'We feel like he's ready': Tua Tagovailoa's improvements led to Dolphins starting QB job

By Safid Deen, Sun Sentinel on

Published in Football

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed Wednesday rookie Tua Tagovailoa will become the starting quarterback.

And the move is a far cry from Flores' stance on playing Tagovailoa earlier this month before the Dolphins rookie made his brief debut last Sunday.

Flores had said, because of Tagovailoa's injury history, he did not want to throw Tagovailoa into an NFL game due to any media or outside pressures. He later said Tagovailoa was not yet ready to start an NFL game.

Apparently a matter of two weeks proved to be a big difference for Tagovailoa, Flores and the Dolphins franchise, who formally announced Wednesday Tagovailoa would overtake 16-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick as Miami's starting quarterback.

"We feel like it's the best thing for the team," Flores said Wednesday of Tagovailoa, whose first start will come on Nov. 1 against the Los Angeles Rams at Hard Rock Stadium, following Miami's bye this week.

"We feel like through practices, walkthroughs and meetings, we feel like he's ready."


Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in Miami's 24-0 win over the New York Jets last Sunday, appearing in five plays at the end the game. He completed two passes for 9 yards, including a 7-yard strike to receiver Jakeem Grant for Miami's lone third-down conversion of the game, while handing off the football three times in the final 2:27 of the contest.

Tagovailoa received a rousing ovation from the announced crowd of 10,776 people in Hard Rock Stadium with Dolphins owner Steve Ross, CEO Tom Garfinkel and Hall of Famer Dan Marino watching from the sideline.

After an evaluation of the Jets game on Monday night, which saw Fitzpatrick throw three touchdowns, two interceptions and ended seven of 13 drives with a punt, the Dolphins decided it was time to hand the keys to the franchise over to Tagovailoa.

Flores expressed his confidence in Tagovailoa, as well as the other players on his team, for how he expects them to handle the change with the Dolphins hoping to improve their second-place standing in the AFC East with an eye toward a playoff spot this season.


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