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.