MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tua Tagovailoa was all but assured the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback job in 2022 the day Brian Flores was fired. His new coach, Mike McDaniel, is thrilled to work with him.
His new quarterbacks coach, Darrell Bevell, is too. But he’s also in no rush to crown the former No. 5 overall pick who has had an up and down first two NFL seasons.
Darrell Bevell’s candid assessment of Tua Tagovailoa
Speaking to reporters for the first time since agreeing to join McDaniel’s staff, Bevell gave an honest and mostly positive response to a question about Tagovailoa’s arm strength:
“I think it’s important for me to be able to see the ball coming out of his hand in person. I can see it on tape. I can see him making some of the throws. There are questions that I have. But I want to see the ball come out of his hand in person. That’s the one thing for me, always on tape, is it’s hard to tell the true velocity, so I want to get him out here on the grass and see exactly what it looks like.
“From what I’ve seen, we’ll definitely be able to have high success from him being able to throw the football. He can make many of the throws that we’re going to ask him to do. And the ones that he can’t, then we’re going to do something different.”
Bevell joined the Dolphins after serving as the Jaguars’ interim coach following Urban Meyer’s termination. Bevell is the Dolphins offensive staff’s most decorated assistant, serving as an offensive coordinator for the Seahawks, Lions, and Jaguars since 2011. He also was the Lions’ interim head coach in 2020. In Seattle, he won a Super Bowl with Russell Wilson.
Is Russell Wilson a model for Tagovailoa?
When asked if he’d like to see Tua replicate some of the things that Wilson has done in Seattle, Bevell responded:
“Russell is a very driven player. He wants to be great in every way. And he’s a tireless worker to be able to get that done. I don’t know Tua as well as I want to yet, but we have had a conversation. The first thing is the preparation and the dogged determination that I am going to be great. And I don’t care what anyone else says. I think that’s a great starting point.
“Because then, when you have that belief in yourself, you start acting in accordance with that. You put in the time. You work. And you do all those things you need to get your game to meeting expectations.”
New Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith on his quarterback
Bevell won’t be calling the plays in Miami. Neither will Frank Smith, who has the title of offensive coordinator. Mike McDaniel will. But Smith will be responsible for helping craft a game plan that maximizes Tagovailoa’s abilities.
“Super excited,” Smith said of working with Tagovailoa. “Coming in, I can honestly say I didn’t know a whole lot. At the time, I was worrying about other position groups and other priorities. But as I’ve been here, and you’re studying him as a player, super excited — extremely accurate passer.
“His patience with things and what we’re going to be able to do is going to be really, really cool,” Smith added. “I know just in the limited stuff from this week, just super excited the more tape we get to watch. With the hiring process, you get in here, and you’re trying to get a staff together, you’re trying to figure out, Combine, all of this. And now as we’re getting into it every week, more and more tape, we get more and more excited. … You’re going, ‘This is going to be really, really cool to have him at quarterback for us.’”