The biggest headline this past week came from Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, when he said if healthy Tua Tagovailoa should start for the Miami Dolphins because you don’t get better holding a clipboard. He makes a good point, but at the same time worry about your own team instead of another team. Arians talked about the situations with Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck starting as rookies when he was there, but in those situations, Manning and Luck didn’t have a competent veteran quarterback to push either quarterback so they were thrust into action. It’s different from the Dolphins because they have Ryan Fitzpatrick returning and Tagovailoa will have to earn the right to play.

Fitzpatrick has earned the right to go into camp as the teams starting quarterback after leading this team to 5 wins despite their lack of talent and throwing for 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Fitzpatrick was the leader of the team and the team followed him. Having said all of that, Fitzpatrick has never been able to put together good season back to back in his career. When he was with the New York Jets in 2015, he threw for a career-high 31 touchdown passes, and the following year only 12 touchdown passes. We all know you get the good and the bad with Fitzpatrick. He can have games where he’s lights out and games where he throws a lot of interceptions. In 2011, the Buffalo Bills gave him a contract extension before the season started, but then threw a career-high 23 interceptions that year and he started to fizzle out in Buffalo.

Dolphins coach Brian Flores likes his players to compete and earn their jobs instead of handing someone a job when they are ready. I believe that’s the right thing to do. Arians were correct you don’t learn from holding a clipboard, but not all rookie quarterbacks are ready to play right away. Last year, Josh Rosen was acquired and everyone wanted to know when he was going to play? Flores said he had to earn it and didn’t believe in just throwing a young player in for the sake of putting him in. He went with Fitzpatrick to start the season, but after 2 games and the team losing games by a combined score of 102-10 Flores made a change and made the Rosen the starter. He even said he would start the rest of the year because he’s earned it, but Flores went back to Fitzpatrick 3 games later after 3 sub-par games from Rosen. The rest is history as Fitzpatrick found his groove in leading the Dolphins the rest of the way.

Flores can’t have a repeat of that this year. Quarterback decisions can divide a team and Flores has a good pulse of his team, but right now Fitzpatrick is the unquestioned leader of the Dolphins offense and he doesn’t want to mess around with that. However, based on Fitzpatrick’s history, there will come a point this season where Flores may have to decide whether he pulls Fitzpatrick for Tagovailoa. It could come during the preseason if the rookie is outplaying the veteran or at some point during the season if the offense is struggling with Fitzpatrick. That’s when Flores will have a tough decision to make. Does he bench Fitzpatrick or does he try to let him work his way out of his funk? A coach like Flores should have the pulse of his team and know when to make the call. Last year Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel pulled his young quarterback Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill and the Titans went on a run all the way to the AFC Championship game. I’m not saying that will happen in the same way, but it’s moments like that during the season that can define your football team. It could also send your team into a nose dive or could spark your team and make a run. This is something at some point Flores will have to face. The question is when the opportunity presents itself will he pull the trigger or not for the better of the team.