Dolphins coach Brian Flores eager to see Tua Tagovailoa’s ‘Year 2 jump’

·4 min read

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores appreciates the work quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is doing this offseason.

And Flores certainly expects that work to translate onto the field during Tagovailoa’s second NFL season.

“We’ve talked to him about the Year 1 to Year 2 jump, and it’s a real thing,” Flores said Monday on the Joe Rose show on 560 WQAM.

“He’s more comfortable with just his surroundings, more comfortable being in a huddle, giving a cadence, going through his communication. Those little things that no one really talks about. He’s said this: He feels much more comfortable about doing those things. I think having a year under his belt will really help him.

“But what we really like is him finding time to get with his receivers, getting with his centers, go through the cadence, go through the communication, go through his reads. They’re doing a lot of that on his own.”

The Dolphins, on Monday, began the second phase of their offseason program, when players can voluntary work out at the team’s facility. The team just concluded its rookie minicamp for draft picks and undrafted rookie signees over the weekend.

While the influx of new talent — such as receiver Jaylen Waddle, edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, safety Jevon Holland — excites Flores, his excitement has quickly shifted toward his bigger focus heading into his third season as Dolphins coach.

“Anytime you can add talent to the roster, we’re excited about that as a coaching staff, and we’re excited about that as an organization. But we’ve got to get these guys coached up,” Flores said of his rookie class.

“We have to teach these guys how to be professionals, how to study the playbook, how we practice, and the things we’re looking for in a Miami Dolphin, which are guys who are tough, who are smart, who are competitive, who love to play and are team first. We’re trying to get that into their heads and into their fabric as quickly as possible. … They’ve got a lot to learn.”

A few other tidbits from Flores’ appearance on the radio show Monday:

― On the new Dolphins’ offense, which has Tagovailoa throwing to players like Waddle, new receiver Will Fuller IV, receiver DeVante Parker and tight end Mike Gesicki among others:

“We feel good about that group, but there’s a lot of work we have to put in and a lot of chemistry that has to be built. I would say they’re eager to put that work in,” Flores said of his offense. “We just need to put the work in, develop them all and that’ll give us the best chance.”

― On Phillips, the former University of Miami standout taken with the No. 18 pick: “On the field, he’s obviously a talented guy. He’s fast, got some quickness, bends. He did a good job as far as taking what we taught him in the meetings to the walk through and then onto the practice field. I thought he got off to a good start.”

― Flores says offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg, who the Dolphins traded up to draft in the second round, will play some right tackle, and can play some guard in the NFL.

“Your role on your team is going to be what you make it, and versatility is big in this league,” Flores said.

― On the running back room, Flores says he likes the group, which includes leading rusher Myles Gaskin, second-year backup Salvon Ahmed and veteran newcomer Malcolm Brown. Patrick Laird will enter his third season in Miami, while former St. Thomas Aquinas High standout Jordan Scarlett begins his first with the Dolphins.

“We’re excited about working with these guys,” Flores said before referencing one of his co-offensive coordinators. “Eric [Studesville] has done a nice job with the backs over the years and have a lot of confidence in him from that standpoint, and the offense overall.”

― And on newcomer Jason McCourty, who will play safety and cornerback: “The first thing I think about with Jason is leadership. He’s a veteran player and played a long time in this league with different organizations. So from a leadership standpoint, I think his professionalism, his intelligence, that’ll help us.”