Flores on QB switch: 'A Move We Needed to Make'
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa will take over as the team's starting quarterback, indicating it was an organizational decision.
“We feel like that’s the best thing for the team," Flores said Wednesday morning. "We’ve talked about it as a staff, with Chris (General Manager Chris Grier), personnel department, just felt like it was the best move for the team right now. That’s how we’re going to move forward.”
The timing of the move came as a surprise given that the Dolphins are coming off back-to-back blowout victories (43-17 at San Francisco and 24-0 against the New York Jets) and headed into their bye with a 3-3 record and only one game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three touchdown passes in each of those two games.
It also was exactly two weeks ago that Flores said that Tagovailoa, the fifth overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft, wasn't ready to take over as the starter.
“It’s like any other situation," Flores said Wednesday. "Sometimes guys a week out, two weeks out, three weeks out, four weeks out, we talk about situations like this on a weekly basis. This is no different that that. Through practice and meetings and walk-throughs, that he’s ready. That’s how we’re going to go moving forward.”
Tagovailoa made his NFL debut with five snaps against the Jets on Sunday and completed both of his attempts for 9 yards and a first down.
But it's fair to ask why the Dolphins didn't get Tagovailoa into the game in the fourth quarter of the game at San Francisco when they led 30-7 at halftime and never had less than a 20-point cushion in the fourth quarter.
Flores said there was no point in looking back and that the team was moving forward.
Flores was asked about his level of confidence that Tagovailoa will have success.
“I’m confident in all our players, to include Tua," Flores said. "I think he’s practiced well. He works hard in meetings, in walk-throughs. I think he’s got a good rapport with his teammates. I think every week we go out to win, so yeah, I’m confident that if we prepare the right way and (he) prepares the way he’s been preparing, I’m confident we’ll go out there and have good results.
"But it’s not a one-man game. That’s the one thing … I mean, it’s football. You need 11 guys on each play to go out there and play together, play as a team. I’m confident that we’ll be able to do that and go out and play as a team and play with great energy and hopefully good execution.”
Flores did say he has seen a lot of improvement from Tagovailoa in practice, namely in the areas of accuracy and decision-making.
The QB switch coming during the bye week gives Tagovailoa an extra week to prepare for the next game, which will be against the Los Angeles Rams at Hard Rock Stadium on Nov. 1.
The Dolphins' bye initially was scheduled for Nov. 22, though Flores said the bye wasn't the determining factor in the decision.
“I don’t think it hurts, but we feel like this was the best move for our team right now,” Flores said. “Fitz has done a great job, he’s been productive. His leadership has been great. It’s not an easy decision for me or for us as an organization, but we felt like for the team now and moving forward this is the move we needed to make.”