The Miami Dolphins have something of a quarterback controversy on their hands, albeit not in the traditional sense.
Midway through this past season, Miami opted to insert rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa into the starting lineup. This decision was met with questionable reviews, given that then-starter Ryan Fitzpatrick was playing some of the best football of his career. Still, the rationale made sense – the Dolphins wanted to know what they had at quarterback.
The results were mixed.
Tagovailoa showed glimpses of promise, but he also struggled mightily at times. He finished with 11 touchdowns and five interceptions on 64 percent passing efficiency for the year, but three of those picks came in his team’s final game of the regular season.
In the aftermath, multiple Dolphins players came out and publicly bashed Tagovailoa.
On Friday, head coach Brian Flores emerged from the shadows and attempted to take the temperature in the locker room down a bit. He defended his young quarterback and insisted he liked what he saw from him.
“A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I’m excited about the future with him,” he said in an interview with Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.
“He’s a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important, like it is for all rookies.”
Currently there are two things that are really complicating Tagovailoa’s status as the Dolphins’ quarterback of the present and future: the looming 2021 NFL Draft and Deshaun Watson’s apparent availability.
Yikes. It’s a wrap for Jackie MacMullan.https://t.co/lIFTuBiJtc
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 14, 2021
Miami has been highlighted as a favorite to land Watson in the event of a potential trade, so it stands to reason that a reevaluation of Tagovailoa’s potential would occur. That said, the Houston Texans have provided zero indication thus far that they would actually be open to dealing Watson away.
As far as the draft goes – the only clear cut better option than Tagovailoa available is Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence. And we all know where he is going. It is very debatable whether Ohio State’s Justin Fields is better than Tagovailoa at this juncture.
At the moment, the likeliest scenario is still that Tagovailoa is Miami’s starter heading into next year. But obviously any one of a million things can happen between now and the start of next season, so it wouldn’t be shocking if circumstances changed.
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