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NFL 2020: Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa makes debut in Week 6 win over New York Jets

Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Miami Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa
Amaar Burton
ANALYST
Modified 19 Oct 2020, 10:36 IST
News
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The Miami Dolphins are obviously not in a rush to get rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa onto the field.

The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft has been tabbed Miami's franchise QB of the future, and the team is taking it slow with the Alabama product's development. With no preseason games on the schedule, the Dolphins are left to give Tagovailoa his first reps in real-life games that count.

After watching from the sideline for Miami's first five games, Tagovailoa made his official debut on Sunday in Week 6, during the Miami Dolphins' 24-0 win over the New York Jets. The victory evened Miami's record at 3-3. They've won two in a row including an upset win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5.

Tagovailoa didn't enter the game until the fourth quarter, after veteran starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins' defense had put the miserable Jets to bed.

Tagovailoa completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards. (He became the first left-handed quarterback to complete a pass in an NFL game since 2015.) His second completion converted a third down into a first down.

Tagovailoa didn't need a big stat line for this outing to be considered a success. Simply stepping onto the field and taking a snap was an accomplishment, considering that the rookie hadn't played a game since he suffered a potential career-ending hip injury in college last year.

At the time he got hurt, Tagovailoa was a Heisman Trophy favorite and projected No. 1 pick in the draft. The injury cost him the Heisman and possibly another national championship with the Crimson Tide. It may have cost him a few spots in the draft, but it speaks to the signal-caller's potential that he was still taken so high despite injury concerns.

On Sunday, the sparse Miami crowd chanted "Tua" as he took command of the Dolphins' huddle. This is a franchise and fan base that's been searching for its next superstar QB since Dan Marino threw his last pass in 2000.

They're hoping Tua is that guy.

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What's next for Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins?

The Miami Dolphins don't have a quarterback competition. Fitzpatrick is the starter, and Tua is the rookie who is being groomed to eventually takeover. Whenever the coaching staff feels Tua is ready, that's when he'll get the job, no matter what Fitzpatrick does.

Sunday's brief appearance was just the beginning of the process of getting Tagovailoa comfortable on the field.

Published 19 Oct 2020, 10:36 IST
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