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Dolphins OC Chan Gailey: Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa looks back to Alabama form

Any lingering questions about Tua Tagovailoa's health or transition to the NFL were washed away amid Sunday's flurry of big plays and on-the-money throws.

Dolphins offensive coordinator Chan Gailey thought the rookie quarterback looked like he was back to his Alabama form.

"It looks like it to me," Gailey said Tuesday, via the Palm Beach Post. "I can't see a real difference. So physically is the one thing that you had the concern about and I think he kind of relieved all our thoughts about that the other night."

Tua was a consensus top draft pick before suffering a hip injury that wiped out the end of his star-run with the Crimson Tide. Despite the injury, the Dolphins didn't hesitate to make him the No. 5 overall selection.

The first-round pick showed he was worth the investment during Sunday's tilt, dicing up the Arizona Cardinals defense with a bevy of darts over the middle and perfect touch passes down the sideline. Tua entered the NFL known for his innate accuracy and he showed it off in Week 9, threading the needle on several throws that other QBs -- particularly rookies -- might never attempt.

"He has a tremendous feel for the game," Gailey said. "That allows him to see some things, do some things, throw the ball in some spots that other people might not do. I think he just went out and played the game. He didn't care who was there or who wasn't there. He was playing the game."

Last weekend's showcase offered Tua's tremendous upside, which should have South Beach beaming.

The rookie QB hasn't thrown an interception in his first 52 attempts as an NFL QB. He's been particularly effective against four-man pressures, completing 72.7 percent of his passes with 8.2 yards per attempt, a 2-0 TD-INT ratio and a 117.1 passer rating when defenses don't blitz. That is to say, defenses thus far aren't confusing Tagovailoa by dropping into coverage.

Sunday, the Dolphins take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who blitz at the lowest rate in the NFL (13.8 percent), mainly due to a front four that can wreak havoc without added pressure.

"The next strides are he's got to see and understand defenses more and more," Gailey said. "And that just comes from doing it. We worked against the same defense all offseason. So you didn't have any preseason games to say OK this is what another team does. This is what another team does. He's getting that on the fly."

Added Gailey: "Understanding defenses. What they're trying to do. How they're trying to attack you. What their strengths are. Those type of things will be the strides I hope he makes here in the next few weeks."

Sunday's matchup between the Dolphins and Chargers pits Tua against Justin Herbert, who has been equally impressive in his seven career starts.

The Week 10 bout could be an appetizer to a budding AFC QB rivalry that could span most of the next decade.

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