Miami Dolphins head Brian Flores raised some eyebrows on Sunday when he opted to bench rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
In the fourth quarter of his team’s showdown against the Denver Broncos, Flores opted to insert Ryan Fitzpatrick in hopes of pumping some life into an otherwise flailing offense.
Fitzpatrick ultimately led the team on one scoring drive before throwing the game-sealing interception for his squad.
After the game, Flores spoke out on what he expects from Tagovailoa and his status going forward.
“He’s the starting quarterback,” Flores said.
“He knows that. We’ve had that conversation. He’s played well. And I expect him to continue to play well, I expect him to bounce back. He’s a resilient kid like I’ve said. He’s a talented kid as well, too. I expect him to bounce back. I expect our entire team to bounce back, be honest with you.”
At the time of his benching, Tagovailoa was 11 of 20 for 83 yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately, that score came early in the game and the rookie got progressively worse as the day went on. He was sacked six times, his another eight times, and the Dolphins punted on six of their seven possessions following their early score.
Brian Flores explains he wasn’t trying to send a message or give any lesson to Tua Tagovailoa on Sunday by benching him, “I don’t want to make too much of this. He’s the starting quarterback. He knows that.” pic.twitter.com/L3sFsKCOk5
— Will Manso (@WillManso) November 23, 2020
After the game, Tagovailoa was asked to give his thoughts on the benching.
“My thoughts were whatever was going to be best for the team,” he said.
“When I was in, we couldn’t really get things going and coach felt like it was the best decision to put Fitz in to give us a spark. When I heard that — it’s really what’s best for the team.
“If we were to win with Fitz in there, the locker room would be a lot different and everyone would be a lot happier. It just sucks to lose.”
Tagovailoa’s next game will be against the New York Jets. How he ultimately fares against inarguably the worst team in the league will tell folks a lot about whether or not he will be a long-term starter for Miami.