Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores was asked who would start week 5 against the San Fransisco 49ers and the way he answered the question made you think a change will be coming at some point. Flores was very hesitant with his answer and then said I would assume Ryan Fitzpatrick, but we haven’t gone through the film yet. That wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement and it opened pandora’s box with more questions about whether the Dolphins will start rookie Tua Tagovailoa at some point in the near future. Flores was asked this question so many different ways and was contradicting himself. He was asked whether Tagovailoa checks all of the health boxes because of his hip injury a year ago and he said yes. However, then he said if this was his kid coming off of a serious injury, not even a year ago he wouldn’t want him to play. Ok, I don’t know what that has to do with anything if this was your own kid because he’s not your own kid. Second, if you are worried about the hip injury then why did you let Josh Rosen go only to make Tagovailoa the number 2 quarterback and in essence be one play away from playing? I understand he’s coming off a serious injury, but if you are that worried about the injury then put him on the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve you can activate him at any time.


The fact that Flores was hesitant with who his starter will be Sunday signals he is thinking about it. There’s no way anyone couldn’t come to that conclusion after watching his press conference. The question is when is he going to start him? I think Flores is waiting for the right time. The schedule is going to lighten up after this two-game road trip against the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos so maybe it’s after this stretch.


One argument for playing Tagovailoa besides Fitzpatrick being inconsistent and the team is 1-3, is the other two rookie quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert are playing and playing well. However, both circumstances are different. Burrow has nobody pushing him on the Cincinnati Bengals and was handed the job from day one. He has played well through 4 games,  but I worry about him getting hurt due to him taking so many hits behind a terrible offensive line. In spite of that Burrow has not let that get to him. Herbert, on the other hand, is only playing because Los Angeles Chargers screwed up a pain-killing injection to starter Tyrod Taylor cracked rib and ended up puncturing his lung. Head coach Anthony Lynn, just like Flores, wanted the rookie to sit and has even said Taylor will be the starter when healthy. Herbert has made good throws and played well for the most part. Whether it’s fair or not Flores is going to be told those guys are playing and Tua should play.


There is no easy formula were to play a rookie quarterback. Remember in 2007, after Trent Green got hurt and Cleo Lemon struggled and the pressure was on then- head coach Cam Cameron to play rookie quarterback John Beck. Cameron caved in to the pressure and had Beck play in a two-game road trip against the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers. Beck was clearly not ready to play and he struggled and went back to the bench. To be fair that was a bad team that went 1-15 but Beck’s confidence was rattled and never got the chance again.

I think Flores wants to make sure Tagovailoa is ready to play and not put him out there until he knows he’s ready. I don’t see him caving into playing the rookie. The offensive line which was a major concern before the season has very quietly come together and doesn’t look as bad as feared with no offseason so Tagovailoa should be fine and be able to stay upright, but nobody will know how healthy his hip is until he starts getting hit.


An argument was made by Colin Cowherd, that the Dolphins should play Tua now to see what they have in him. He used the reference that the Dolphins have two first-round picks next year and the way the season is going it’s looking like they will both be in the top 10 and if Tua doesn’t play well you could go get another one. He’s right in that regard if the Dolphins do play Tagovailoa and he doesn’t look right  you can always go draft another. If the season ended today the Dolphins would have 2 picks in the top 8 in the first round. I don’t think this will stand because there are 12 games left and if they went for another quarterback early that wouldn’t reflect well on this regime, but you can’t rule it out.
I said last week that Fitzpatrick should be the starter moving forward and I stand by that. After listening to Flores on Monday, it seems like Tua’s time might be coming a little earlier than I thought.