Dolphins announce Tua Tagovailoa as the new starter

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It’s official. It’s Tua time.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores announced on Wednesday the rookie Tua Tagovaioloa will become the new starting quarterback. The fifth overall pick in the draft supplants veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had taken the team to a 3-3 record.

But this decision was made when the Dolphins made Tua the fifth overall pick in the draft. From that point forward, the only remaining question was the timing.

Should it have been from Week One? Maybe. Could it has taken even longer, absolutely. With the FitzMagic/FitzTragic toggle switch spending more time this year in the “M” position, the Dolphins could have decided to ride it out with Fitzpatrick.

To what end, however? A low-seed one-and-done best-case scenario in January? And then a push for Fitzpatrick to get another shot in 2021?

The better approach is to see what Tua has, and to get him ready for next season and beyond. Gone are the days of parking top-10 quarterbacks on the bench for a full year. (Sure, the Chiefs did it with Patrick Mahomes; some (e.g., me) still think they should have switched to Mahomes during an overall team funk in the middle of the 2017 season.)

Complicating matters for the Dolphins is the fact that the quarterbacks taken before and after him, Joe Burrow at No. 1 and Justin Herbert at No. 6, have played and played well. It’s time to see what Tua has, and whether he can be the player the Dolphins drafted him to be.

Given the decades that have transpired since Dan Marino retired, the Dolphins will soon find out whether the revolving door that has seen Jay Fiedler, Damon Huard, Ray Lucas, Brian Griese, A.J. Feeley, Sage Rosenfels, Daunte Culpepper, Joey Harrington, Cleo Lemon, Trent Green, John Beck, Chad Pennington, Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Moore, Ryan Tannehill, Jay Cutler, Brock Osweiler, Fitzpatrick, and Josh Rosen spin through it will stop for a while, or maybe longer, on Tua.

They thought they had the right guy with Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall pick in the 2012 draft. The fact that Tannehill has become, after leaving the team, one of the best quarterbacks in football surely has made owner Stephen Ross — who is believed to have had a hand in drafting Tua and who possibly had a hand in getting him on the field — even more determined to finally find a franchise quarterback who becomes a franchise quarterback with the Dolphins, not with some other team.

44 responses to “Dolphins announce Tua Tagovailoa as the new starter

  1. Never heard a qb on a hot streak benched for another however short the wining streak is. Unless you are Mitch Trubisky (sarcasm)

  2. I am in the camp that you shouldn’t throw a young QB on the field just because you draft him high. I think that there is merit to getting them “acclimated” to the NFL at least a few weeks. Get them some mop up duty and then throw them the keys. Ideally I would have preferred Tua to get a few more snaps before putting him out there as the starter but I think the schedule change moving the BYE around forced their hand somewhat. Fitzpatrick has done a great job for Miami and I’ve never seen anyone enjoy themselves more, but he is not the future and he understood that going into this year.

  3. Tua will have his time. I am not so sure this is it. Great kid!! More than enough talent to play and thrive in the NFL, deserves to have a chance to prove himself as a quality NFL QB. However, the injury (to me) is/was severe enough to warrant sitting out the whole season, learning, studying, getting accustomed, and adjusting, to the game at this level. What did they have to lose? I think of Dennis Pitta, fantastic TE , similar injury. Good luck Tua, Prove me wrong!!! Light em up!!! ROLL TIDE!!!!

  4. Reading the names of all those quarterbacks, with the exception of Chad Pennington, made me nauseous. I think if you inserted Pat White (2009 second round), I probably would have thrown up! The mediocrity of the Miami Dolphins falls on the feet of the decision making of the front office; coaches, GM’s and players. Even Ryan Tannehill is proving that he can be a very good quarterback if you surround him with talented players.

  5. Not sure why they couldn’t wait until later in the season. They are moving the ball and scoring.

  6. I just hope Fitz is not royally pissed off. We really need him as a coach on the bench to help Tua

  7. The Dolphins have shown this year that they’re not as far from contention as we may have thought. I think this is a good decision for the future. They’re putting him in a better position than Burrow to not get killed.

    Tannehill has been a very good over the last season, but I really have trouble saying he’s “one of the best quarterbacks in football” at this point. He may have got a raw deal in Miami, but he isn’t the second coming of Dan Marino.

  8. hinglemccringleberry says:
    October 21, 2020 at 9:59 am
    I just hope Fitz is not royally pissed off. We really need him as a coach on the bench to help Tua
    —–

    He won’t be. This was the plan from the start. Not only did Fitz know he was a placeholder until the team thought Tua was ready, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was part of the planning.

    This is why guys like Fitz wind up with 15-20 year careers. They know who they are and who they aren’t and accept changing roles.

  9. Hopefully the coaching staff knows what they’re doing and what they’re seeing of his development. Throwing these high pick QB’s on the field too soon can ruin a career before it starts.

  10. When Fitz was in Buffalo he was seen playing street ball with the kids in his neighborhood. He is THAT down to earth, and THAT good of a dude. He’s never complained about his role with the team, and has always been willing to mentor whoever was behind or ahead of him. No reason to think this time will be any different. In a day when there aren’t as many of them as we’d all like, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a good man.

  11. I don’t understand this. Fitz just smoked my niners and has them in a playoff position. This is profoundly disrespectful to that man. He’s done more to keep his job then plenty of starters (Baker, Darnold, Ryan, etc) yet they do him like this?
    For what? It’s impossible for him to tank so badly that you’ll get the first pick for that Clemson QB yet it’s unlikely that he wins more games than Fitz could.
    Bad decision.

  12. Fitz was balling again this year. Everyone knew this change was coming but I didn’t think it would happen when they are still in the playoff hunt.

  13. is it just me or is this rosen 2.0? A talented qb with potential that is thrown in before they are supposed to, behind a terrible oline, without offensive weapons or defensive help. Although I think Brian Flores is a great coach I am worried about Tua.

  14. Miami should have provided Tannehill with more protection & he would have done well. Fitzpatrick is getting the shaft because he is doing well.
    They could have sat Tua a bit longer.

  15. “Complicating matters for the Dolphins is the fact that the quarterbacks taken before and after him, Joe Burrow at No. 1 and Justin Herbert at No. 6, have played and played well. It’s time to see what Tua has, and whether he can be the player the Dolphins drafted him to be.”
    ____________

    This is the kind of thinking that gets teams into trouble. What other teams are doing is immaterial. You need to follow whatever timetable works for YOU. Back when offenses were way simpler than today it was general practice to have the guy sit for a year or two. Now, everybody wants the young guys in there immediately. It’s bizarre double-speak because on the one hand you constantly hear how complicated the offenses are and how it takes lots of time and experience to master them yet then they immediately expect rookies to instantly succeed. Burrow might well be the exception but I would not be surprised at all if Herbert regressed either later this season or next year as defenses got a better book on his tendancies.

  16. A big reason QBs no longer have to sit is the evolution of college offenses. Back in the day college football was built on running the ball. Now they’re running NFLesque schemes so these guys have experience in complex offenses. The ones who make it in the NFL are the ones who can get through the progressions fast. The one read guys are doomed. The right choice is to start Tua and find out now if he’s going to be the next Manziel or not.

  17. When Tua came out to the field by himself after the game, he might have already heard from the coaches that he’s getting the key to the car. That is, he’s ready.

  18. Tua is going to shock some people i believe. This kid is super talented and has that it factor and QB intelligence.
    As much as I love Fitz and do not agree with this move, I still think Tua is going to light it up and put Miami in contention.

  19. I am curious which of the commenters above watched the Dolphins-Jets game Sunday? Miami should’ve won 48-0 not 24-0.

    You talk about hot streaks as if you’ve been watching Fitzpatrick struggle to get velocity on his throws over 15 yards. His arm is shot, his 2-3 yards TD passes aren’t going to cut it when we play real teams like KC.

    A depleted SF defense, Jax and NYJ weren’t formidable opponents.

    Tua was killing it in practice and all the players could see the difference, how would one explain to them why you stick with the QB who constantly throws passes behind his WRs when you have an ultra-accurate QB on the roster.

    Marino waiter 6 games, Tua waited 6 games. Miami looked at Buffalo and said to themselves we can win this dictions now.

    Josh Allen will no longer be the media darling of the AFCE. Allen wishes he had Tua’s accuracy.

  20. A few things to consider here:

    1) Burrow started because they traded their incumbent starter. Herbert started because their starter was injured. Starting Tua is a completely elective choice, not a necessary one.

    2) Miami is tied for the 4th-most sacks allowed so far this season, with their OL ranked 22nd for pass protection and 24th for run blocking.

    This may turn out great for Miami, but I think they’re rushing it. They’re still putting their team together, their pass and run protection is weak, and they have a QB coming off a significant injury of the type where both running from pressure and getting sacked could be disastrous.

    Add that up and combine with having a veteran QB who is doing great, and I think you have a luxury of time the team should take advantage of.

  21. By now Flores and staff know Tua is ready to learn from real games and not fail. If they chose wisely then the right move is get ready for next year’s playoff run. Ross is not getting any younger.

  22. empathictrack15 says:
    October 21, 2020 at 10:31 am
    is it just me or is this rosen 2.0? A talented qb with potential that is thrown in before they are supposed to, behind a terrible oline, without offensive weapons or defensive help. Although I think Brian Flores is a great coach I am worried about Tua.

    ————————-

    It’s just you. LOL how do you compare him to Rosen? And Miami’s OL is anything but terrible.

    All 31 franchises in the NFL would replace their starting 5 with ours. 3 talented rookies and 3 solid vets.

  23. Saying Fitz is hot now is not accurate. How hot can you be at 3-3 1st of all and 2 interceptions and no 1st downs made on 3rd down all day against the Jets is not exactly on fire hot. IMO, Tua is ready to take this team to a new level now. If he fails its better to find out now while you still have 2 of the top 10 draft picks for next year.

  24. @cjmcfootball ———-

    Except Tannehill is playing like a top 5 QB this year and played very well last year.

  25. Arctic Hawk says:
    October 21, 2020 at 10:45 am
    Miami should have provided Tannehill with more protection & he would have done well. Fitzpatrick is getting the shaft because he is doing well.
    They could have sat Tua a bit longer.

    ———————-

    Dolphins fans were getting the shaft having to watch Fitzpatrick struggle to throw the ball. You see 24-0 and assume he was “ballin”, he wasn’t, Miami should’ve scored double that point total. Too many timing passes ended behind the targets. Someone was going to get concusses if that kept up. Everyone could see in practice how much better Tua was.

    I think the haters just don’t want to see another franchise take off. It’s coming folks. The Miami Dolphins are loaded with talent and draft picks.

  26. Not to gloat, but this is when I predicted Tua would take over when Fitzpatrick was named the starter and all the Fitzmagic fans were thinking otherwise. Although I was wrong about the record, I thought they’d be 2-4.

  27. IMO the move may be to test does he have the body and stamina to exist is the NFL. Lets say he goes down with big injury. Miami then has to decide before the draft to we keep him and invest more time or cut our loses that he physically cant make it and get an early pick in the draft. Smart move if that is what they are thinking

  28. All opinions, concerns and head-scratching is warranted but please stop saying the Dolphins O-line is terrible. That’s an old narrative. They are by no means elite but we are building something. They have given up 10 sacks this year… that’s tied for 11th while missing our young stud LT. He’s coming back. Go Dolphins.

  29. Ryan Fitzpatrick was never in competition with Tua Tagavailoa. He is and always was the placeholder. It’s not about Fitzpatrick blowing it, it was about waiting for Tua to be ready, and now Ryan can go back to the bench and help Tua along.

  30. Burrow and Herbert are playing well but they’re a combined 1-8-1 as starters. If you want to start Tua, fine but don’t use the other rookies as the reason why you should.

  31. Hopefully this was a coaching decision made based on what they see in practice and not the owner pushing his new draft pick onto the field. That can fracture a team.

  32. I will first say I think after the Rams or Cards game would have been my earliest to make the switch. A couple of easier games before the tough late stretch. I think Fitz is perfect for this team.
    Having said that why would there be any objections if Tua is healthy? Outside shot at the playoffs? – Sure, but do you think they can beat any of the playoff teams right now? Also, it isn’t as if Fitz is lighting it up as people are saying. I am sure someone has the splits in stats between the NYJ & Jax games vs the rest of the schedule for Fitz. The record split is 2-0 vs 1-3. I am sure you will find a big disparity in all the QB measurables too.

    Another thought process that may be in play is they need to see if #1 has it. Because if they have any doubts they still have decent draft capital to move up next year if need be to take Lawrence. That would look like a mess considering what they did for Rosen, but that could be what they are thinking.

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