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Mike McDaniel: Tua Tagovailoa has been as consistent as anybody

Mike Florio and Chris Simms examine if Tua Tagovailoa, Derek Carr, Geno Smith and Kyler Murray have proven themselves or if they still have something to prove next season.

The Dolphins picked up Tua Tagovailoa’s fifth-year option, but it’s still an important upcoming fourth season for the 25-year-old quarterback.

So far, Tagovailoa has been performing well through the team’s offseason program and minicamp, according to head coach Mike McDaniel. He said that there’s a lot that goes into the evaluation of where Tagovailoa is entering his second year in the offense.

“I think Year Two, the prerequisite is that he as the quarterback has to have ownership of everything he’s doing and what everyone else is doing as the facilitator of the offense. And he’s checked that box every day,” McDaniel said in his Wednesday press conference. “It’s been really cool in a year’s time how he’s not only learned the language but is not fluent in it. That opens quarterbacks up to doing some of the components of the job that — it’s really hard to try to be the leader of an offense and motivate guys and encourage guys when you need to, or maybe be hard on guys when you need to, when you’re just trying to spit out a play and know your own assignment.

“So [I] went into this offseason hoping that I would see a graduation of sorts and really have every single day.”

McDaniel added that he’s less concerned about the good plays Tagovailoa makes on a daily basis and more concerned about the quarterback’s consistency throughout a practice.

“He had his games where he made some big-time plays and then he wasn’t as happy with the rest of the game,” McDaniel said. “So kind of looking at it through that lens, he’s really been one of our more consistent — I think he’s been as consistent as anybody day-in and day-out, which has residual effects on the whole team. I know the team can feel it as well.”

That’s good news for the Dolphins, who should have high hopes and expectations entering 2023 — even with what’s expected to be a competitive AFC East.