Miami Dolphins fans rode a rollercoaster of emotions in the #TankForTua campaign over the last nine months.
First, the Dolphins looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL in the midst of trading off superstar players like Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick. Next, Miami was blessed with a bit of FitzMagic and started winning some games, sending some Dolphins fans into a panic that they'd miss out on Tua Tagovailoa altogether. Then there was the third stage where it appeared the Dolphins would be in a position to nab Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick but may pass in favor of another quarterback, Justin Herbert, or an offensive tackle.
In the end, Miami stood pat at pick No. 5 and took the player many fans wanted all along. Here's what AllDolphins reporter Alain Poupart had to say about the pick:
There's obviously a gamble involved here because of Tua's injury history and durability concerns. But this is a franchise that has been starving for a franchise quarterback and Tua could be that guy if he stays healthy. It was almost a move the Dolphins had to make once they weren't able to pry Joe Burrow away from the Cincinnati Bengals.
The only question remaining is how long Dolphins fans have to wait for Tagovailoa to be named the starting quarterback. Will it happen Week 1? Probably not.
Oddsmakers aren't optimistic that Tagovailoa will be Miami's Week 1 starter, and it's not hard to see why. They have a competent short-term quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 3,529 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. Fitzpatrick helped wide receiver DeVante Parker break out last season with a career year (72/1202/9) and did the same for tight end Mike Gesicki (51/570/5). It's disingenuous to suggest that Fitzpatrick deserves all the credit for those breakouts, but it highlights the fact that he can carry this offense admirably in 2020.
Fitzpatrick will turn 38 during the season and has far less football in front of him than behind him, but there's no reason to believe he can't captain the ship for one more season. The Dolphins don't have any real expectations this season as they start their ascent from a complete rebuild. Playoffs are not likely, and they probably wouldn't be any more likely if Tagovailoa started immediately.
The other factor that needs to be considered is Tagovailoa's health. There were plenty of concerns about his medicals heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. While none of us truly know the status of his injured hip, getting extra time to rest (and learn) isn't the worst thing in the world.
Rookie quarterbacks are often thrust into lousy situations with bad offensive lines and asked to make chicken salad (out of chicken you-know-what) while still learning on the job. Some can handle it and thrive. Some can't and have their careers completely derailed. Some eventually figure it all out in time. Giving Tagovailoa more time to heal, learn the offense, and for his team to add offensive line help is the best course of action.
Factors such as injury, fan pressure, merchandise/ticket sales, etc. could push Tagovailoa into the starter's role sooner rather than later. However, a de facto redshirt season could do the young QB a lot of good. He can learn from an eager mentor (unlike the situation in Green Bay) in Fitzpatrick, get a good grasp on the playbook, and put his body in the best position to be 100% healthy in 2021. It's not an easy decision, but it could be the right one.
Tagovailoa will likely throw meaningful passes for the Dolphins sometime in 2020, but it won't be Week 1.
The Play: NO (-280)
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