Tua Tagovailoa’s streak without an interception in team drills ended Wednesday — after six consecutive practices — but that doesn’t tarnish what has been a very good training camp for the second-year Dolphins quarterback.
He threw two more touchdowns in red-zone drills Wednesday — giving him six TDs and no interceptions in the past two red-zone sessions this week — and made a nice throw to tight end Hunter Long on a bootleg.
His only big mishap this week came late in Wednesday’s practice, when Jevon Holland jumped in front of Albert Wilson to intercept the pass. Holland, incidentally, was spending his first day as the first-team free safety.
Before that, Tagovailoa hadn’t thrown an interception in 11-on-11 work since throwing two on the first day of training camp on July 28.
The biggest improvement? His deep ball, which has been consistently accurate since camp started.
Of the 29 passes thrown by Tagovailoa that traveled at least 20 yards in the air last season, Tagovailoa completed 10 for 259 yards and two touchdowns and one interception. But three of those 29 were dropped.
“He definitely developed more confidence in the deep ball,” receiver Jakeem Grant. “He’s giving guys like me, Albert [Wilson], Jaylen [Waddle]” chances to “to run out there and get them.”
Tagovailoa’s assessment of his deep throws was simple: “If a guy’s open, I’m going to throw it to him. It’s no different than the time I had at Alabama.”
And he’s not getting excited about his strong start to camp: “I’m not looking at the things I do right, but most of the things I don’t do right. It will keep coming back to that.”
But he admits he’s “very comfortable” with this offense. And “being able to get with the guys throughout the offseason has helped me tremendously.”
Tagovailoa and first-round receiver Jaylen Waddle have connected on a bunch of plays in camp — short, intermediate and deep — including a 24-yarder on Wednesday.
How much is the fact they played together at Alabama helping their chemistry?
“It’s not necessarily always knowing where he’s going to be but us really talking through it in the film room and understanding what we’ve seen previously from the defense and we work off that,” Tagovailoa said.
Tagovailoa sometimes goes into defensive meeting rooms to quiz teammates and pick their brain.
“For me, it’s being able to see their alignment and positioning,” he said. “Why do they align this way? It gives me an edge to know where to go with the ball a lot quicker. It speeds up my process. Being able to ask [defensive back Jason McCourty] some questions and see how they disguise things.”
.Even though receiver Will Fuller has been out since the second day of camp with an injury, Tagovailoa indicated he’s not worried about their chemistry.
“There’s been a couple days this offseason, throughout the month of July, I’ve been able to get with Will a couple times,” Tagovailoa said.
THIS AND THAT
Besides Fuller, also missing from practice were linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (walked off with a slight limp on Tuesday), cornerback Xavien Howard (ankle); linebacker Jaelan Phillips (lower body); receiver Preston Williams (foot and COVID-19 list), linebacker Elandon Roberts (knee); running back Salvon Ahmed (lower body bruise) and running back Malcolm Brown (reason for absence not revealed).
Besides Williams, tight ends Mike Gesicki, Cethan Carter and Adam Shaheen remain on the COVID-19 list.
Receiver DeVante Parker returned to practice and caught a 15-yard pass from Tagovailoa but wasn’t involved much in team drills after that.
▪ McCourty, who had been the first-team free safety for the first six practices, moved to cornerback on Wednesday and started opposite Byron Jones. McCourty has spent most of his NFL career at cornerback.
“Corner is a lot more stress, having to cover some of these young guys,” McCourty said afterward. “Whatever position they want me to play I will execute to the best of my ability.”
▪ Receiver Isaiah Ford had two deep receptions from Jacoby Brissett, including a beautiful one in which he dove and extended his arms to make the catch.
▪ Jesse Davis continues to sit out some team drills; rookie seventh-round pick Larnel Coleman replaced him as first-team right tackle during the second half of practice. Liam Eichenberg remained the first team left guard for the fourth consecutive practice.
Here’s my Wednesday look at what Dolphins aren’t owed any more guaranteed money and how it could affect roster decisions.