Dolphins Show Forward Thinking in Naming Tua Tagovailoa Starter
When you haven't won a playoff game in 20 years, it can be more to focus on the bigger picture when things are moving in the right direction.
For the Miami Dolphins, the report they've named rookie quarterback Tuanigamanuolepola "Tua" Tagovailoa the starter was somewhat surprising, but absolutely the right move.
At 3-3, Miami has won two consecutive games, is ranked higher than the Patriots in the AFC East, and with 7 playoff teams in each conference this year, has a decent chance to make the postseason.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has started the first 6 games this season for Miami, has played well this month, and the Dolphins are putting up a ton of offense as of late.
Tagovailoa made his NFL debut in the late stages of Sunday's shutout win over the Jets, his first snaps since sustaining a hip injury last November while he was playing for the University of Alabama.
In addition to their own draft picks in 2021, Miami also owns the Houston Texans first and second-round picks next May, and 10 picks total.
Focusing on the future is why starting Tagovailoa now is the right move. Entering the bye week, the Dolphins want to get him meaningful snaps.
Would Tagovailoa be more prepared for a sustainable playoff run in 2021 if he rode the bench this season? No.
Suppose the Dolphins left Fitzpatrick in the starting lineup all season, and Miami earned a playoff spot. Is that better for the team heading into 2021 with a different starter under center? No.
If the Dolphins make the playoffs with Tagovailoa this season, it's an added bonus. If they don't, they're still set-up to be ahead of schedule in 2021.
Heading into the 2020s, Miami is set up for sustained success for the first time since Dan Marino was the quarterback.