Dolphins’ HC McDaniel: Tua Tagovailoa Lost Weight to ‘Find Another Level of His Game’

Dolphins’ HC McDaniel: Tua Tagovailoa Lost Weight to ‘Find Another Level of His Game’
Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekX.com LogoFeatured Columnist IVJune 6, 2024

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JUNE 04: Tua Tagovailoa #1 of the Miami Dolphins throws a pass during Miami Dolphins Mandatory Minicamp on June 04, 2024 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Megan Briggs/Getty Images

NFL fans may see a skinnier Tua Tagovailoa this season, and Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel addressed the quarterback’s weight loss on Wednesday.

“Honestly, it’s just Tua trying to find another level of his game and another level of being a professional,” McDaniel said, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “It happens to a lot of players where all of a sudden you become pseudo-dieticians several years into your career but definitely not at the start. Seeing ways that he could maintain the strength but create some more flexibility and power, or however you want to look at it.

“It wasn’t to correct something that needed fixed. It was an opportunity to get better, in his mind I think. And ultimately, we’ll see how he does at read option and if he’s trying to be an option quarterback, how svelte is svelte? But anything that helps you attack your job and solve problems — problems that he’s more aware of now than he was last year or the year before, just in terms of being a problem-solver at your position—you learn different things and you find value in different things.”

For his part, Tagovailoa said, “I felt like I’d be better. I feel better, quicker on my feet, more nimble, all of that.”

While the quarterback didn’t reveal exactly how much weight he has lost, wide receiver Tyreek Hill certainly noticed the new look.

“I ain’t gonna lie, when I saw Tua at the Pro Bowl, I was kind of scared—dude was fat as f–k,” Hill said. “He was fat, he was chubby. I was like, ‘Hold on, bro. Hold on, bro.’ Ryan Clark said you were kind of thick, he wasn’t lying. But seeing him now and where he’s come from and how skinny he has gotten—what’s that stuff everybody is taking? Ozempic? He had to be taking that, I don’t know.”

Tagovailoa is listed at 227 pounds on the Dolphins’ website, but it seems like he plans on starting the 2024 campaign at a smaller weight.

It remains to be seen if the smaller frame will lead to more running and athleticism, but any consistent rushing will be an improvement for the Alabama product. He ran for 74 yards last season and has never surpassed 128 yards on the ground in any of his four years in the NFL.

Miami has no shortage of speed and weapons around the quarterback with Hill, Jaylen Waddle, De’Von Achane, Raheem Mostert and Odell Beckham Jr., so it doesn’t necessarily need its quarterback to run.

After all, it made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons without a running threat under center.

Still, even some running from Tagovailoa would be yet another thing opposing defenses have to deal with when the Dolphins are on the field. They have to devote plenty of resources to stopping the wide receivers on the outside alone, so there are only so many defenders left to account for the quarterback taking off.

Perhaps the weight loss will help him do a little bit more of that in 2024.

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