Tua Tagovailoa made his NFL debut this past weekend, coming in late during a Miami Dolphins blowout 24-0 win against the New York Jets. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he will be the starter moving forward.
The decision comes ahead of the team’s bye week, giving Tagovailoa a full extra week of preparation ahead of his first NFL start. He’ll be thrown into the fire a bit though. On Nov. 1, he’ll be under center against Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams.
Tagovailoa attempted just two passes on Sunday, completing both for a total of nine yards. He filled in for Ryan Fitzpatrick, a veteran who is very experienced in this situation, and definitely knew he was keeping the seat warm. Still, with how Fitzpatrick has played thus far, it is a surprise.
Fitzpatrick has been very solid through six weeks, leading the Dolphins to a 3-3 record and keeping them in the playoff hunt. He’s completing 70.1-percent of his throws for 1,535 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also has two rushing touchdowns.
This just in: pic.twitter.com/byikxkJW68
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 20, 2020
Tagovailoa was one of the most productive quarterbacks in college football at Alabama. During his only full season as starter, in 2018, he threw for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He also ran for five scores.
He was set to improve on those numbers, and likely be named a Heisman finalist, until his hip injury suffered during the team’s win over Mississippi State.
The situation is made less awkward by the close relationship that Tagovailoa and Fitzpatrick have built during Tua’s time in Miami. Fitzpatrick hyped up the crowd on Sunday after Tua came in, and both players have been very open about how much mutual respect they have.
Doing the move now is fairly surprising, but clearly the Miami Dolphins staff thinks he’s ready. The future is now for Miami.