Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on January 3, 2024.
(I'm assuming you know what's going on with WR Tyreek Hill in terms of his house being on fire. How difficult would that be for just any teammate, in your opinion?)– "Yeah, I think that would be difficult for not just my teammates, but anyone in general to be going through what Tyreek is going through right now. The main thing is his family is safe, his loved ones are good and he's good as well. I know it's a little cliché to say, but things like that, part of the house, some of those things can be replaceable. I'm just glad that a lot of his family members are safe."
(Were you able to talk to WR Tyreek Hill before he took off?) – "No, I wasn't able to talk to him. I didn't know that it happened until after practice. So we're thinking of them, hoping that everyone is good."
(With this game, obviously a high-stakes game, which is what you guys have been talking about playing in December and January. Does it get any bigger than this? What would you kind of compare this situation to based on what you played so far probably in college and the NFL?) – "I don't think I am making this any bigger than what it is. I understand there's seeding at stake if you will, but outside of that, I think if we continue to prepare the way we've prepared and play team football, in which I think is the most important thing for our team in this back half, then I think we'll be fine."
(There were a lot of people who said Monday when we talked to them that the offense began to press or the team began to press against the Ravens. How do you counteract that when obviously the game is getting out of hand?) – "Well, I think the most important thing in games like that is that we continue to fight regardless of what the scoreboard says. In regards to that, what you don't want to do is make something that's bad, worse. And compounding that with interceptions, the turnovers, you can't do that. I think that's what they meant by pressing and whatnot. You can't have everything back in one play. That's what I would say."
(How's your shoulder feeling? Is it limiting you in any way?) – "My shoulder is good, brother. It's all good. Thank you."
(We saw on Hard Knocks you were complaining about some inflammation maybe on your thumb? It was bruised.) – "They showed that?"
(Yeah. How quickly or how long did it take for those residuals on the thumb to sort of get out of the way for you?) – "Well, everyone has the nicks and bruises at this point of the season. So that's not an excuse for me. But that's what was going on."
(How much pride do you take getting to this point and playing an entire NFL season for the first time?) – "I take a lot of pride in it. But I also take pride in helping our team win. I look back at some of the losses we've had and wish I could've had some plays back. Wish we could've done some things different. I think those things stick in my brain more than where I'm at right now this season. Things that I could've done better to help our team."
(Does it ever get frustrating having the focus and attention on your health and durability? I think I remember last year you did an interview with Maria Taylor where you hated that the rule would always be attached to you. Despite all the work you did this offseason, does it kind of get frustrating the additional attention on your health considering everyone is nicked up this time of year?) – "Not really. I haven't heard anyone say much this year about concussions having to be something that I had last year. Everyone has their own ways of have their concussions, whether it was a hit or a hit from the ground and other different ways. But I would say no to that this year."
(What has your relationship been like with some of the other receivers not named WR Jaylen Waddle or WR Tyreek Hill and sort of building those up as those guys battle injuries during this season?) – "Yeah, I think my relationship has been good with those guys. I think those guys have also done a great job. This isn't an easy offense to work yourself into given the longevity of the calls and things you need to really hone-in to with the motions and hear if it's tagged for you or not. But this late into the season, I think they've done a good job."
(It's been a while since the last division title for this team. You guys can accomplish that on Sunday. Is that something that brings extra value to the game for you or to the team?)– "Yeah, I would say that's our goal short term. We want to win the division. But like I've said in many of these press conferences, in order for us to go where we want to go, we have to win every game. And it starts this week."
(You've seen this defense a lot of times. What's the first and foremost thing you think of when you think about going against the Bills defense?) – "They are very sound defensively. They're coached well. They know where their problems are. They hide their problems well. I mean, they are really good in that sense. They're really good also with their disguise and showing shell and then going one-high, and disguising that with their other coverages and their two-high deal. They present some good problems for us, and it's going to be a good challenge for us this Sunday."
(One scenario if you guys win is to face them back-to-back weeks, have them come right back to Hard Rock Stadium for the Wild Card Round. What would that be like to see the same team two weeks in a row?) – "It wouldn't matter what team we play. I think what matters to us is our style of football and how we play and how we execute."
(What would it mean to you personally to beat the Bills, win the division, to put yourself in position to make a Super Bowl run? To do that all on Sunday.) – "I think it would mean a lot to the team for us to do that. We're looking forward to the challenge this Sunday and we'll be ready."
(The last time you faced them, they got a lot of pressure on you with just a four-man rush. Obviously now you have a couple of injuries on the offensive line that has impacted the performance. Do you feel like this unit and especially considering all that they've gone through and all they've endured, will be ready for what the Bills will bring?) – "Yeah, I think our guys up front, I think our guys outside, offensively and defensively, will be able to handle what the Bills have. I say that because a lot of our guys, we have a lot of guys have been told they 'can't'. A lot of guys 'can't do this, can't do that.' I think they've heard enough and they want to do something about that."
(Head Coach Mike McDaniel talks a lot about adversity being an opportunity. Certainly with what WR Tyreek Hill is dealing with, he's dealing with some adversity. How do you guys, with all that swirling around this week, focus on what you have to do?) – "Well, it does get tough, especially when it comes to family. But you have to find your happy medium. Everyone is different with how they find that and how they go about their business. It's up to every individual with how they go about that process."
(Head Coach Mike McDaniel said that after the first Bills game in Week 4, you kind of changed the way you practiced and kind of simulate game situations more in practice. How do you think that has helped you up to this point?) – "Yeah, I think we have done that, but it was just to the extent of being deliberate with how we are offensively, in and out of the huddle, no one talking when I'm spitting out the play. Then after the play, then you can ask your question with what the formation is and whatnot. Then after the play is done, getting back to the huddle. What's the personnel? Things like that. We sort of try to simulate game-like situations where prior to that our operation just wasn't as good."
(Coach McDaniel was saying earlier today you arrive early, you leave late. You don't have office hours when it comes to taking time to take care of your body with the trainers, no matter how long the session lasts and also in preparing for the games, as long as it takes. How have you evolved in that area since your arrival in the NFL?) – "Yeah, I think a lot of it is trial and error for me throughout the years. What's worked, what hasn't worked. Then trying new things. And then also asking veterans what their process is. I think someone that has a really good process or routine weekly is Christian Wilkins. He has a really good process in how he goes about taking care of his body, taking care of the mental aspect of things, how he goes and does his thing. But just hearing everyone's process, it is different and tailored to what I do. But it's also cool that I can find what works for me and implement what needs to be implemented."
(How significant is it to you to start 17 regular season games this season?) – "It's a blessing that I get to play the entire season. I think anyone would say the same around the league that it's a blessing to make it this far as healthy as anyone can be right now leading up to this week. So, very blessed. Very fortunate. And I don't take this for granted."