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Tiki and Tierney: Could Tua Tagovailoa sitting out be valuable for the Dolphins?

The Miami Dolphins selected former Alabama signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft because they think of him as their quarterback of the future, but that doesn’t mean he will start immediately for Brian Flores and Co. In fact, it may not even mean that he has much of a chance to start over Ryan Fitzpatrick when the Dolphins travel to take on the New England Patriots in less than two weeks. Recently, Flores said that Tagovailoa has been technically cleared to play in the season opener, but that the severity of the injury he suffered last year is still very much a part of the conversation they are having internally. 

“That is definitely part of the conversation — for sure,” Flores said, via the Sun Sentinel. “We’re at 10 months. It was a pretty serious injury. He looks good, though. . . . He’s healthy. He’s moving around to his right and to his left. But yes, that’s part of the conversation.”

Once considered a favorite to go No. 1 overall, Tagovailoa took a serious hit that put his career in jeopardy. During a matchup against Mississippi State last year, Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip, which ended his junior season. It was a play that eventually caused his stock to drop, and some still wonder if he will ever be the same athletic quarterback that took Tuscaloosa by storm. 

Recently, Tagovailoa has put together some of his best practices as a Dolphin, and it’s something that has caused Flores to remind everyone that Miami is still indeed hosting a quarterback competition.

“We’re not saying somebody is one, two or three. It’s still a competition,” Flores said. “Obviously ‘Fitz has played well — they’ve all played well in spurts, and they’ve all made mistakes. We’ve still got a few days here. I think we like where all three of them are and we’ll continue to leave that as a competition moving forward.”

The Miami Herald’s local reporters claim that Tagovailoa has not done enough to inject himself into the starting conversation yet and that the Dolphins have not been tempted to let him work with the first-team offense as a whole. The fact that he has been cleared to play physically but the Dolphins are still hesitant to pull the trigger also points toward the fact that Fitzpatrick should start in Week 1, but it still remains to be seen how long he can hold the starting role before Flores opts to give Tagovailoa a shot. 


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