The Miami Dolphins have played one game, and the verdict is in: 37-year-old journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s time with the fins is waning.
Fitzpatrick was a statistical double-take in the NFL opener against the New England Patriots.
Fitz completed 20 of 30 attempts for a whopping 191 yards, and tossed three interceptions.
No need to measure his statistical metrics anymore, and the double-take comment was interjected with a high level of sarcasm, in case you were wondering.
After one solitary game, the question lingers: When will Tua Tagovailoa get his chance to become the Dolphins’ starting quarterback?
Already, fans, sports columnists and conscious observers are calling for Fitzpatrick’s successor.
Sports reporter Dan Le Batard went for a little-dramatic, humorous interpretation of Fitz’s performance in his latest Twitter roast of the assistant coach in pads.
Le Bartard’s tweet was a poignant question: “Do you think Bill Belichick laughs himself to sleep every night because every team in the AFC East has spent a decade and a half trying to dethrone him with Ryan Fitzpatrick?”
The obvious answer is no.
Playing for the University of Alabama, a collegiate team many experts argue could defeat some of the worst NFL teams in the hypothetical scenario if they were to square off, gives Tagovailoa an extra advantage preparing for the NFL.
Tagovailoa is already used to the major spotlight of playing for a national-championship-winning collegiate program.
The pressure and expectation to win are arguably the same in the NFL. You do it or you enter the transfer portal looking for another team because Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Sabin won’t give adequate playing time if you don’t meet the bottom line.
The other lingering question is about Tagovailoa’s health. You can listen to the rhetoric from coaches about a player’s health, but the player knows the truth.
In an early-season press conference, the standout from St. Louis School in Honolulu expressed doubt about his health.
This opening week, Tagovailoa landed himself on the injury report and fully participated in practice in spite of the injury.
The presumption is it is from the devastating hip injury Tagovailoa suffered in 2019, and it is worth putting on the injury report until further notice.
This conclusion can be gained from the fins’ first outing — Tagovailoa will play, and most likely, given the lack of talent around him, he will statistically struggle in his first season.
You can reference Payton Manning’s rookie year with the Colts in 1998 to know this inevitable fact of life for rookie NFL quarterbacks.
It is worth noting that Tagovailoa didn’t play a down in the first game against the Patriots.
Tagovailoa is working with an offensive mastermind in Dolphins’ Offensive Coordinator Chan Gailey.
There are sometimes psychological ramifications to putting a quarterback in before he is ready for the next level.
You simply don’t want to destroy a QB’s confidence.
For historical context, you can reference two great collegiate quarterbacks, Andre Ware and David Klingler, both University of Houston products, whose success didn’t translate in the NFL.
Tagovailoa is a bonafide, certified, NFL superstar in the making. He has the looks, the talent and the first-round pedigree, so let’s hope he doesn’t get thrown into the fire too early.
The Miami Dolphins made a big declaration this was going to happen this year when they parted ways with 2018 first-round draft choice by way of the Arizona Cardinals Josh Rosen.
This expressed confidence that Tua is the direction the franchise plans to go to in the future.
Watching Fitz’s performance Sunday, Tua’s debut will inevitably come sooner rather than later.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.