Tua Talks: The Hip, Staying Humble, Rams Defense

Alain Poupart

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa conducted the traditional starting quarterback weekly press conference Wednesday, touching on a wide variety of topics ahead of his NFL starting debut against the Los Angeles Rams this weekend.

Tagovailoa was the same Tua he's been since he came to the Dolphins as the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft with an easy smile and a lot of animation in his voice.

Among other things, Tagovailoa says his relationship with veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has not changed one bit even though their roles have reversed; he doesn't know what to expect regarding his surgically repaired hit once he takes that first hit; his appreciation for the Rams defense; and how he remains humble despite all the hype surrounding him.

On how he spent the bye weekend:

"I was up here a lot. I spent a lot of my time up here at the facility, watching some film, but also working out. I got with the guys to work on some timing. With certain things. Certain routes. Really the only off day I had was Sunday."

On anticipating what the first hit will feel like:"It's been a long time coming but that's just the nature of the game. I don't know what the hip is going to feel like. Every hit is different that you take in football. So I'm really not too sure. And I don't think you could ever prepare for hits. It's just something you have to go out knowing it's going to happen. Whether it's the first play of the game. FIrst quarter. Or maybe second, third or fourth. You just never know."

On staying humble:

"I think what helps is my family. My family is not too big on the hype and whatnot. It's more so just being a good son for them. And a lot of times when I do come home, and I talk to my parents on the phone, they don't necessarily want to know about how football went. They just want to know how everything is with me as a person. How my day was. Things like that. What also helps me here is my coaches and my teammates. You get joked on and whatnot. Just the competition you have with guys at the facility. I don't think anywhere here at this organization can kind of get too caught up in any of the hype. Everyone is just so focused on what they have to do to help our team be successful."

On his relationship with Fitzpatrick:

“It’s the same thing as when Fitz was playing. Nothing really feels any different. Now that I’m in, the only thing that’s different is I’m getting the reps now. But with Fitz, after a series, when we have our first team series, second team series, third team series, I come off to the sideline and Fitz always has something that he wants to say to me, whether it has to do with protection, with where he would look at as far as progression reads and how he would read certain things out. That can make it easier for me hopefully come time Sunday.”

On facing the Rams defense:

“I think it’s really exciting for our offense and our team. It’ll show what kind of team that we kind of have after a bye week and whatnot. But we know what we’re going up against. We’re going up against one of the top NFL defenses in the league. It’s not just Jalen Ramsey. It’s not just Aaron Donald. You guys got Leonard Floyd. You guys got (Michael) Brockers, (Kenny) Young and then Troy Hill, guys on the back end. They’re very sound defensively. We’re really trying our best to prepare as well as we can against these guys. The DC and the OC and the head coach, they all know what they’re doing. We know this isn’t going to be any easier from here on out.”

On his leadership plan:

"I think my leadership plan is just to be the same Tua I’ve always been. I don’t have to go out yelling at guys. That’s just not the way I lead. I’m just going to be me — how I am on the sideline, how I am off the field, it’s pretty much how I’m going to be on the field. You know, there might be certain instances where we might get into it a little bit with the receivers or the linemen. But everyone is just so competitive here, that that’s just the nature of how the game goes sometimes."

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