According to reports, the Miami Dolphins will name Tua Tagovailoa as their starting quarterback after the bye week and the timing of this decision is quite surprising.
It’s no surprise that Tua Tagovailoa would one day take over the reins of the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback role, but the timing of the team’s decision to bench incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick should certainly turn some heads.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, after Tagovailoa made his brief NFL debut against the New York Jets last Sunday, the Dolphins have made the decision to name him as their starter for their Week 8 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Dolphins and Tagovailoa have been linked since the beginning of his final year in college with the Alabama Crimson Tide, with Brian Flores’ team landing the top young gunslinger fifth overall at this year’s draft – effectively signalling a new era for the franchise under center.
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Entering the 2020 season, the Dolphins made the unsurprising decision to name Fitzpatrick, a 38-year-old veteran in the league, their starting QB to allow their future star the time to continue his recovery from a severe hip injury suffered in college.
It was the perfect introduction to the professional level for the Hawaii native, who was able to learn the offense behind a guy that has seen so much since he first entered the league in 2005 – ensuring the young passer was not rushed into action.
Some fans debated whether or not we would see Tagovailoa take to the field in the 2020 season, but that happened towards the end of the Dolphins’ 24-0 blowout victory over the Jets on Sunday, with the 22-year-old throwing two completions for nine yards in his brief debut.
Prior to this, Fitzpatrick had been performing exceptionally well for Flores’ team and has the team second in the AFC East with a 3-3 record entering the bye week.
Over the past two games, Fitzpatrick has 40 completed passes (55 attempts) for 541 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions – excellent numbers that helped his team win back-to-back games against the Jets and San Francisco 49ers respectively.
Naming Tagovailoa as the starter after Fitzpatrick began to show his best performances is a surprising move by the team, who are not expected to reach the playoffs this season, but potentially had a shot with Fitzpatrick under center going forward.
The veteran has been the perfect mentor for Tagovailoa and understands what his role truly was entering this season, but with him performing so well it seems like a strange move with so much of the season still left to play.
There will still be concerns over Tagovailoa’s health and seeing him play ten games in the 2020 season will be a real test of his durability, especially when he comes up against the Rams and Aaron Donald, something that didn’t seem to be of any concern with Fitzpatrick at the helm.
It’s a gamble for the Miami Dolphins to put Tua Tagovailoa into this situation and the team may need to prepare itself for some difficult results as the rookie adjusts to the pace of the professional game, with the veteran Fitzpatrick now holding the clipboard and reduced to being the vocal supporter along the sidelines instead of continuing to lead the team in a positive way.