Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a strong response after being asked if folks still question his ability to throw deep passes.
The 25-year-old explained that he doesn’t care and brought up the 466 passing yards he had in Week 1 against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Q: Do you think people are still questioning if you can throw deep?
Tua: "I don't care. 466. That's what 466 is if I can't throw deep."
— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) September 13, 2023
Tagovailoa’s execution on deep passes has been a storyline for much of his NFL career, with many of his critics questioning his arm strength.
When the Dolphins acquired speedy receiver Tyreek Hill ahead of the 2022 season, there were even some doubts about whether Tagovailoa would be able to maximize Hill’s abilities and connect with him downfield with his arm strength.
Those doubts certainly went away to some degree last season, as Tagovailoa and Hill formed an electric duo when the quarterback was healthy. In Week 1 this season, Tagovailoa and Hill picked up exactly where they left off, with the Pro Bowl receiver totaling 215 yards through the air to go along with two touchdowns.
Overall, Tagovailoa completed 28 of his 45 passes against the Chargers for the aforementioned 466 yards and three touchdowns.
Since the start of his breakout season in 2022, Tagovailoa has still underthrown his downfield targets slightly at times, but many of those throws have had enough juice on them to get the job done nevertheless. In the 2022 campaign, he led the entire league in yards gained per pass attempt at 8.9.
All things considered, it’s getting harder for Tagovailoa’s critics to deny that he’s becoming one of the most productive quarterbacks in the league when he’s healthy.
Having players like Hill and Jaylen Waddle in the fold has certainly helped the development of the former first-round pick. If he can stay on the field this season, the Dolphins project to be one of the best teams in the AFC, something folks around the football world are starting to notice.
The Dolphins will face the New England Patriots in Week 2 on the road. While 1-0 is always a good place to be, Miami is likely aware of the fact that its toughest battles are still ahead. The Dolphins know that all too well after winning their season openers in the 2021 and 2022 campaigns before struggling to gain season-long consistency afterward.