Brian Flores didn’t exactly name Ryan Fitzpatrick as his Week 5 starter Monday, but he also didn’t jump at the opportunity to throw the organization’s full weight behind the veteran.
When asked who his signal-caller would be Sunday, Flores took a long pause, explained his staff isn’t even finished making corrections from Sunday’s film, and finally arrived at his answer.
“I understand where everybody’s coming from with Tua and I get all that,” Flores said. “At the same time, he’s a young player, he’s coming off the injury, so we’ll make the decision on the starter, but I would presume that’s gonna be Fitzpatrick.”
The FitzMagic seemed to run out for the Dolphins on Sunday, when the veteran threw two interceptions and didn’t lead the Dolphins to the end zone until he carried it in himself in the final two minutes of what was a two-score game. A week after leading the Dolphins to a win on Thursday Night Football, Miami couldn’t keep up with the red-hot Seattle Seahawks.
With fellow rookies Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert finding success with their respective teams early in the season, some might wonder if Tua Tagovailoa’s time is around the corner. Flores said Monday his staff takes each on “a case-by-case basis” and doesn’t allow others’ performances elsewhere affect his team’s decision-making process — even if he wasn’t quick to declare Fitzpatrick his man for the week ahead.
“The pause was, we haven’t even gone through the corrections on the game,” Flores explained. “We’re actually in the middle of that right now. It wasn’t based off of anything in the game. I hope you guys don’t take that the wrong way. But, every week we come in Monday evening after we make all the corrections.
“Look, we’re a quarter of the way through the season right now. We’re going to obviously do an evaluation of our team from that standpoint, try to play the guys we feel are going to help us try to turn this thing around and play better in situations like red zone, in two minute, in the fourth quarter. That will be at all positions. That was kind of a conversation that we just had as a staff, so I guess that’s what gave me some pause, not something from the game.”
Tagovailoa is coming off a significant hip injury that gave plenty of teams pause when evaluating his stock ahead of April’s draft, but he still landed in Miami with the fifth-overall pick. Herbert, drafted immediately after him, wasn’t expected to play this early but was forced into the action due to complications from a painkilling injection that forced veteran bridge quarterback Tyrod Taylor out of action.
The Dolphins, thankfully, have not experienced such a scenario. For Flores, he’ll insert Tagovailoa when he feels the time is right. It sounds as if that time has not yet arrived.
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