Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill connect deep on first play – NBC Sports

Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill connect deep on first play - NBC Sports

USA TODAY Sports

The Dolphins opened Saturday night’s preseason game with a play Miami fans hope to see many times this year: Tua Tagovailoa throwing the ball deep to Tyreek Hill.

After a quick play-action fake, Tua threw the ball to Hill for a 51-yard gain. After the game, Tagovailoa talked about the play.

“It was good,” Tagovailoa told reporters. “Knowing that Tyreek was playing, he wanted a ‘go’ ball. We gave him a shot. I didn’t like the throw. That whole spiel. If it was a better ball, if it was probably more in front of Tyreek, you know, we could have scored on the first play probably. You know, I think it’s a credit to the practices we had with the Eagles and how hard our guys worked. Not just this week but all training camps and OTAs. It’s really good that people can finally see the hard work we’ve all put together.”

Tagovailoa said that, when the play was called, there was no specific direction to choose the deep option to one of the fastest players in football, if not the fastest.

“Mike [McDaniel] didn’t necessarily tell me who to go to with the ball, but for me it was one of those deals that if we got specific coverage from their defense, that regardless of who was on Tyreek or not, we wanted to make that shot,” said Tagovailoa. “And so we got the best view of what the play consisted of and that’s why we took the shot.”

McDaniel, who spoke at length about the sudden passing of team manager Jason Jenkins at the start of the press conference (we’ll post something about that later this morning), said he’s “just happy for those two individuals because they’ve invested a lot .” McDaniel added that he was “happy for the team and the organization really because they invested a lot,” and “let’s just say it was great to see them not blink and do what they love to do.”

McDaniel was asked if the play was meant to send a message to the rest of the league.

“We’re really just trying to work on our craft,” the first-year coach said. “You don’t know what defense they’re going to run out. You have to make the play, and I was happy it was a hard look, but Tua makes that decision to throw to him while at the same time his back is to the defense. It takes a lot of training, but we were pretty confident that if we got the look right, they would pull it off. That’s why they are who they are, and that’s why we all believe in them so much.”

Tua said it herself. The throw was not ideal. But with a talent like Hill, it doesn’t have to be.

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