Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm goes 1-on-1 with the Dolphins’ quarterback. First, despite his surprisingly quick return to action following a dislocated hip, Tua gives no excuses for not meeting his standards during his rookie season in Miami. The former star at Alabama then dishes on this year’s crop of stars from the Crimson Tide. Tua compares his former backup Mac Jones to another successful QB in the Sunshine State. The Dolphins signal caller would love to once again share a backfield next season with RB Najee Harris. Meanwhile, Tagovailoa believes WR Jaylen Waddle can do everything at a high level, and there is a reason why WR DeVonta Smith is nicknamed the “Slim Reaper.” Tua Tagovailoa joined Yahoo Sports thanks to Muscle Milk. Go to https://www.amazon.com/tuadays and use the code 20TUADAYS to receive 20% off select products on Amazon through March 7th.
ERIC EDHOLM: Well, we are pleased to be joined by Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa who is joining us on behalf of Muscle Milk. And Tua, welcome, man. I don't think people realize just how incredible it was that you got on the field in a real game 11 months post-surgery after the dislocated hip.
And I heard Chad Pennington, former Dolphins quarterback, the other day talking about when he suffered a major injury. It really wasn't till a year or two that he truly felt mentally and physically all the way back. Is there some truth to what Chad's saying in terms of that timetable there?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I would say at some point you're either ready, or you're not. To me, there's no excuse. If the coaches give you an opportunity, everyone feels that I'm ready. I feel that I'm ready. I go out there and just came up short. Just came up short.
ERIC EDHOLM: And you talked about opportunities. Obviously, a lot of important ones facing some of your former Bama teammates, guys you played with who are going through the draft process this year. I'm sure you've talked to some of them. I was wondering if you can sort of give us some scouting reports on your former teammates, including your former backup quarterback Mac Jones, who came into the program without a lot of hype, now leaving as a possible first round pick. What's the book on Mac?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I'd say he's a sly kind of athletic person. He's a more mobile Tom Brady. He's very athletic I would say, but he's very smart too. Not just on the field. He's smart off the field as well.
But he's a great person. He's a really great person. And a lot of the guys, when I was playing in Alabama, they really loved being around his personality and who he was. So I am thinking whatever team gets him, I mean, they're going to be very much. He's a great player.
ERIC EDHOLM: And both of you benefited from a great offensive line and a great run game, and Najee Harris was a big part of that. We've seen him run the ball effectively for four years. But for me personally, the receiving portion of his game really developing the last couple of years-- you were witness to that in 2019. How did you see Najee become this sort of complete all-around back and especially what he could do in the passing game, which was an element we didn't see a lot of early in his career?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: He's a well-rounded running back. He's very athletic. He can run. He can make a man miss. He can power through someone.
And then he's very good in the pass game. Not just with his catching, but I think what's overshadowed by his success with the catches and the runs is his blocking. He's going to be a fun guy to watch like this upcoming season. So I'm excited to see him. Hopefully, we're on the same team. Who knows?
ERIC EDHOLM: Yeah, another couple of guys who possibly could be teammates of yours as well-- the two receivers who could be first round picks-- Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith. DeVonta, of course, having the Heisman campaign. Jaylen Waddle missing part of the year with the ankle injury but coming back for the National championship game. When we spoke to them last week we kind of asked them, pitted against each other. What do you do better that the other guy doesn't? I won't put you in that spot. But give us what you think is the biggest strength, the biggest, the most impressive trait for both Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith as wide receivers.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Both really good in space, very athletic. They can take the top off. And for Smitty, he'll go up and get it. With Waddle, I mean, he's universal. You can do anything with that guy. Put him receiver, running back, slot. He'll make something happen.
ERIC EDHOLM: And the knock on DeVonta has been, oh, he's too thin. He might be 170 pounds or less. I mean, how did you see him win without the benefit of this Julio Jones-like frame or some sort of developed bigger receiver? How was he able to compensate for the fact that he's not the biggest guy out there?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: I mean, to me, film never lies. Film never lies. I think the entire world got to see this past year what kind of player that he really is. You give him the ball, he'll make something happen.
I mean, going back to my freshman year, the National championship game. Before the pass, he told me give him the ball. And so I trusted him, gave him the ball, and you see exactly what he did. I mean, they don't call him the Slim Reaper for no reason because I'm telling you. He comes, and he comes to kill.
ERIC EDHOLM: I want to hear a little bit more about this promotion, the Tua Days, right? A little different spelling on that one. Is that right?
TUA TAGOVAILOA: It's kind of funny because Tua Days goes with my name, Tua, and you just spell days. But I'd say as a professional athlete two-a-day workouts have been a large part of my training regimen. And so protein like this is essential for recovery. This is why we're also offering 20% off some of my favorite products on amazon.com/tuadays.
ERIC EDHOLM: That's right. Great nickname, and great interview with Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins quarterback. We'll be especially looking forward to what you're going to be doing out there on the field in year two. On behalf of Muscle Milk and Yahoo Sports, thanks so much for coming on today. I really appreciate it.
TUA TAGOVAILOA: Appreciate it. Thank you.