Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill connect deep on first play of game

USA TODAY Sports

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

After a quick play-action fake, Tua fired 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. The throw wasn’t to my liking. 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 that we’ve had with the Eagles and how hard our guys have been working. Not just this week but all training camp and OTAs. It’s really good that people finally can see the hard work that we’ve all been putting in together.”

Tagovailoa said that, when the play was called, there wasn’t a specific direction to pick 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 a specific coverage from their defense that regardless of who was on Tyreek or not, we wanted to take that shot, ” Tagovailoa said. “And so we got the first look 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 executive Jason Jenkins at the outset of the press conference (we’ll be posting something on that later this morning), said he was “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’ve invested a lot,” and “let’s just say it was cool to see them not blink and do what they love doing.”

McDaniel was asked whether the play was intended 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 there. You have to execute the play, and I was happy that it was a tough look, but Tua is making 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 right look that, they would execute it. That’s why they are who they are, and that’s why we all believe in them so much.”

You said it himself. The throw wasn’t ideal. But with a talent like Hill, it doesn’t have to be.

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