Tua Tagovailoa warns Miami Dolphins can do something ‘much more special’ this season

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Tua Tagovailoa is rightfully proud of what the Miami Dolphins accomplished last season, and the quarterback said the team is on the verge of even bigger and better things in 2023.

“I think we have a chance to do something really, really special,” Tagovailoa told USA TODAY Sports.

“Last year was special — let’s not take away from that. But I think this year we can do something much more special than we did last year if we all get our minds in the right place.”

Tagovailoa helped the Dolphins make the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season and will now try to secure their first back-to-back postseason appearances since the early 2000s.

The 25-year-old got off to a great start last season, helping Miami to an 8-3 record despite early season injuries that included a concussion suffered in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. The season had a disappointing 9-8 finish after he suffered another concussion and sat out the final two regular season games plus the playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa is using jiu-jitsu as part of his training to help him avoid injuries going forward. His first season under head coach Mike McDaniel resulted in him passing for 3,548 yards and 25 touchdowns, numbers that are expected to improve with another year of experience in Miami’s proficient offensive system.

The University of Alabama product may have some physical limitations compared to some other high-level NFL quarterbacks, but his ability to run an offense and distribute the ball drew some praise in a recent ESPN survey. Miami wide receiver Jaylen Waddle also believes his quarterback is capable of doing great things this season.

Tyreek Hill said he gets “goosebumps” when he thinks about the potential of the Dolphins offense. The All-Pro receiver also is claiming he will become the first NFL player to gain 2,000 receiving yards in a season and that a Super Bowl title is within reach.

The already high expectations could reach another level if the Dolphins are able to successfully complete their pursuit of Dalvin Cook. The running back has been on the open market since early June, when he was released by the Minnesota Vikings, and despite being a Miami native, he has not yet found a contract offer from the Dolphins that he’s willing to accept.

Even if Cook doesn’t come on board, the Dolphins have enough talent on offense backed by innovative coaching that has Tagovailoa and his teammates justifiably excited about what they might be able to accomplish.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.