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Assorted Takes on the Tyreek Tua Comments

New Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill's comments about quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this week generated a lot of attention, but they need to be put in their proper context

Definitely because it's 2022 and social media is so big and maybe also because it's May and there aren't many actually significant developments taking place, and also because they involved Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill's comments earlier this week generated a lot of attention and headlines.

But, as is so often the case, the representation of the comments often lacked context and nuance.

So let's examine the comments from the perspective of someone — yes, me — who was standing to the side of the podium just off the practice fields at the Baptist Health Training Complex when Hill spoke to the media after the OTA on Tuesday.

Tua, the "Prettiest Balls" and the Idea of Low Expectations

OK, let's start off with the exact question and comment.

Q. You mentioned QB Tua Tagovailoa. What do you think of the way the ball comes from him now that you’ve experienced it for a little bit here?

Hill: “I mean, it’s nothing weird. At first, I thought it was going to be something crazy – the ball going all over the place, but Tua actually has probably one of the prettiest balls I’ve ever caught in my life. It’s very catchable. Tua is a very accurate quarterback."

OK, let's decipher this one from a few angles.

Let's start with the Pro Football Talk suggestion that Hill saying he thought it "was going to be something crazy" meant he had low expectations coming to Miami.

No. Just no.

The tone of the question and Hill's answer meshed with the idea that the question referred to Hill catching passes for the first time in the NFL from a lefty after playing with Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne in Kansas City.

Secondly, was does it really say that Tua has "probably one of the prettiest balls" Hill has ever caught?

First off, how many quarterbacks has Hill worked with? So there's the three in Kansas City, whoever Hill caught passes from at the Pro Bowl, and then his college quarterbacks.

So, again, remembering the words "probably" and "one of," this really is a headline-making comment like so many media outlets would have you believe?

Does Tua Indeed Throw a Pretty Ball?

If we're going to get nitpicky here, what does throwing a pretty ball even mean?

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Perfect spiral? Accurate? Not too hard, not too soft?

Well, on that count, yes, Tua does throw a pretty ball because he absolutely does have accuracy and his passes are very catchable because of that accuracy — and also because he's not going to overpower receivers with his velocity the way some others (Josh Allen comes to mind) sometimes will do.

Hill and the Idea of Confidence

Hill made very important during his media session the idea of playing with confidence, something he said he learned from his grandparents.

It's what he mentioned when he was asked about his social media post showing great Tua highlights after the one clip that showed him having to slow down to catch a deep pass from his quarterback.

Hill: “I just feel like football is all about confidence and I’m very confident in my quarterback. So I just feel like if I’m able to help him get all the confidence in the world and push other guys to push that confidence into him, then the sky’s the limit for the guy because he’s a heck of a talent, has crazy arm strength, arm talent. So like I said, we’re all excited just to watch him sling the ball each and every day.”

Hill tells us he's looking to help Tua get all the confidence in the world, and that absolutely would include glowing compliments thrown his way at every opportunity.

As proof, Hill did the same thing when he was asked about backup Teddy Bridgewater.

Hill: “With Teddy? Oh, it’s fun. I think the world of Teddy also. Teddy is another veteran guy who can come in and just sling the ball all across the field, so it feels good to have two quarterbacks who can come in and do the same thing – ball on time, ball in the right place – so it feels good.”

The Truth About Teammate Comments

We've touched on this before, but it bears repeating: Comments about a player coming from a teammate should be taken lightly because it's what teammates are supposed to do.

We're not suggesting, as some on social media have decided, that teammate comments should be taken as lies, but they also shouldn't be taken as gospel, like, well, Hill says Tua has "crazy arm strength," so there, Tua has crazy arm strength."

Another example is leading questions to teammates along the lines of, "Have you seen signs of Tua becoming more of a leader this year?"

Stop for a second and ask yourself what the chances are that a teammate would either decline to answer that question or go as far as to go against the premise. It just doesn't happen.

Football is the ultimate team game and everybody has to be on board for the common goal, and that doesn't happen if you have players badmouthing a teammate.

Are we saying that Hill doesn't like Tagovailoa as a quarterback? Absolutely not. What we're saying is there's zero chance he ever would say it publicly.

So if he's asked, he'll throw out the compliments. And that will apply basically to any player asked about a teammate. It's not a Tua issue there, it's just the rule.