So how did Tua's first Dolphins game go? Rookie earns praise for being in tune and inquisitive on the sidelines.

By Safid Deen, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

As Dolphins starter Ryan Fitzpatrick led only one scoring drive and threw three interceptions in Miami's season-opening loss to New England, rookie Tua Tagovailoa was on the Dolphins sideline observing and taking in as much as he could.

With his helmet fastened for most of the game, Tagovailoa listened intently to the play calls communicated to Fitzpatrick from offensive coordinator Chan Gailey in the booth, while standing not too far behind Dolphins coach Brian Flores and his assistants.

And when Fitzpatrick came off the field last Sunday, Tagovailoa sat next to him on the bench to watch replays on their tablets, gleaning from the feedback Fitzpatrick, Gailey and quarterbacks coach Robby Brown provided after each series.

Whether it was a change in a defensive front, a different formation in the secondary or a certain defender disrupting a play, Tagovailoa is grasping how quickly decisions must be made on an NFL field in preparation for his eventual debut.

"I've probably talked more on the bench than I normally would in between series, just talking to him, talking through what I was seeing, what they were doing," Fitzpatrick said of Tagovailoa on Wednesday.

"I thought we had a good back and forth, good rapport on the sidelines. He asked some really good questions, and it seemed like he saw the game pretty decent from the sideline in terms of some of the things we were talking about and some of the questions he was asking.


"So, it was good. It was a good start just to build on that communication now, just being another set of eyes for me to be able to trust. I thought he did a nice job."

On Monday Flores quickly stated after the opener that Fitzpatrick will remain as Miami's starting quarterback over Tagovailoa for the Dolphins' home opener against the Buffalo Bills at Hard Rock Stadium this Sunday.

But it's important to keep the proper perspective when discussing the start of Tagovailoa's career in Miami and when his debut could come.

It's been roughly two months since Tagovailoa and other Dolphins players were even allowed to visit the Dolphins' Davie facility and roughly a month since Miami began padded practices, where Tagovailoa began to take actual practice snaps.


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