Tua Tagovailoa focuses on building relationships, learning the playbook, and meets Dan Marino

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during Training Camp at the Training Facility in Davie, FL on August 12th, 2020.
Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa during Training Camp at the Training Facility in Davie, FL on August 12th, 2020. (Miami Dolphins)

Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa talked to reporters about his adjustment to NFL life on Thursday, and he did it while wearing a Ryan Fitzpatrick jersey.

The Dolphins rookie was paying respect to the veteran as he entered a Zoom call with reporters.

“It’s definitely a different learning curve than I was used to at Alabama,” Tagovailoa said. “There’s not as much time that we get on the field. Whereas, we spend a lot more of our time watching film than anything else ... it’s more in your meeting rooms watching film.”

The former Crimson Tide star said that Dan Marino reached out to him after the draft.

“The first day I got into the building Dan was in our meeting,” Tagovailoa said. “Got to talk to Dan. He’s also a really down to earth guy. Someone you can just chat with. For someone who is pretty much the talk of the town with Dan, he’s super humble. He doesn’t hold his head high, or walk around here like he’s the man, which he is.”

As for the pressure and expectations, Tagovailoa said, “My focus right now is to just get into the playbook. Literally, understand what we’re doing offensively and really just trying to build relationships with the guys on the team.”

He said the coaches will put him in the best position possible, if he’s the starter or if he’s supporting Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Tagovailoa is proud of his Samoan culture and said both football and his culture about respect.

“You learn how to take advice. When you get chewed out, you eat it. It’s helped shape me in terms of being respectful and whatnot.”

As for his relationship with Fitzpatrick, Tagovailoa said he wanted to break the ice with reporters by wearing a the veteran’s jersey.

“Very down to earth person, very humble, got to meet his family,” Tagovailoa said. “I don’t know what it is, but he gets it.”

Tagovailoa said he’s not out hardly ever, but he goes to the team hotel. When he is out in public he does wear a mask.

Coming off hip surgery, the rookie quarterback said he’s not sure how his body will react until he’s tackled.

“It’s almost like that trial and error thing,” he said. “You have to do it if you know it’s going to hurt or not.”

As for dealing with the spotlight, Tagovailoa said “I think the best way to handle it is to not pay attention to it. Not being someone who I don’t like it, I don’t care about it. I understand that it’s there, but the main focus is getting into my playbook, building relationships with guys on the team.”

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