Tua Tagovailoa ignores criticism, only cares if Dolphins win


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa couldn’t care less about the narrative surrounding his abilities. As long as his team keeps winning, you can say whatever you want about him.

Tagovailoa and the Dolphins put up 30 points and 290 total yards against the New York Jets‘ defense, despite playing without wide receiver Tyreek Hill, who was inactive with an ankle injury. The game marked Miami’s first without Hill since trading for the All-Pro last offseason.

After struggling in a loss to the Tennessee Titans in their previous game, when Hill suffered the injury and played just 47% of their offensive snaps, the Dolphins faced criticism about their ability to maintain their lofty offensive standard without the NFL’s leading receiver.

But Tagovailoa, the NFL’s leading passer, said his team is confident, with or without Hill.

“I would say it is always tough when you don’t have one of your best guys out there,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday. “To me, I personally say none of us really cares who’s out there or who’s not. At the end of the day, whoever’s in there, we all trust that we can get it done with those people. Even when I wasn’t in there last year, that was the mindset that those guys [had].

“We’ve got to go out there. We’ve still got to play. [Our opponents] don’t care that Tyreek’s out. Those guys didn’t care that I was out last year. It doesn’t matter. We got to go out there and play. And I think that should tell you a lot about the guys that were out there.”

Tagovailoa completed an efficient 21 of 24 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win over the Jets, capping off a season sweep of Miami’s division rival. With 175,772 fan votes, Tagovailoa also leads all NFL players in Pro Bowl voting — something he said he appreciates, although the spotlight makes him “feel weird.”

He also embraces the idea that his supporting cast props him up — as long as the 10-4 Dolphins continue to win games.

“Everyone wants to make this about me, about Tyreek — please, keep pushing it to Tyreek. Make it about Tyreek,” Tagovailoa said. “I understand that my platform and who I am in this league as a quarterback makes me polarizing. Whether I’m the best, whether I’m the worst, I [couldn’t] care less. I don’t listen to it. … At the end of the day, I really don’t care. But if [Dolphins communications] does share it with me, I mean, I keep receipts. We all have a way of how we do things, but all the narratives about it — yeah, sure. I am only good with Tyreek, you’re right. That is the only time I’m at my best.

“You’re right, I’m only good when Jaylen [Waddle] is in. I couldn’t care less about it. Sure … I’m only as good as Raheem Mostert allows me to be. That’s what the narrative needs to be. And we’re able to win games and we’re able to go where we want to go as a team. I am the worst football player if that’s what you want. I don’t care. I really don’t. So, whatever it is, whatever you need on your show, take clips out of what I just said. Do it. Do what you need to do. I’m just here to do my job, and my job is to help our guys win games.”

Hill did not practice for the Dolphins on Wednesday, but coach Mike McDaniel said his absence wasn’t an indicator of his availability for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

If the Dolphins win this week, they’ll clinch a playoff berth for the second consecutive season.

Source : ESPN