Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s first start for the Dolphins didn’t set the world on fire.
The Dolphins kept things conservative on offense early, dialed things back even further once they went up 28-7 on the Rams and wound up 28-17 winners in Tagovailoa’s debut. Head coach Brian Flores said there are “a lot of things we can get fixed” after Tagovailoa went 12-of-23 for 93 yards, a touchdown and a lost fumble on a sack.
Flores said he hopes to see improvement against the Cardinals this week and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey explained Tuesday why he thinks Flores will get what he wants. He said “the game starts to slow down” for young quarterbacks when they have more experience under their belts and that’s the best thing Tagovailoa could take from his debut.
“He needs reps. He’s just gotta keep working timing with these guys and keep getting reps,” Gailey said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Those reps that he got the other day were invaluable and I think he’ll start to get better in bigger jumps as we go forward because the more he sees, the more he understands, the more feel he gets with the receivers, I think he’ll get better and better. He just needs to play. He’s got a lot of talent. I’m anxious to see what steps he’s going to take this week.”
The Dolphins forced four turnovers and scored touchdowns on defense and special teams against the Rams, so they didn’t have to ask the rookie for much in his debut. That’s unlikely to be the case every week and Gailey won’t be the only person in the organization anxious to see what happens when they put more on his shoulders.