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Report: Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to start for Miami Dolphins in Week 1

Matt Johnson
Dec 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) attempts a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

When the Miami Dolphins take the field in Week 1 to kick off their 2020 season, expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be under center at quarterback with the hopes of pulling off another upset.

Fitzpatrick, who played a pivotal role in Miami’s stunning Week 17 win over the Patriots last season, seems to have the edge at quarterback over Tua Tagovailoa.

Latest on Miami Dolphins quarterback battle

The Dolphins selected Tua Tagovailoa with the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, confident he will be the face of the franchise. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the talented rookie seemingly is far behind in the training camp battle.

According to The Athletic’s Josh Tolentino, Fitzpatrick is expected to be the Dolphins’ Week 1 starter when they face New England in the regular-season opener. Meanwhile, the club continues to take a cautious approach with their prized rookie.

While many are excited about Tagovailoa’s future, the smartest move is starting Fitzpatrick. Not only does the 37-year-old bring immense experience, he also played very well last season.

Despite starting for one of the worst teams in the NFL, Fitzpatrick’s stats stood out. He threw for 3,529 yards last season with a 20-13 TD-INT ratio and an 85.5 quarterback rating. Even more impressive, he got hot in December with a 10-3 TD-INT ratio and a 95.9 quarterback rating.

While the Dolphins are unlikely to compete for a playoff spot this season, the offense would benefit from an experienced quarterback starting. Given Fitzpatrick is entering his 16th NFL season with 139 career starts, Miami will be getting what it needs.

When will Tua Tagovailoa start for the Dolphins?

After Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip in November, his long-term future seemed uncertain. Fortunately, he still lived the dream of being a top-five pick and has made an incredible recovery from the injury.

The Dolphins cleared Tagovailoa for practice before training camp began and he is already making a strong first impression. Tolentino noted that the rookie looked healthy moving around the pocket in his first padded practice and that’s a great sign for Miami.

However, the Dolphins and head coach Brian Flores are very aware of the current situation. The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out rookie orientation and minicamp, keeping players away from the facility until just a few weeks ago.

While Tagovailoa had several months to study Miami’s playbook, going through practices and getting reps is a very different thing. With the entire NFL preseason canceled, he also won’t have a chance to prove himself in live action.

Fitzpatrick will likely remain the starter for the early portion of the Dolphins’ 2020 schedule. However, this won’t be a redshirt year for Tagovailoa and we expect him to start before the calendar turns to December.