Mike McDaniel on Tua Tagovailoa: ‘I can see a hunger in him that I’m excited to watch play out’

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel issued a positive message on quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and his progress this offseason.

Tagovailoa, who missed the end of the 2022 season with a concussion he suffered in Week 16 against the Green Bay Packers, is Miami’s quarterback of the future after the team decided to pick up his fifth-year option earlier this offseason.

“He’s doing great,” McDaniel told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero of Tagovailoa. “He’s had a really good offseason with his family and training and positioning himself to feel good moving forward. He’s very healthy, vibrant, and I can see a hunger in him that I’m excited to watch play out.”

The 2022 season was full of ups and downs for Tagovailoa, as he dealt with two confirmed concussions that really derailed the campaign. However, he was great when he was able to play, throwing for 3,548 yards, 25 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 13 games during the regular season.

He also led the NFL in yards gained per pass attempt and yards gained per pass completion.

“He’s a younger player and he’s very honest and candid,” McDaniel said. “But it also gives me a barometer. He was doing a lot, he’s got a lot of room to grow, let’s just say that. He did an unbelievable job being able to lead an offense in year one. That’s a new language. This is his first year where he’s going to have continued offense, play caller and position coach.”

Miami’s offense was the best it has been in a while under Tagovailoa in the 2022 season, partially because of the addition of wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

The Dolphins also added running back Jeff Wilson at the trade deadline, and the team looks to be running back mostly the same group for the 2023 season.

The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa has dealt with a lot of questions about his future with Miami, as the team had been rumored to be interested in Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson in previous years.

The Dolphins showed their true commitment to Tagovailoa this offseason by exercising his fifth-year option, and now they are hoping to build a Super Bowl contender around him.

Miami made the postseason in the 2022 campaign, but it lost to the Buffalo Bills in the first round with third-string quarterback Skylar Thompson having to start since Tagovailoa and Teddy Bridgewater were hurt.

Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are hoping that he can stay healthy in the 2023 season and lead the team back to the postseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.