Flores: Tua Will Remain Dolphins’ Starter

The Dolphins are now one win away from their first trip to the postseason since 2016, and they have Ryan Fitzpatrick (and a healthy dose of Raiders ineptitude) to thank for it. After Miami’s offense with QB Tua Tagovailoa under center stagnated throughout much of last night’s game against Las Vegas, head coach Brian Flores replaced the first-round rookie with the hirsute 38-year-old, and that sprinkling of FitzMagic was enough to pull out a last-second win.

Fitzpatrick completed nine of 13 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown in his limited action, and while much of that yardage came on a no-look prayer of a pass and a healthy run-after-catch from RB Myles Gaskin, the offense undeniably came to life with Fitzpatrick at the helm. That led most to assume that the veteran would start the Dolphins’ Week 17 game with the Bills next week.

But Flores said in his post-game presser that Tagovailoa remains the team’s starter and will get the call against Buffalo, as Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com was among those to report. “Tua is a young player,” Flores said. “He’s developing. He’s improving on a daily basis. He’s learning from these experiences. He’ll be better next week.”

Last night marked the second time in five games that Tagovailoa was pulled for Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter, and while Fitzpatrick wasn’t quite able to complete the comeback in Miami’s Week 11 loss to Denver, he got the job done against the Raiders. As a result, the Dolphins will clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Bills next week.

Tagovailoa’s surface-level stats look decent enough — he has completed 65.1% of his passes for 10 TDs against just two interceptions — but most of his throws are dinks and dunks, and his 6.3 yards-per-attempt average is among the worst in the league. He will need to take more downfield shots to pull out a victory over the Bills, but if he should struggle, Flores has shown he will not be afraid to send in Fitzpatrick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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5 comments on “Flores: Tua Will Remain Dolphins’ Starter

  1. M Haworth

    I get wanting to develop Tua, even though I don’t agree that he is a franchise type QB. However, you’re in position to make the playoffs and compete so go with the guy that gives you the best chance to win…Fitz

  2. George Ruth

    Tagovailoa has proven he is not ready to be a starter in the NFL at this point in his career & if Flores keeps Tagovailoa as the starter the Bills will whoop the Dolphins.

    Flores should start Fitz next weekend because Fitz is the best chance for the Dolphins to pick up a win

  3. andymarchus

    Tua needs to gain confidence in throwing downfield to guys who are open albeit not as wide open as his receivers at Alabama were. On some of those downfield throws Fitz hit late in the game, Tua would have chosen to throw to his check down options.

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