Miami Dolphins HC casts doubt on Tua Tagovailoa being ready to start NFL season

By Matt Johnson
Feb 25, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (QB17) speaks to the media during the 2020 NFL Combine in the Indianapolis Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins know they landed a special quarterback with Tua Tagovailoa, even if he came with injury risk. While the organization is elated to have him, we might not see the rookie quarterback on the field early in the 2020 NFL season.

Brian Flores: “Hard to say” if Tua Tagovailoa ready to start early this season

Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is never one to sugarcoat a situation. While he might be counting down the days until Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, starts, he understands the reality of the situation.

The medical updates from Tagovailoa’s recovery from hip surgery are positive, but a sharp workout is very different from being ready to start in the NFL. That’s why Flores isn’t ready to commit to the rookie starting right out of the gate, especially without seeing him in person.

“Yes, he was examined, but again, ‘examined’ and then doing a two-hour practice and playing in a game — there’s a process to all those things,” Flores said, via the Palm Beach Post. “So, as far as whether or not he can or can’t do something, it would be hard to say.”

Unfortunately for Tagovailoa, the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the offseason schedule has hurt his chances. It wiped out rookie workouts and minicamp, leaving training camp and one or two preseason games as the only chance to prove himself.

While his recovery might be miraculous, the safer option for the Dolphins is to start Ryan Fitzpatrick. He excelled last season despite playing on one of the NFL’s worst teams. Given his experience and familiarity with this offense, it’s no surprise he is expected to start in Week 1.

Once Flores sees Tagovailoa on the practice field, consistently making it through workouts without any issue, things can change. But Miami’s head coach recognizes this team is thinking about the future and they won’t play Tagovailoa until the time is right.