadership, Tagovailoa has reportedly never been happier.

Many Dolphins fans were quite unforgiving of Tagovailoa over his first two pro seasons. Some blasted him for supposedly lacking elite arm strength. The criticism prompted the University of Alabama product to clap back this past offseason.

Now, it looks like there are more Tagovailoa supporters than doubters among Dolphins fans. After all, the rising star has been stellar this season. He entered play on Sunday having completed 176 passes for 2,265 yards and 18 touchdowns in eight games.

Of course, the youngster’s massive improvement is not just because of external factors like the coaching change and support from fans. It seems there have also been changes in his life and mindset that have contributed to his progression this season.

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Orel is a proud contributor of Dolphin Nation. He started following the league in the late 1990s and was able to watch Dan Marino's final playing years.