Tua Tagovailoa “Laser Focused,” Expected To Start Week 7 Against Steelers
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is set to start against the Pittsburgh Steelers after suffering a concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals three weeks ago. The quarterback spoke to reporters for the first time since the injury Wednesday.
Tua Tagovailoa: I’m not the savior of this team. It’s a team. pic.twitter.com/kymFRLKpDM
— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 19, 2022
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“So for me, I just look at it as coming into this week and just be myself,” Tagovailoa said about his return. “Don’t try to force anything. Don’t try to make plays that aren’t there – just give our playmakers the ball and let them go to work.”
Giving up when there isn’t a play came up multiple times during Tagovailoa’s press conference. In Weeks 3 and 4, he took two hits that resulted in him entering concussion protocols, which seems to have impacted how he will approach playmaking attempts in the future.
“Throwing the ball away hasn’t been something that I’ve done in the past really well,” Tagovailoa said. “Because I’m trying to make plays, and so just learning from that – if it’s not there, it’s OK to throw it away. It’s the longevity of me just being able to be the quarterback for this team and not try to make something out of nothing.”
Looking back on his injury, Tagovailoa said that he did not remember the play itself and recalled waking up and wondering what happened. He confirmed that he was unconscious following the play, which came in the second quarter of the team’s Week 4 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The quarterback suffered another hit to the head four days prior against the Buffalo Bills but re-entered that game.
Over the past few weeks, Head Coach Mike McDaniel has been optimistic about his quarterback’s condition despite having to report multiple setbacks in his recovery. He also expressed frustration with reporters at times for fixating on the subject but was more encouraged than ever Wednesday.
“He’s laser focused. He’s in his normal mood, but he doesn’t lose attention span at the task at hand,” McDaniel said. “And that’s what I’ve grown to love about the guy. That’s why he’s been able to have some success in a completely new language and system.”
For the past three weeks, the Dolphins have turned to backup quarterbacks Teddy Bridgewater and Skyler Thompson, struggling in three straight losses. With Tagovailoa at the helm, the team won its first three games and received attention as an early playoff contender.
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