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Tua Injury Opens Up All Types of Scenarios

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will have to miss the Jets game because of a thumb injury, but then what?

That the Miami Dolphins would turn to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for their game against the New York Jets in Week 12 became a no-brainer in light of rookie Tua Tagovailoa's thumb injury, but it also could open up some inevitable questions down the line.

For starters, we don't know exactly when Tagovailoa will be return to action, with NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo suggesting Sunday morning that the Jets game might not be the only that Tua will have to miss.

Head coach Brian Flores said after the 20-13 loss against the Denver Broncos in Week 11 that Tagovailoa was still his starting quarterback moving forward, but Fitzpatrick was called back into action because of the thumb injury.

But the Dolphins are in the thick of a playoff race heading into the final month of the regular season, and it's safe to wonder whether there will be a decision to be made if Fitzpatrick performs well against the Jets on Sunday.

And then that decision certainly might be tougher if Fitzpatrick performs well against the Jets and does it again against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 13 if Tua indeed has to miss more than one game.

What then?

Say Tagovailoa is ready to return in Week 14, which happens to be a matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, what do the Dolphins do at quarterback?

Do they stick with a hot-again Fitzpatrick or go back to Tagovailoa because the plan was to stick with him when they made the quarterback switch at the bye?

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But remember that Flores switched to Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of the Denver game because his gut feeling told him the offense needed a spark.

Again, what then?

The stats clearly indicate the Dolphins put up better numbers with Fitzpatrick at quarterback, and it's not really close.

The two areas where they're better with Tua at quarterback are in not turning the ball over or in the red zone.

But would that be sufficient against the Chiefs in Week 14? Or against the Raiders in Week 16? Or against the Bills in Week 17?

Yes, the Dolphins are 3-1 in Tua's four starts, but let's realize and admit the defense and special teams led the way and that Tua, with the exception of the Arizona game, was (and forgive the term) pretty much a game manager.

Again, what's the biggest goal here: Developing Tua or making the playoffs in 2020?

Of course, if Fitzpatrick struggles in his return to the starting lineup, then there's no debate and the Dolphins absolutely should go back to Tua.

But this is a case where the Dolphins wouldn't mind having a delicate decision to make.