Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on November 29, 2023.
(A few minutes ago, Head Coach Mike McDaniel said that you are the angriest man on the planet when you throw an interception. Can you describe your emotions at that point and how you reel yourself in to get ready for the next series?) – "I would say any quarterback in the league would probably get down on themselves the way I get down on myself when it comes to turnovers. Especially when your defense is playing well and you turn the ball over, none of us try to do that. We don't ever want that to happen but we do know it is a part of the game that we play. Games are never won in the first, second or third quarter. I understand that. As we went into halftime, I knew that I just had to come out and just continue to play the football that I should be playing, to the standard that I expect for myself and that my teammates expect from me. We had to play those two quarters clean and there was still one mishap that we have to continue to clean up. But outside of that, you just have to continue to play. Games aren't won after you throw an interception in the first or second quarter."
(You've had a lot of success throwing to spots. You know where your receivers are going to be. Does that sometimes lead to those interceptions?) – "Not really. It's really just being on the same page with some of the guys. And then the one to Tyreek (Hill), that was just behind him. That was just not a good throw. That was a bad throw."
(Hard Knocks captured the moment where you came over to Head Coach Mike McDaniel after the interception and you were apologizing about the pick and he was like, 'You're good dude.' What does it mean to you in the moment when he's that supportive and has that kind of positive reinforcement after a turnover?) – "It means a lot. But that's just the nature of how I play the position. I take it upon myself every time. Regardless of whether Mike says it was his play-calling, he entrusts me to go out there with whatever play that we have, and if it's not the right coverage that we want that play in, to get us out of it and throw the ball away or do something. But not throw a pick-six in that situation. I appreciate the trust that he continues to have in me but that's something that I can't do."
(It was a big game for WR Jaylen Waddle on Friday. We haven't seen as many of the big games as we've seen from him in the past, this season. What have you seen from him behind the scenes as the season churns along?) – "I think he's done a really good job of sort of mitigating the outside noise. I do understand as a competitor, he wants to be in the mix with 'Reek' (Tyreek Hill) of continuing to make plays for the team, and sometimes he does have big games but it is sort of minimized because of the production that Tyreek gives our offense. But I think highly of Jaylen and he's going to continue to do things that we need for him to do to help us win games down the stretch. This past game, we saw that."
(Beyond the stats and beyond the numbers that people looking at the box score see, what does WR Jaylen Waddle do that doesn't show up on that sheet, that helps you guys win week in and week out?) – "Go watch what kind of player he is in the blocking game. Go watch what kind of player he is. Very physical. He's really – and I really say this as a testament to him obviously being the competitor that he is – he doesn't really come up to me and tells me like, 'Dude, throw me the ball.' He just understands when my opportunity is here, I'm going to make sure I make use of all of that. It's not something where we're trying to put Jaylen to the side. Jaylen is in the mix. It's just as we run plays for him, the coverages just don't allow us to throw for the right look for Jaylen. But he's continuing to stick it in there and I think he's done a great job."
(RB Raheem Mostert is second in the league in rushing and I believe you guys are 12th in rushing attempts after being 31st last season. How apparent or obvious is that to you as a quarterback?) – "Well, it's apparent. We're getting a lot of points down this stretch off of our runs, which definitely helps in trying to control the game where you can run on first down, second down, you can get third-and-manageable, and you can go from there. Then for us, to be able to sustain drives while running the ball and not always passing, it allows us to go off our (play) action game and things like that. But he's done a great job. It's also a testament to (Offensive Line Coach) Butch (Barry) and what he's done with our o-line in the run game and also in the pass game."
(Last year, this team was 8-3. Now you're 8-3. How much better is this team compared to last year? What gives you confidence that the ending to this season is going to be so much better?) – "Well, I don't think I can give you a spiel of what the future is going to look like for our team. Regardless of how we feel as players – we can feel good about our record, 8-3, going into this week and the home stretch. But none of what we feel is going to matter. We're going to have to prepare the same exact way we've prepared every other week as we go out there and play the Commanders. That's just the task at hand right now. We're going to have to beat those guys."
(Your reaction to the end of that Alabama/Auburn game?) – "That was crazy. Roll Tide."
(Any thoughts on this weekend?) – "Roll Tide." (laughter)
(Do you have any bets lined up with any Georgia people?) – "If Georgia wins, I've got to wear Georgia things. And if Alabama wins, those guys have to wear Alabama things. That's it." (laughter)
(How is the arm holding up?) – "It's good. I was told be my wife – she didn't see it but then she got text messages from people about what it looked like and they said it was disgusting while they were eating their leftover meals. (laughter) Sorry, I couldn't help you there. I didn't know it happened until I came to the sideline and then Mike White sort of pointed it out. I guess it was just from the adrenaline. It was a nice chunk that came off. If someone can find that piece, that's yours. (laughter)"
(Did you need any stitches?) – "Yeah, I got stitches. The way it looked as they were stitching it, it looked very complex for them to like put it back together. But it looks really good."
(Do you know how many stitches?) – "It was a long time I was like lying down. So I don't know."
(Do you know if you're going to get that retouched, the scheme of your tattoo?) – "I think it'll be a great story for Ace when he grows up. I saved three people in the ocean and I got bit by a shark… (laughter) 500-pound shark, I killed it."
(What is your approach to kind of knowing when in the game to take a risk while also remembering obviously it's important to protect the ball?) – "That's a great question. I think a lot of it has to do with situational ball, understanding what we're trying to get done, what we're trying to accomplish. But then it also stresses the importance of the ball itself. Regardless of what we're trying to do – if we're trying to push the ball down the field, if it's not the exact look, live to see another down. Throwing the ball away, checking it down, whatever it may be. As long as we're ending the drive with a kick, that's what we'd like to do and not turn the ball over. We should be better at that this upcoming week."
(What do you see on tape from your former Bama teammates in DL Daron Payne and DL Jonathan Allen?) – "Yeah, those guys make it tough up front with the things they do. They run their games but also what they do playing either the 2i or 3-technique. What they do, they jet up the field. How we block that, it'll come down to I think different technique that we'd have to use, especially the way that they rush. It's almost very similar to the Jets sort of front with their jet front, but outside of that, we'll see. They're really good."
(Where is your comfort level with this offensive line now? I know T Terron Armstead and T Kendall Lamm did not practice today. That would mean a new guy out at left tackle. Obviously guys have stepped up all season, but what does that look like for you as a quarterback?) – "I'm very comfortable. I understand within the protections where the meat of the protection is. I understand if someone early in the game is getting beat, okay, I'm going to trust that he's not going to do that the next time. So I'm going to trust that he's going to block it the way he should and if he doesn't, I have a clock in my head and I know where my checkdowns are going to be in case that does happen. But outside of that, I'm just playing within the structure of the offense, how we talk about what we want to do as far as our reads in the progression and then if someone does lose, what's our checkdown off of the first read. So things like that."
(The next time you guys take the field it'll be December football. What does that mean to you? What did you learn last year and what you learned in your career about December football?) – "December football? I learned how to fall. (laughter) This is where you make your money here. Games just like these games this past Sunday, that's what games are going to start to look like as we sort of travel deeper into December and then early into January. It's going to be closer games, going to be one-score games. It's going to come down to whoever gets the ball last and you've got to go win the ball game from there."
(Are you going to get a chance to meet up with your brother when you go up to the DMV?) – "Yeah, I'll get a chance to meet up with him."
(You kind of got the old fade your brother has.) – "My brother's hair is real long. Mine is not even close to his, but his is real long."
(What's the game plan there?) – "With my hair? I think I'm going to braid it up again. I'm just letting in grow out. I just love scratching my scalp. It feels good to scratch it. I'm telling you, if you've never had braids. (laughter)"
(If it's getting a little colder, are we going to see that Black Friday jacket again?) – "That was cool, huh? I had to cut that jacket, the Black Friday jacket, just because we didn't want it to touch – as I was taking it off – we didn't want it to touch my wound. But yeah, we'll definitely be seeing that again. Oh, I'm sorry I'm not talking about my jacket. I'm talking about my jersey. I thought that's what you were talking about. So the jacket, I didn't buy the jacket. The jacket was given to me as a gift on my birthday earlier this year. Shoutout to Rick Ross. That was his birthday present to me, so I appreciate it."