Tua Tagovialoa is the future of this franchise but veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is making the decision to start the rookie more complicated.
Everybody knew that Tua Tagovailoa was drafted to be the next great quarterback in Miami Dolphins history. The question still remains, however, as to when the Tagovailoa era will begin in South Florida.
I had always been under the impression that Miami would start veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick early this season and, if the team struggled, they would turn the reins over to the talented rookie. So far, however, Fitzpatrick has been playing some good, quality football, making it harder for Brian Flores and this coaching staff to pull him from the starting job.
Its still early, but Fitzpatrick has put together a pretty solid stat line through three games. He has completed 71.1% of his passes for 690 yards, 4 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, all 3 of which came against the New England Patriots in week 1 of the season (all stats courtesy of ESPN.com). These numbers aren’t screaming “Pro-Bowl,” but they are good enough to keep Fitzpatrick in the game and Tagovailoa on the bench, at least for the time being.
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Flores finds himself in a tricky situation with his quarterback situation. The floor for the 2020 Miami Dolphins team is higher with Ryan Fitzpatrick at this point in the season since we are still unsure of how Tagovailoa will adjust to the NFL game. The ceiling, however, is much higher wth Tagovailoa, who showed throughout his collegiate career that he can not only get the job done, but get it done well.
The Dolphins will need to consider a couple of factors before bringing Tagovailoa into the conversation. First, the coaching staff needs to feel confident in the growth of the offensive line. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been hit a lot this season and he doesn’t have the same injury concerns as Tagovailoa. Flores will need to feel confident in his young lineman that they can protect their shiny new quarterback.
They also should feel confident in the supporting cast that they have. Tagovailoa will need a quality running and a fully healthy DeVante Parker to make the transition easier for him. The running game has looked somewhat average this season and DeVante is playing, but he clearly isn’t at full speed.
The final piece of the puzzle is Fitzpatrick. If he continues to play the way he has been over the last two games, it, unfortunately, doesn’t make sense to bench him. At the end of the day, the goal of a football team is to win games, and if Fitzpatrick is giving this team the best chance to do that, they need to ride that momentum.
With that being said, if he starts to struggle and this team ends up dropping a few games in a row with the offense really starting to struggle, Flores will have to make the call to bring Tagovailoa in to see what he can do.
For now, Fitzpatrick has done enough to keep his starting job for the foreseeable future and “Tua-Time” in Miami will have to be put off a bit longer.