Tua Tagovailoa not focused on Justin Herbert but Chargers defense ahead of matchup

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Sunday’s meeting between the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers will be the first matchup of the season that sees a pair of first-round quarterbacks from the 2020 NFL Draft square off against each other.

Tua Tagovailoa will be making his third ever start for Miami while Justin Herbert will get his eighth start for the Chargers. Tagovailoa was the second quarterback selected in this spring’s NFL Draft. Herbert was the third as both went behind Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow. Tagovailoa was the fifth overall selection. Herbert was sixth.

But despite the proximity in the draft and the focus on the quarterback position, Tagovailoa isn’t viewing Sunday’s game as a matchup of Tagovailoa against Herbert. He’ll never be on the field at the same time as his counterpart from the Chargers.

I think that’s just something that’s going to have to be dealt with in the media,” Tagovailoa said, via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. “I have no animosity towards Justin Herbert and for me, it’s not even a competition between me and him. It’s a competition for myself to go out and see what I can do to help our team be successful against their defense.

“And I’m pretty sure it’s the same for Justin as well. But yeah, that’s kind of my thought with all of that.”

Herbert has gotten off to a roaring start for the Chargers even if the wins haven’t come to show for it just yet. He’s completing 67 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions through seven starts. Tagovailoa’s sample size is much smaller but he’s coming off a promising start with 248 yards passing and two touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals last week.

Throw in Burrow’s production for the Bengals and the 2020 quarterback class is off to an impressive start to their careers. Whether Tagovailoa agrees with the sentiment or not, Sunday’s meeting will be the first head-to-head barometer for two of the possible stars of the future from this year’s rookie crop.