Dolphins’ Flores confirms Tua Tagovailoa to start after bye

NFL: New York Jets at Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed Wednesday that rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be under center when the team comes out of its bye.

Flores’ comments come one day after multiple media reports leaked the news that Tagovailoa would replace veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“He’s gotten more comfortable — accuracy, decision-making have been good in practice. … We’re comfortable and confident that he’ll be able to be competitive in those games when that time comes,” Flores said.

That time will come on Nov. 1, when the Dolphins (3-3) return from their bye to host the Los Angeles Rams. The Dolphins are in second place in the AFC East.

Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, replaced Fitzpatrick and completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards during the latter stages of the Dolphins’ 24-0 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

The Dolphins repeatedly have said that they were not going to rush the development of Tagovailoa, 22, who had been listed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback for each game this season.

Tagovailoa is coming off surgery for a hip injury he sustained while playing for Alabama last season.

Tagovailoa left the storied Crimson Tide program as No. 1 in school history in completion percentage (69.3 percent), touchdown passes in a season (43 in 2018) and career passing touchdowns (87). He threw for 7,442 yards in his 32 games with Alabama.

Fitzpatrick, 37, has completed 138 of 197 passes for 1,535 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL.

“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said. “He’s been productive. His leadership’s been great. It’s not an easy decision for me or us as an organization. But we felt like for the team now and moving forward, this is the move we need to make.”

–Field Level Media