The Miami Dolphins starting quarterback position will be worth keeping an eye on all season long. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the incumbent, but rookie Tua Tagovailoa is waiting in the wings.
Less than nine months after suffering a devastating hip injury in a game against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa has officially been cleared to practice. Now, it remains to be seen how much the Dolphins will let him do when he first takes the field in training camp, but there's no doubt that his recovery has gone smoothly thus far.
As for Tagovailoa's status on the depth chart, logic says he is behind Fitzpatrick, and that's probably the case. But Dolphins head coach Brian Flores didn't rule out an open competition when he spoke to reporters today.
“You always want competition in training camp,” Flores said this morning, via Joe Schad of the Palm Beach Post. “Every position is an open competition. Obviously some players are further ahead than others. We all kind of know and understand that, but, yes, we want competition. There’s no jobs that are just going to be handed out.”
This is the right approach for Flores to take, but we also expect him to be cautious about when he throws Tagovailoa out there. The odds of the Alabama product starting Week 1, coming off a serious injury with no preseason games under his belt, are ridiculously low.
Barring something crazy happening, Fitzpatrick will be the Dolphins' quarterback when Miami takes the field against the New England Patriots in Week 1. He'll likely hold onto the job for at least the first half of the regular season as well.
If Tagovailoa is to get his chance this year, we wouldn't expect it to come for a while.