Read the full transcript from Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa's press conference on October 4, 2023.
(After the game, you mentioned communication issues. Just wondering how you go about fixing that throughout the week leading up to the next game?) – "Yeah, I think communication issues start from the beginning of the week. It starts with today – Wednesday. I think we had a pretty good day. There's been a lot of things that have been installed. We've got to get in and out of the huddle to get the looks that we want to present the motions that we want and things like that. So I think for the most part today, it's been a lot better."
(What have you seen from your run game especially over the past two weeks?) – "It's been really good for us. That's what I would say. It's been helpful to offset some of the actions that we do in the pass game and then off of those run actions we can marry some of the ways we motion and do our action fakes to some of the pass plays that we have in, so I think it's been really, really good."
(What's unique about RB De'Von Achane?) – "Oh my gosh, I mean, you guys see it. I think the entire NFL can see it. Dude's a special player. He understands ball like the back of his hand and I think that is one of the coolest characteristics that I can say about someone like him, is he's very soft-spoken, but he's very smart, very intellectual when it comes to the X's and O's of understanding where to line up, where he needs to be in the timing of the play and things like that. I think that's something that needs to be said because it's hard, especially being in this offense. So he's done a tremendous job and I know he'll continue to work hard and continue to do all he can to help us try to win games.'
(What does that mean for you when you know you've got these proven guys coming into the season but then a guy like RB De'Von Achane just shine. Like for you, that just must be awesome?) – "I think for everyone on our team, it's really awesome to see a young guy come in and the way he goes about his business every single day, it speaks a lot to his character and how seriously he takes this. He's gained a lot of respect from the guys in the locker room. Needless to say, the entire league in on watch as well with him. He's a tremendous, tremendous athlete and a great person."
(How would you describe your style of leadership and how has that developed from the time that you first started playing to now? Like have you become more vocal over time?) – "Yeah, I definitely have become more vocal. I think when I came into the league during Covid, it was a little hard for me to find myself leading the way I wanted to lead because of the hierarchy with how I was told I should have led. It just wasn't the way I felt comfortable with and so I didn't lead in that sense; I continued to lead the way I felt was necessary in being the true character to myself. And so having Mike (McDaniel) and the new coaching staff come in has definitely helped allow me to be myself. And with me being able to be myself, that's just how I became to be more vocal, feeling comfortable talking to guys certain ways and it's also how you approach guys in this league. Some people respond better when you yell at them. Some respond better if you just pull them to the side and have a man-to-man conversation. And there's just different ways that you go about that and I would say that's sort of my leadership."
(It seems like you're more about positive reinforcement than negative. I know leaders lead in different ways depending on wins, losses, etc. But is it more about uplifting or are there sometimes times that you need to get in someone's face and say, "look, we need something else, we need something better?") – "Yeah, it's definitely both. You always want to try to uplift the guys. The guys in that locker room, everyone's hard on themselves already. It's a dog-eat-dog world. Those guys know that everyone has their job at stake every week and so everyone already has that negative thought, 'if I don't do this, if I don't do that.' So for sure I want to positively reinforce things when I'm explaining or having to talk to them. And then there's just times where it's like 'okay, we've, talked about this multiple times. Like, we can't be doing that.' And that's the bottom line. And I think having a good relationship with everyone in locker room, there's a good understanding of 'okay, like if said person comes and tells me this, I know it's coming from a good place because he never does this. So when he does this, I know something's up.'"
(Coming off the obviously disappointing result in Buffalo and coming back to work this week, I just wanted to get your perspective on what you've seen in the locker room in terms of how guys have approached coming off a disappointing loss like that?) – "Yeah, I think guys are approaching it the same way this week. I don't think anyone's pushing any harder to do more or to do anything out of the ordinary. Guys are coming into work and they're working and working on their craft. But I would say for us, there's a lot of things that are going on that we – in order for us to be able to play together, we all got to know our own assignments. So it's about knowing our assignments and being able to trust the guy behind us and trusting that they're going to know and understand where to be and what to do."
(In regards to the successful third-down scramble in the previous game, I'm curious, what are some of the things that are being calculated in your head as you decide to go for it?) – "There are a lot of times throughout the week where we talk situationally what we want to do if it was this sort of game or if it was that sort of game. Things we want to run for our two-point conversions. We talk about a lot of fourth down. If the game is going this way, this is the play we're going to run on fourth down. If the game is going this way, this is the play we want to run. So it's really about figuring out the players we want to get the ball to and the timing of the play and things like that."
(I know after struggles in Buffalo it might be easy to focus on all the negative things. But it seems like one of the things that sticks out to Head Coach Mike McDaniel is that he'll kind of point out the things that you can build on as well. Was there anything that you saw from that game that made you say, that was actually pretty good, and we can continue to build on that?)– "Yeah. There's always good, there's always bad when you're watching the film. Nothing is ever as good as it seems, nothing's ever as bad as it seems. We've come in after the game, we watched the film, we got what we needed to get corrected and today was our first day to be able to go out and practice against really a new look. The last game, I mean, it's done. You learn, you live and you continue to move forward from that."
(You mentioned it's a new look. I asked Head Coach Mike McDaniel about that. The Giants don't do what they Buffalo Bills do. They play a lot of single-high, a lot of cover zero. That might open up opportunities to get the ball to WR Jaylen Waddle and WR Tyreek Hill. Do you expect them to kind of sit in those looks?)– "Knowing that those two guys, as well as our backs – those guys are really our backbone of the team – we've just got to stay connected and when there's space, space is our friend. So we try to use that to our advantage. If they pressure, we've got to have answers quick, get the ball out quick, and allow our guys and our playmakers to make plays."
(After last game, it seemed like you were sending a message with the 'humbling experience', which you said was needed for some. Just wondering what you were seeing in guys and how you think they responded after that?) – "You can see being in a locker room, some people, some guys take things with a grain of salt, and some don't. Sometimes something like that is well-needed. Sometimes things like that are needed in losses, especially in the way that we lost, to get our guys closer together, to get guys doing things maybe they've never done or maybe they never had to do. But I do know one thing, that some guys are being asked to do more than others and I think it's a good challenge for some that are willing to take up that challenge and hopefully do something with it on Sunday."
(Isn't that part of the leadership thing you're talking about though? When you're speaking about that, you're including yourself in that.) – "Of course."
(But some don't. I mean, that's just the case. Then that doesn't go over so well in a locker room. But that's something you've got. That's a learned trait isn't it, to understand how to motivate others while including yourself in the conversation?) – "I would say yes, it could be a learned trait. I would say for me, it's just been through experiences of what I've liked more as far as how I was coached, being coached growing up. Then how I would see friends react to some of the coaching and how they would respond better to certain things. So I would say to that, it was just something that was trial and error. 'Try to yell here. Okay, yelling doesn't work. Then try this. Okay, that works.' It's things like that and then as you continue to grow and mature and then you go to become who you are, who you're supposed to be, then I think you start to figure out what works best for you and what your true self is."