Tua Tagovailoa did the rounds on national radio shows Monday morning to promote a Super Bowl event, and in the process discussed his rookie season, his health and, yes, the speculation surrounding Deshaun Watson.
The biggest takeaway perhaps was that Tagovailoa wasn't particularly happy with his rookie season with the Miami Dolphins.
And Tagovailoa also made it clear it had nothing to do with the performances of either of the other highly drafted rookie quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, the latter of whom is the front-runner for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
“I would say I wouldn’t know too much because I never paid attention too much to the media with what they had said or with what was going on," Tagovailoa said on The Dan Patrick Show. "Really the only time I’d ever understand about the hype was when I got interviewed by the media for the Miami Dolphins. But as far as expectations, I have really high expectations for myself and I didn’t meet those expectations this past year.”
"I would describe my rookie season as below average," Tagovailoa said on Schein on Sports on Sirius XM's Mad Dog Sports Radio. "This past season wasn't up to my expectation that I have for myself. But there were a lot of things that I was able to learn from. Being able to look at the defenses and how different all of the schemes are with defensive coordinators. Everyone runs different things. Hopefully I can compartmentalize everything and have a much better season next year."
Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said two days after the regular season finale at Buffalo that "Tua is our starter," but that hasn't stopped or slowed the speculation about Miami making a push for disgruntled Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson should the Texans decided they have no choice but trade him.
Under that scenario, the likelihood is that Tagovailoa would end up getting traded.
“I would say that’s something that I can’t control," Tagovailoa told Patrick about the speculation. "I don’t have any control over those trade deals and whatnot. But for me, my job is to help our team win games and help our offense contribute to the success of the team.”
"I never heard about the rumor until my agent reached out to me," Tagovailoa told Schein. "I'm not one to really listen to the radio or watch ESPN. Really the only time I would watch TV would be to watch a football game on Sunday. I don't hear too much of that. The only time I heard about it was from my agent. That's something that would be out of my control, regardless. That would be on the decision of the Miami Dolphins organization. I have to control what I can control. Work hard. And do well next season."
Patrick asked Tagovailoa whether he was convinced he would be with the Dolphins next season.
“Honestly, I’m not too sure," Tagovailoa said. "Like I said, I can’t control things that I can’t control. What I can do is continue to work hard.”
To that end, Tagovailoa will continue working on his body in the offseason as he gets more and more removed from the hip injury that once put his football future in question.
While Tagovailoa didn't miss a game as a rookie because of injury, Tagovailoa said his health gradually improved throughout the season.
“I would say there is a big difference (from September until now)," Tagovailoa told Patrick. "The past offseason, it’s really been a rehab year last year, but this year I’d say my health has gotten a little better. But it’s not something that you feel it’s good and you just stop working on mobility and whatnot; it’s a continuing process for me.”
Tagovailoa told Schein he hoped he already had convinced head coach Brian Flores he deserved to be the Dolphins' franchise quarterback.
"In my mind and in my heart I would like to hope so," Tagovailoa said. "But for me with the way things went last year, you always have to prove yourself to do better and I want to do better. My job is to help our team win games. For me that's what I have to do a better job with. For me, when I was in, we lost a couple."
Tua was pitching his involvement with Verizon during Super Bowl week, which will involve him playing a video game on social media and host a video call with a fan.