The Miami Dolphins will have one of the most interesting training camp battles going on this summer between veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and rookie Tua Tagovailoa. So who will start?
Ryan Fitzpatrick likely will be Week 1 starter for Dolphins
According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, there is a “great likelihood” that the Dolphins will open the season with Fitzpatrick under center.
It makes sense. Without any real offseason at all aside from virtual work, Tagovailoa — like every rookie in the NFL this year — is starting his first season behind the 8-ball. Fitzpatrick, meanwhile, is a tenured veteran who has experience playing for head coach Brian Flores and developed nice chemistry last year with receiver DeVante Parker.
Starting 13 games for Miami last season, the veteran had some magical moments that led to the “FitzMagic” trend on social media and sparked the Dolphins offense in a big way. All told, Fitzpatrick passed for 3,529 yards while completing 62% of his passes for 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Dolphins aren’t planning on redshirting Tua Tagovailoa
Despite the expectation that Fitzpatrick will open the season as the Week 1 starter, Tagovailoa has a real shot to play a lot in 2020.
According to Jackson, the Dolphins are “open-minded” about the rookie and “aren’t going into the season with a plan to definitely redshirt Tua, barring some health setback.” Jackson added that Tagovailoa “appears very confident in himself” heading into camp.
Tagovailoa has made tremendous positive strides in his recovery since undergoing season-ending hip surgery last November. Ahead of the 2020 NFL Draft, the eventual No. 5 overall pick showed off outstanding footwork and pin-point accuracy in a simulated pro day video shared with NFL teams.
There’s a chance that he could win the starting job ahead of Week 1. However, that doesn’t seem likely. Taking things a step further, if Fitzpatrick plays well Tagovailoa may be riding the pine for quite some time. Per Jackson,”if Fitzpatrick is very good to start the season — and if the Dolphins are winning — he likely would hang onto the job until that changes.”
Given Fitzpatrick’s history of going hot and cold, we expect Tagovailoa to start sooner, rather than later.