Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill: Critics will be ‘taking their words back’ on Tua Tagovailoa this year

Tyreek Hill has not been shy about talking up quarterback Tua Tagovailoa on his It Needed to be Said podcast, and his confidence continued unwavering in another episode on Friday.

“It’s gonna be a lot of people taking their words back on what they said about [Tua],” Hill said. “I can’t really name point, but I’m saying reporters, analysts, Twitter trolls. All those people are gonna take their words back on what they said about [Tua], and I’m just gonna be sitting there, eating my popcorn.”

Aside from seemingly trying to fill out a Terrell Owens-themed bingo card with his QB defending and popcorn talk, Hill seems earnest about his belief in Tagovailoa. He’s put him on a pedestal at every opportunity, and that confidence building is vital for the third-year quarterback to have in his ear after a career with rocky beginnings.

The team shifted Tagovailoa in and out of games during his rookie year down the final stretch of games. It did not go unnoticed that journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick gave Miami the better chance at winning its way to the playoffs due to Tagovailoa’s inexperience.

Even when Fitzpatrick left ahead of the 2021 season and Tagovailoa assumed full leadership, rumors persisted that the Dolphins had interest in supplanting him with Deshaun Watson.

That never came to pass, but it was hardly an environment capable of fostering confidence in a still-developing QB.

That’s why Hill’s incessant praise is vital. He and teammate Jaylen Waddle, who joined the podcast and also expressed belief in the QB1, figure to be Tagovailoa’s top targets this season. The operation between the three of them only benefits from this buildup, and they’ll need to be in sync if the Dolphins are to mount a challenge in a tough AFC East.

The next step, of course, will be Hill expressing that same faith during the heat of battle — particularly if he experiences a stretch of games with diminished performance compared to his time Kansas City. It’s not impossible to foresee a situation where that happens.

Tagovailoa has thrown 27 touchdowns in his two-year career. Hill has almost matched that with 24 scores since 2020. There’s a window for tension if Hill’s presence doesn’t drastically alter Tagovailoa’s touchdown trajectory for the better.

Regardless of how it plays out, the Dolphins having two No. 1 wide receivers on the roster heading into 2021 puts them in an excellent position both to win more games and to get a full evaluation of their QB. Hill understands that part of it as well.

“You know, in the NFL they only give you like two or three years to be a successful quarterback, especially if you’re a first-round draft pick,” Hill said. “And if you don’t succeed after those years, then it’s, ‘kick rocks, man.’ So, basically, they’re going to put Tua into that. So this is basically his last year, man, just to show people what he got.”

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