According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins have announced rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the team’s starter against the Los Angeles Rams in week 8. The Dolphins (3-3) enter a week 7 bye second in the AFC East behind only the Buffalo Bills (4-2).
The announcement is surprising considering how well quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick performed in the first 6 weeks of the season. Fitzpatrick posted a 70.1 completion percentage (above perennial pro bowlers Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, and Deshaun Watson), 1,535 passing yards, and 12 total touchdowns. Fitzpatrick was simply one of the best quarterbacks in the league through 6 games.
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 29: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Miami Dolphins reacts with Patrick Laird #42 after carrying the ball for a touchdown during the third quarter of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
The move is outright stunning. The Dolphins are no joke and are only a game behind in the division. Their +47 point differential is by far the best in the division. The New England Patriots have the second-best point differential at -1. This doesn’t just seem like the wrong time to start a rookie quarterback with major health concerns, it is the wrong time. Yet we should expect the unexpected when it comes to head coach Brian Flores.
Flores is the type of coach who truly doesn’t hear the outside noise or at least he flat out doesn’t care what other people think about his decisions. For example, Flores signed veteran running back Jordan Howard to a two-year $9.75 million contract this offseason and has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks after carrying the rock only 18 times in the first four games of the season.
The league expected Tua to start for the Dolphins at some point this season. No one thought Tua would be inserted as the starter when the Dolphins have a real chance at winning the division. I think this is horrible timing, but Tua certainly is talented and has the capabilities to continue to carry the Dolphins to a solid season so long as he stays healthy.