Report: Brian Flores’ staff discouraged Tua Tagovailoa from utilizing visual skill that Mike McDaniel praised QB heavily for

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A new report indicates that coaches on the staff of former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores discouraged Tua Tagovailoa from using his skills to visually move defenders.

On “The NFL Rhodes Show,” host Lindsay Rhodes indicated that Tagovailoa’s development this season has been due in part to Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel exploiting a skill that was largely ignored last season.

“Mike McDaniel told us that he thinks that Tua is better at visually moving defenders than perhaps anyone he’s ever been around,” said Rhodes. “That was something that Tua was legitimately discouraged from doing a year ago, the previous coaches that were with him.”

During Tagovailoa’s first two seasons, he offered hints that he could develop into a standout quarterback. However, his inconsistent play caused him to struggle, with the end result being that the Dolphins came up short of the postseason during those two campaigns.

In both of those seasons, it was Flores and his coaching staff who were seeking to develop Tagovailoa’s skills after he was selected with the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft.

At the time he was chosen by the Dolphins, Tagovailoa was in the midst of a major rehabilitation of his hip. That came after he’d suffered a potential career-threatening injury that required surgery.

Tagovailoa’s struggles were normal for any young quarterback and were magnified by being the subject of trade rumors. After Flores was fired after last season, it also became evident that conflict existed between Tagovailoa and him.

Since taking over, McDaniel has clearly been able to fully tap into Tagovailoa’s talent, and the Dolphins are thriving as a result. They enter Sunday’s huge clash against the San Francisco 49ers in first place in the AFC East and a strong contender for a spot in the postseason.

This season, Tagovailoa has led the Dolphins to eight wins in his nine starts and is completing just under 70 percent of his passes. He’s already close to surpassing his passing yardage last season with 2,564 yards and has also thrown 19 touchdown passes compared to just three interceptions.

Tagovailoa’s improved ability to move defenders with his looks has helped make him a much more dangerous weapon for the Dolphins’ offense. It certainly helped during the huge fourth quarter comeback against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 18, when he tossed six touchdown passes.

Whether Tagovailoa can continue to deliver on the field this season remains to be seen over the final six regular season games. However, with McDaniel at the helm, the likelihood of his improvement seems much more certain.

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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.