The calls for Tua Tagovailoa to replace Ryan Fitzpatrick in Miami only took one week.
Really, the wait was maybe 30 in-game minutes. Tagovailoa, the fifth overall pick in April and a Heisman Trophy finalist at Alabama, sat on the bench while Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions in a loss to Cam Newton and the New England Patriots.
Miami fans understandbly want to see their first-round quarterback in action soon. But the Miami Dolphins shouldn’t panic and start Tagovailoa just yet.
Miami named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter over Tua Tagovailoa
How unsurprising was Miami head coach Brian Flores’ decision to start veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 1 over rookie Tua Tagovailoa? Flores even said, “this isn’t groundbreaking news,” when he made the announcement on September 7.
Flores wasn’t wrong. Anyone.who paid attention to the Dolphins’ plans knew Fitzpatrick, barring health or personal reasons, would start the season opener.
Fitzpatrick completed 62% of his passes last year for 3,529 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions in 15 games (13 starts). The journeyman quarterback led the Dolphins in rushing with 243 yards on 4.5 yards per carry.
Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled in the Dolphins’ opener
Although the Miami Dolphins were trendy picks to upset Cam Newton and the Patriots in New England, Ryan Fitzpatrick and friends returned to Florida with an 0-1 record.
Although Fitzpatrick completed 20 of his 30 passes for 191 yards, he threw three interceptions and fumbled once. Miami only scored 11 points in a 10-point loss.
Tua Tagovailoa didn’t play a snap and remained on the Dolphins’ bench all game. Tagovailoa stuck close to Fitzpatrick and Brian Flores during the game.
Miami shouldn’t bench Fitzpatrick for Tua Tagovailoa yet
Tua Tagovailoa didn’t play in Week 1 and, for the time being, he’s expected to stick on the bench.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores told reporters on Monday that Fitzpatrick would remain the starting quarterback.
The decision isn’t surprising, though some interpreted Flores’ comments immediately after the Week 1 loss as a sign Tagovailoa could start sooner rather than later.
According to The Palm Beach Post (Fla.), Flores addressed the possibility of starting Tagovailoa against the Bills in Week 2 during his postgame press conference.
“The entire team or the guys who are on the active roster have to be ready to go and Tua is part of that. There’s no specific to pulling someone. It’s no different than if a guy goes down. The next guy’s got to be ready. I think it’s – I understand the question to a degree, but I want everyone on our team to be ready to go.”
As exciting as the thought of Tua time in Miami is, the Dolphins don’t need to go down that path just yet.
If Week 1 is a sign of things to come for Fitzpatrick, then Miami could be starting Tagovailoa in October, or November. But the season is still young and Miami is in the second year of a rebuild that saw numerous mainstays be traded or leave in free agency.
Miami is in the midst of a process, one that could see them win seven games this year or one that could carry them to 10 in an AFC East Division which now lacks Tom Brady.
Rushing Tua Tagovailoa, who is only 10 months removed from a serious hip injury, into the starting lineup doesn’t make much sense right now. Part of the process is waiting, and Dolphins fans need to accept that fact.