November 25, 2020

Why is Tua Tagovailoa starting? Dolphins bench Ryan Fitzpatrick for rookie QB sooner than expected

The Dolphins will start Tua Tagoaviloa coming out of their Week 7 bye, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in Week 6 against the Jets in mop-up duty, completing both his late passes for nine total yards. After being selected No. 3 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa has watched-and-learned from veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick while Tagovailoa finished his recovery from a 2019 dislocated hip. Now after a bye in Week 7 that’ll give Tagovailoa extra time to prepare, he’s slated to be the starting quarterback at home against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday in Week 8.

Dolphins’ bye week moved

Tagovailoa has never started an NFL game. He’s never gone through a game week planning to start an NFL game. So for the rookie, any extra time can only be beneficial.

Miami’s bye week was originally scheduled for Week 11. But due to shifting in the schedule caused by COVID-19, the Dolphins had their bye week moved up to Week 7. If Miami wanted to give Tagovailoa extra time to prepare as the starter, this was going to be the week to do it.

There had been some speculation that Tagovailoa could be given the role after the Dolphins played on Thursday Night Football in Week 3 and would have 10 days before playing again, but that didn’t come to pass. This time, the extra preparation time will be used to transition from Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa.

Tua Tagovailoa’s finally healthy

The Dolphins have had Tagovailoa active as a backup for much of the season, so their confidence in his recovery from a dislocated hip must’ve already been strong. But they certainly wouldn’t have used him in garbage time against the Jets if they had any lingering doubts.

Tagovailoa looked as healthy as a player can look on one possession, including completing his first NFL pass while rolling to his left, the same direction he rolled before suffering the injury that ended his college career at Alabama.

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