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Dolphins’ Mike McDaniel says Tua Tagovailoa is ‘laser focused’

After an extended absence from the field due to a head injury, Tua Tagovailoa’s return is leaving quite an impression on his head coach.

Miami Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel said Tagovailoa has been “laser focused” at practice. McDaniel noted during a media session with reporters that the quarterback is working toward playing in the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Steelers Sunday.

“He’s laser focused. He’s in his normal mood, but he doesn’t lose attention span at the task at hand,” McDaniel said. 

“And that’s what I’ve grown to love about the guy. That’s why he’s been able to have some success in a completely new language and system.” 

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Tagovailoa cleared concussion protocol over the weekend. He was ruled out for the Dolphins 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings during Week 6. But, the former Alabama quarterback was on the sideline.

McDaniel mentioned that Tagovailoa is eager to get back to football.

“It was just blatantly obvious to everyone around him that he was missing out on something that he truly loves,” McDaniel said. “And it’s a cool thing to find out in an adverse situation about a player that you coach.”

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Miami is in the midst of a three-game losing streak, which includes dropping both games since Tagovailoa suffered the concussion against the Cincinnati Bengals Sept. 29.

The team started off the season well but sits at 3-3. 

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McDaniel said Tagovailoa has remained focused at practices even when he was not able to participate with the team.

“What you saw was every single play of practice saying the play,” McDaniel said. “After I say it, like he’s saying it in the huddle, then watching the timing of the concept, watching the footwork of Skylar [Thompson], getting excited when perfect technique is executed because he knows exactly what it looks like. 

“And then you go through an entire practice, you’re used to being the starting quarterback, which, in the NFL season, means you are taking every snap when the offense is up. So you get in a routine where it kind of goes by fast because you have all this stuff going on.

“Well, to see that focus last for the entire practice also speaks to the point that it’s not just about him, his selflessness, which is why he has a unique aura of leadership that people gravitate to because it’s genuine, authentic and real.”

Veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and rookie Skylar Thompson filled in as Tagovailoa recovered from his injury. But both quarterbacks also suffered injuries during their starts.

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