Tua Talk Not Slowing Down One Bit
The Miami Dolphins are trying their best to emphasize that Tua Tagovailoa is just like any other rookie with plenty of learn in this difficult training camp, but there simply is no stopping the Tua hype train.
The latest evidence came Tuesday when Variety announced that FOX Sports Films would be premiering a documentary on the Dolphins first-round pick Sunday, Sept. 6, one week before the team's regular season opener at New England.
The documentary, which will air at 4 p.m. ET, will focus on the last year of Tagovailoa's life and document his recovery from his 2019 hip injury and going through the draft process, as well as document his upbringing in Hawaii.
But, as they say, that's not all: an eight-episode digital series, “Tua Talks,” will launch on the Fox Sports app in the coming weeks.
“I’m excited about this film for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it represents the deep love and appreciation that I have for my culture, my faith and, more importantly, my family,” Tagovailoa told Variety. “I am extremely proud of this project and the efforts it took to get here. I look forward to sharing it with everyone.”
The fascination with Tagovailoa is obvious and understandable. He's a gifted athlete with an outgoing personality who has worked hard to come back from adversity.
The documentary will feature interviews with, among others, Tua's parents and Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who Dolphins fans remember from his two seasons in Miami (2005-06).
Tua's current coaches, meanwhile, have gone out of their way to temper expectations for a fan base starving for a franchise quarterback.
The latest coach to address Tagovailoa and the prospects for his rookie were offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and quarterbacks coach Robby Brown.
"He’s going to develop quickly or slowly depending upon how much he grasps the offense and how quickly he comes and how he develops as a football player, and a lot of that’s based on health," Gailey said. "There’s a lot of factors in there. I hope I have a big impact on it, but you don’t ever know about that. You have to see how fast and how well a player comes on and then you see what he does. We’ll treat him just like we treat everybody else. We’ll try to put him in a position to be successful when the time comes.”
Brown said, "It’s a deal where he’s just like every other rookie. He’s just got to come in and learn. What we’re trying to do first, the first thing you have to do is learn what you’re doing as an offense and then it expands to, ‘OK, what’s the defense trying to do to us?’ and that kind of stuff. But he’s just like every other guy, a rookie trying to come in and learn that, and learn it as fast as possible. Of course, it’s a little bit accelerated during this training camp. It’s a different process than it would have been had you had OTAs and all of that stuff.”
Those comments were along the same lines as what head coach Brian Flores said when he was asked about Tagovailoa a couple of weeks ago.
"I know there’s a lot of people that want to talk about Tua and I understand it, but at the same time, he’s a young player, this is his first NFL training camp," Flores said. "I think he’s got to take it one day at a time and not think about what’s realistic for the season. I think we just need to take a one-day-at-a-time approach. That’s been my message to him and it’s not just him, it’s really every player on this team. This is a different year. This is a different type of training camp. No one has gone through a training camp like this where a lot of meetings are virtual and there was no spring, there are no preseason games. No one has done this. Instead of looking into the future, I’d rather just take the one-day-at-a-time approach and that’s the message that I’m going to give to the team, as well.”
While there isn't a whole lot he can do about it, one gets the feeling that maybe Flores isn't thrilled by all the attention Tagovailoa has been getting since he joined the Dolphins.
At least it's a safe assumption based on his comments from last summer when he talked about the team's lack of star power at the time.
"I’ll let other people worry about star power and all of that, whatever you want to call that," Flores said. "It’s a team game. Stars are kind of a ‘me’ thing. It's a team game. There are 11 guys out there and they have to work together. If you have a star that wants to do his own thing, that just doesn’t work. I’m of the ‘put the team first’ mantra and these so-called ‘stars’ need to be on that page on this team. Hopefully that answers your question.”
So as long as Tagovailoa is all about the team once practice and games start, Flores should be fine with all the outside attention. And by all accounts and from all the reports from his time at Alabama, that shouldn't be a concern.
Along with the documentary, Tagovailoa also has built up quite the nice collection of endorsements.
And all of that before he's played a down in the NFL.
Like it or not, he's a star. The question is whether he'll continue to shine once his NFL career starts.