Many are interested in whether Tua Tagovailoa will get the chance to play as a rookie. One former New England Patriot familiar with coach Brian Flores’ methods doesn’t think you should get your hopes up.
Rob Ninkovich, now an ESPN analyst, said on Monday’s edition of “Get Up!” that he does not foresee Flores risking Tagovailoa’s confidence by playing him in 2020.
“I was with Brian Flores for eight years,” Ninkovich said, via Nick Kosko of 247 Sports. “I would not start him right now, immediately. I was with B-Flo for eight years. He’s a very smart coach, a very smart man. He’s not going to try and push him into a position too quickly. If you are forced into a spot where potentially his hip isn’t 100 percent, you want him to be 100 percent healthy. The game of football is very mental. Confidence goes a long way. If you’re pushed out there too soon and you lose a little bit of that vital confidence, it can affect you. I would think Brian Flores has a great plan in place. He’s going to use a veteran quarterback, and hopefully Tua can learn from the veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick.”
Indications are that Fitzpatrick will open the season as Miami’s starting quarterback. We’ve heard that the Dolphins might be open to going to Tagovailoa sooner rather than later. Ninkovich seems to think this would be out of character for Flores, but circumstances change.
Ryan Fitzpatrick knows that he will eventually have to cede the Miami Dolphins starting quarterback job to Tua Tagovailoa, and he’s trying to make sure his apprentice is as ready as possible.
Fitzpatrick has been having quarterback Zoom meetings with Tagovailoa, and had nothing but praise for the Dolphins’ top draft pick.
“We’ve been going over some of that stuff, and my mind and the process and how I think through it, right or wrong, just to provide some perspective,” Fitzpatrick said, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “I’m excited for him to be here. I loved watching him play in college. I think he’s going to be an awesome addition to the team for a long time.”
This kind of mentoring relationship should be immensely helpful for the Dolphins. The 37-year-old Fitzpatrick knows he’s not a long term answer in Miami. He’s willing to go out of his way to ensure that the guy who might be that answer is as prepared as possible.
That said, Fitzpatrick has made it clear that he intends to hold on to his starting job for as long as possible.
The Miami Dolphins have the perfect bridge quarterback on their roster in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and his presence should allow them to be patient with Tua Tagovailoa. But if Tagovailoa shows he is ready for the big stage, the Dolphins are not going to force him to take a redshirt year.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald was told by a source that Fitzpatrick is likely to begin the 2020 season as the Dolphins’ starter, but the team is not opposed to playing Tagovailoa at some point. Fitzpatrick was impressive last season and has earned the trust of Miami’s coaching staff, but there will obviously be pressure to give Tagovailoa a shot if Fitzpatrick struggles at all.
As Jackson notes, the shortened offseason will work against Tagovailoa. The No. 5 overall pick has only been able to take part in virtual workouts, so there’s no way he will be as prepared as a rookie quarterback would be in a normal offseason.
Tagovailoa had hip surgery just six months ago, so that could also be a factor in whether or not the Dolphins choose to give him playing time. While he appears to be fully recovered, that is another risk to consider.
Fitzpatrick has every intention of fighting for the starting job, but he has also gone out of his way to mentor Tagovailoa already. He should be a great asset for the Dolphins while they try to groom their next franchise quarterback.
Ryan Fitzpatrick’s stay as the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback will not be lasting much longer, but he does not seem worried. In fact, Fitzpatrick is embracing his role.
Fitzpatrick was a guest on Eric Wood’s “What’s Next” podcast episode that was published on Monday. The two were teammates on the Buffalo Bills, and Fitzpatrick talked with Wood about how he plans to mentor Tagovailoa, who was drafted No. 5 overall by Miami in April.
Fitzpatrick expressed that he has told Tagovailoa he is available to provide advice and mentor him. He called himself Tua’s “biggest cheerleader.”
It’s unclear whether the Dolphins plan to have Tagovailoa start the season, but letting Fitzpatrick begin the year as the starter for a few games might make sense. Tagovailoa is coming off hip surgery and is at a disadvantage given the lack of offseason activity. Fitzpatrick started 15 games for the Dolphins last season and helped them win five games, so he might be good for continuity.
Given his attitude, he will make a perfect mentor for Tua.
The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award can be tough to predict. It’s based as much on opportunity as anything else; if you don’t play as a rookie, you’re obviously not going to excel. Add in the uncertainty of predicting how a first-year player will adapt to the league, and it can be a bit of a crapshoot.
Still, we can make some educated guesses based on opportunity and ability. With that in mind, here are our five early favorites for 2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
The top-selling jersey in the NFL since the NFL Draft? It isn’t new Tampa Bay Buccaneers players Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski, nor is it top pick Joe Burrow.
An NFL spokesman announced that Tua Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins jerseys are the top two sellers since the draft, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN. His aqua home uniform is the top seller over the last two weeks, while the road white version is No. 2.
Four different versions of Brady’s new Buccaneers uniforms occupy spots three through six, while Gronkowski’s jersey is seventh. Burrow’s black Bengals home uniform follows at No. 8.
If nothing else, the Dolphins have hit on a marketable star. Tagovailoa is clearly popular across the entire league, and he may not even be a year one starter. He’s also going to be a very wealthy young man.
It’s a done deal: Tua Tagovailoa has signed his rookie deal with the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa has officially signed, according to various reports, and gets a $19.6 million signing bonus that is fully guaranteed.
While a formality, everyone will be happy to see this sorted out. The rookie quarterback is expected to compete for the starting job in Miami with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
We already knew what jersey number Tagovailoa will wear, and it won’t be that of one of the most legendary quarterbacks in league history.
Tua Tagovailoa will be carving out his own path with the Miami Dolphins.
Tagovailoa wore jersey No. 13 while in college at Alabama. That was Dan Marino’s number with the Dolphins, which led many to wonder whether Tua would make a switch. We have learned that he will.
The Dolphins on Tuesday shared the uniform numbers of their new players. Tagovailoa will be wearing No. 1.
Marino is regarded as the last true franchise quarterback for the Dolphins, and his career ended after the 1999 season. His No. 13 was retired by the team. Miami has waited over two decades for another star quarterback. The pressure is already on Tua, so there was no reason for him to add even more pressure by matching the Hall of Famer’s number.
Marino made the Pro Bowl nine times, won an MVP, led the NFL in passing yards five times and touchdowns three times. If Tua can come anywhere close to matching that, the fans should be more than satisfied.
It appears that chatter about Tua Tagovailoa falling out of the top half of the NFL Draft may have been overblown.
The Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Chargers both went quarterback at No. 5 and 6 of the NFL Draft, with the Dolphins making Tagovailoa the selection. Chargers general manager Tom Telesco confirmed Tuesday that had Miami gone with Justin Herbert instead, Los Angeles would have happily selected Tagovailoa.
Instead, the Chargers get Herbert, and they’re quite happy about it. He’ll compete for the starting job going forward.
There was talk that Tagovailoa could drop out of the top 15 and really go into freefall if he made it past No. 6. Perhaps that was true, but based on this, it seems that there was never any real danger of the quarterback getting past the Chargers even if the Dolphins passed on him.
The Miami Dolphins are beginning a new era and have a franchise quarterback to build upon.
The Dolphins on Thursday selected Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the draft. They shook aside any questions about Tagovailoa’s medical history and recovery from hip surgery and decided he was their guy.
This outcome is not too surprising.
Miami went into the 2019 season effectively with the plan of tanking. They traded away Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to Houston, and dealt Minkah Fitzpatrick to Pittsburgh. They got destroyed in their first few games of season before turning things around late and winning five games. But it was clear the front office’s intention was to accumulate draft picks and build for a future in the AFC East when the Patriots would be weakened. Their plan worked out.
The Dolphins got the quarterback I believe they wanted all along, and they still had four more picks in the top 56 to do damage with. They also had a big offseason in free agency, adding Byron Jones and Kyle Van Noy to their defense. The Patriots, who have dominated the AFC East the past two decades, are moving on from Tom Brady.
Miami could not have timed their rebuild any better, and now they have a quarterback who has great upside. Was Tua the product of playing alongside talented offensive weapons and a good line? To some extent he was, but he’s an accurate and mobile quarterback who should put up big numbers in the NFL.