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Tua Tagovailoa

Mike McDaniel has Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa playing with extreme confidence heading into his third season

Tua Tagovailoa walks on the sidelines
Mark J. Rebilas - USA Today Sports

Mike McDaniel was the right coach to pair with Tua Tagovailoa.

The 39-year-old has had success in the National Football League as an offensive assistant, running backs coach, wide receivers coach, and offensive coordinator. He was Kyle Shanahan’s golden boy for five years (2017-21) as the offensive play-caller and run game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. He is in his first training camp as a head coach for the Miami Dolphins, and McDaniel has Tagovailoa looking like a different quarterback. He was a national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, and a fan favorite at the University of Alabama, but Brian Flores did not have confidence in Tagovailoa during his first two seasons.

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Several reports surfaced on social media about Flores wanting Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Since McDaniel’s arrival, Tagovailoa leads with swagger, confidence, and he’s even having fun with the media. He’s been dominating camp with accurate passes and deep ball timing. Tagovailoa is demonstrating to local media and national pundits he can drive the ball downfield. His interception numbers have been small, but his touchdowns and big plays have come in chunks during practices. According to Brandon Liguori, a freelance reporter for the Dolphins, Tagovailoa’s attitude has changed.

McDaniel has the native Hawaiian believing he can be an elite NFL quarterback. Tagovailoa has the offensive weapons in Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Chase Edmonds, Mike Gesicki, Cedric Wilson, and others. He is ready to take the next step in becoming a great signal-caller in the pros.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith. 

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