By Mike Cugno

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With the sound of the horn, Dolphins OTAs got officially underway Wednesday. And starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had a message for his doubters.

“I think my hip feels 10 times better than it did last year and the confidence level for myself – I feel really confident coming into this second year,” he said.

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Flanked by new weapons like former Alabama teammate Jaylen waddle, Tagovailoa is hoping to make big strides in 2021. He admitted to not having the play book down pat last season and that he wasn’t as comfortable checking out of plays he thought might fail.

“I didn’t actually know the playbook necessarily really, really good. And that’s on no one else’s fault but my fault. Our play calls were simple when I was in. I didn’t have alerts and checks,” he said. “Whereas now, feeling more comfortable I can maneuver my way through these things now.”

It’s evident Tagovailoa has put in the work to get better. From adding muscle in the offseason to choosing to stay in Miami with his receivers to work on timing. His teammates noticed. They also noticed the outside criticism.

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“He’s also dealt with you know people saying stupid uneducated stuff about him that they’re not right about,” said Fins tight end Mike Gesicki. “So he’s dealing with that and he’s continuing to work and continuing to come in here each and every day. And I’m happy that he’s our quarterback.”

Gesicki added, “We all believe in him, we all respect him, and we’re all excited about him.”

Tagovailoa will certainly get his chances to prove himself with an expanded 17 game schedule. Players compared the extra week to getting ready for a playoff run.

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“If you think – if you go into the playoffs, you’re getting those weeks anyway. So really just making sure you’re keeping your body healthy and you can’t veer off of your routine. The key to all this is routine,” said Dolphins defensive tackle Zach Sieler.