MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Terron Armstead made the Miami Dolphins a better offensive line the moment he signed his five-year, $87.5 million contract. And it only took him a few more months to make Tua Tagovailoa a better quarterback — or at least a more knowledgeable one.
Armstead, the 31-year-old three-time Pro Bowl left tackle, will on Sunday for the first time in his long career start an NFL game for a team not named the New Orleans Saints. And time will tell whether Tagovailoa can ever come close to being the player Armstead protected for so long — Drew Brees. Armstead can take solace in knowing he’s done his part in helping along his development.
Terron Armstead connects Tua Tagovailoa, Drew Brees
“Dude’s overly positive,” Tagovailoa explained Wednesday ahead of the Dolphins’ Week 1 showdown with the New England Patriots. “He’s been in the league for a long time. He would share things with me [about] Drew – when he played with Drew at the Saints – and then he also got us in contact, me and Drew.
“And he kind of said like, ‘Hey, little bro, this is Drew’s contact. I want you to hit him up and I know he’d want to help you or he’d love to help you.’ I thought that was a cool thing. Rookie and the vet, if you will.”
Tagovailoa didn’t divulge what tips Brees — one of the most accurate passers in NFL history and seven-time NFL passing leader — passed along during their chat. And Armstead elected not to pry.
But he did share with PFN during a chat Wednesday why he thought it important to connect the two quarterbacks.
“I’ve always expressed how I felt about Drew, him being the best quarterback of all time in my opinion,” Armstead said. “Just watching him up-close, his preparation, his knowledge of the game, his intensity, his intent.
“I feel like it’s a no-brainer to connect him with my current quarterback now, with Tua, who I’m protecting. We’re protecting, and we’re following behind to lead us wherever we’re going, to get that knowledge, that wisdom, that experience from someone who has held in the highest regard at that position. It was a no-brainer.”
Armstead, in addition to being really good at his job, is also a winner and a natural leader — two characteristics McDaniel and general manager Chris Grier prioritized when loading up on free agents this offseason.
But already the respect — and admiration — between the two 30-somethings (Armstead and McDaniel) is apparent. Take, for example, the high praise Armstead on Wednesday threw McDaniel’s way.
Armstead has only played for two head coaches in his NFL career: Sean Payton and Mike McDaniel. And while the former has 161 more regular and postseason wins than the latter, Armstead believes Payton and McDaniel have a lot in common.
“I see some similarities there,” he said. “Their intensity, their energy that they bring, real confident in their ability to call plays, execute plays, design plays, lead men. I can see a lot of Sean in Mike in his ability to lead men and get guys up to perform and play for him.”