Tua Tagovailoa’s future stays in query, however he is on proper path this offseason

Tua Tagovailoa has spent a lot of this offseason getting thrown on his butt, he is sporting some new facial hair and he just lately admitted he’d thought of retiring from soccer.

Briefly, issues are… 

“Nice,” stated the Miami Dolphins quarterback when assembly with reporters final week, with the form of smile you’ll be able to’t assist however imagine.

Tagovailoa is coming off a 2022 marketing campaign wherein he led the workforce to an 8-3 begin that sparked such promise, however ended it on the sidelines, not returning for the ultimate two video games of the common season or a playoff defeat to Buffalo after sustaining a concussion on Christmas Day.

Having attacked the offseason with a devoted plan, he’s feeling upbeat, giving off an unmistakably extra relaxed air that means he is snug with the place his recreation and his mindset land because the summer season months strategy.

Talking of touchdown, the 25-year-old has — as most could have heard by now — taken up the martial artwork of jiu jitsu, a preventative measure geared toward educating him find out how to fall extra successfully. This follows a pair of 2022 concussions ensuing from his head colliding into the bottom.

These incidents induced him to briefly wonder if his future lay away from the game, earlier than rapidly deciding that was not an choice he needed to pursue.

“I thought of it for a time, having sat down with my household, with my spouse and having these sorts of conversations,” he stated. “Actually, it might be arduous for me to stroll away from this recreation with how outdated I’m, with my son. I at all times dreamed of taking part in so long as I might so my son might watch and know that is what I do.”

Making that admission was one thing Tagovailoa bought some unwarranted criticism for, however in actuality, speaking about it’s simply in step with the place he’s at. It wasn’t a concession of weak spot, extra a press release of readability — one which reveals he feels he is in the proper place and with the proper instruments to shine.

Strain is at all times there for NFL QBs, however the best way he carried out final season silenced a variety of skeptics. Already the Dolphins have picked up his fifth-year choice for 2024, one that may pay him $23.2 million that yr. Believing that the streaking begin to final season is a greater predictor of the long run than the irritating finish to it (shedding six of seven), Miami has made it clear Tagovailoa is the man regardless of including backup Mike White as a free agent.

Tagovailoa’s preparation is extra forensic now, and it facilities round accountability. Small areas of weak spot aren’t to be ignored and averted; they’re to be addressed and improved upon to a degree the place they’re adequate to offer confidence.

That is why watching recreation footage from final season along with his jiu jitsu coach has been a part of the prep, and it is why an elaborate system of pulleys has been set as much as allow him to strengthen his neck. Head coach Mike McDaniel desires Tagovailoa to make performs and showcase his expertise, but additionally to understand the method that goes into all of it as he enters his fourth yr within the league.

As for the mustache, it was an offseason dalliance he is able to be executed with, however his spouse likes it, which most likely means we are going to see it stick round for some time, and if nothing else, it’s a signal that there is a completely different edge to Tagovailoa, a form of relaxed focus that hints at a larger consolation stage.

The Dolphins hope that is the case.

Going from 8-3 to 8-8 wasn’t anybody’s concept of enjoyable, however Tagovailoa’s end-of-season stats made for nice studying, with 25 touchdowns towards eight interceptions, and three,548 passing yards.

By the point the playoffs rolled round, the Dolphins had already skidded, and it by no means felt like they’d an opportunity of going into Buffalo and beating the Bills with seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson underneath middle.

Tagovailoa is conscious that he should discover methods to remain off the harm record, having performed 13 video games or much less in every of his three seasons.

“I need to get higher at every thing I can do to assist the workforce win video games,” he added. “And I do know the largest one is my well being, staying out on the sphere.”

That is why the previous months have revolved round power work, leg work, neck and core work. Plus, in fact, getting slammed into the jiu jitsu mats, as a result of that is the way it goes whenever you’re nonetheless a white belt making an attempt to earn respect.

He is graduated to a stage effectively past that on the quarterbacking hierarchy record, however believes there’s extra to return. It’s an unpredictable league and the most effective laid plans can go awry, however an important a part of Tagovailoa’s continued climb is in place — he believes he can.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports activities and the creator of the FOX Sports activities Insider publication. Comply with him on Twitter @MRogersFOX and subscribe to the daily newsletter.

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