After Ryan Fitzpatrick’s second multi-turnover performance of this young season in Miami’s Week 4 loss to the Seattle Seahawks (which dropped the Fins to 1-3), questions re-emerged about when the public could expect number five overall pick, QB Tua Tagovailoa, to take the reins from the journeyman Fitzpatrick.
The questions began when Tua was drafted in April, what with Tua’s injury and Fitzpatrick’s long history of erratic play. His beard-growing, fun-loving personality and free-flowing style of play once again won him the starting QB job though, his eighth different starting job, which is an NFL record.
Many in the media thought the time for the Harvard alum’s antics was up and the time for Tua was past due after Fitzpatrick threw a pair of interceptions during the 31-23 loss to Seattle in Week 4. Tua is seemingly at full health after that ghastly hip injury that sidelined him for 11 months, so why not play him? Flores explained his thought process when he spoke to the media after the game.
“[Tua]’s checked all the boxes from a medical standpoint,” Flores explained. “Look, the honest thing for me is if it was my kid, and he had a serious injury like that, I wouldn’t want his coach to throw him in there because of media pressure. That’s kind of how I approach this situation and really all situations. The players, essentially, they are my kids. So no one is going to pressure me into doing anything. When we feel like he’s ready to go, we’ll put him in.”
The team later announced on Tuesday that Fitzpatrick had officially been named the starter for Week 5’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, though the sentiment that Tua should be playing won’t go away until the Dolphins rip off the band-aid and throw him in there.
The other two signal-callers taken in the first round of this year’s draft, number one overall Joe Burrow by the Cincinnati Bengals and number six overall Justin Herbert (who was taken one pick after Miami took Tagovailoa), have already started multiple games each, with some very encouraging early returns despite both team’s posting records similar to Miami’s. Flores says he doesn’t bother worrying about what other teams are doing, but you’ve got to think the early success of Burrow and Herbert are on his mind.
Fitzpatrick started most of last season for the Dolphins, leading them to a 5-11 finish after many thought they wouldn’t win a game all year. He is beloved in the locker room and has earned the right to be called a captain, but the 37-year-old knows he’s not the long-term answer for this team under center, referring to himself as a ‘placeholder’ for Tagovailoa during the summer.
Flores continues to harp on Tagovailoa’s hip injury, but the Alabama product has been active with no injury designation for the past three games. The man they call ‘Fitz-magic’ will be the guy for the Fins in Week 5, but it seems like the Tua Tagovailoa era in Miami will be commencing very soon after. With Fitzpatrick as their man, the Dolphins are getting 9.5 points in their Week 5 matchup against the Niners on betting site Sports Interaction.