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Tua Tagovailoa has a great night for Dolphins in his second preseason game

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Last year, Tua Tagovailoa didn't get a preseason. 

Rookie quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert played exceptionally well without a preseason, and that looked bad on Tagovailoa. But he wasn't dealing with a great situation, from an odd offseason to still dealing with a major hip injury he suffered at Alabama. 

Some gave up on Tagovailoa after a rookie season in which he wasn't even that terrible. It just wasn't great. The quarterback the Miami Dolphins thought they were getting with the fifth overall pick was on display in Saturday's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons though. 

Tua Tagovailoa has nice second preseason game

Tagovailoa started 8-of-8 for the Dolphins on Saturday. He wasn't perfect. Most of his throws were still short. Poor accuracy on a short throw led to a pass going through Jaylen Waddle's arms as he went to the ground, and it was ruled incomplete after a challenge. That was Tagovailoa's first incompletion. But he followed that up with a throw right on target over the middle to Mike Gesicki for a first down. 

On the next play, Tagovailoa moved around in the pocket, stepped up and found Myles Gaskin over the middle for a touchdown. It was a slick play by a quarterback who looks a lot more comfortable in his second year. 

Tagovailoa even had a nice 8-yard run, after an offseason of saying his hip feels much better. And he did have a nice deep throw down the middle to Gesicki. 

Tagovailoa hasn't proven anything just because he had an efficient preseason game. But it was a reminder that he still has the ability to grow, and seems to be doing so. 

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) played well against the Falcons. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) played well against the Falcons. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Tagovailoa could have nice second season

In the first half Saturday, Tagovailoa was 16-of-23 for 183 yards. The Dolphins will be second-guessed for picking Tagovailoa over Herbert, last season's offensive rookie of the year. But there's a chance the story turns out well for the Los Angeles Chargers and the Dolphins too. 

Tagovailoa is in an offense that upgraded talent over the offseason, without having to look over his shoulder for Ryan Fitzpatrick to come in. He's healthier. He should be more comfortable. Not every quarterback is going to be great as a rookie. Tagovailoa still has a chance to be excellent. 

If Tagovailoa is good, perhaps the Dolphins can get over the hump and to the playoffs. They almost made it last season, even with Tagovailoa having some rookie struggles. If Tagovailoa is the efficient player we saw in Saturday's game — and we know from his time at Alabama that he can be very good throwing deep too — the narrative on him could change in a hurry. 

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