Here is why Tua Tagovailoa needs to start Week 1 for Dolphins

Tua Tagovailoa has to be ready to start Week 1 for the Miami Dolphins.

Could the Miami Dolphins start No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa in Week 1 this season?

While starting a rookie quarterback Week 1 is always a tricky proposition, it’s become more commonplace in the NFL in the last decade-plus. Ever since Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco came into the league back in 2008, very rarely do we see first-round picks ride pine for the duration of their rookie years. Tagovailoa will be no different.

On Monday’s episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd, the national sports talk radio host believes it’s time for Tagovailoa to start Week 1 for the Dolphins, as opposed to sitting him behind Ryan Fitzpatrick as a rookie. He addresses five key things playing in rookie quarterbacks’ favor in recent seasons, which is all the more reason Tagovailoa should get the nod over Fitzpatrick.

“You know now within 10-12 games if they’ve got it or not. Better to learn that in year one than in year two,” said Cowherd on FS1 during Monday’s show. He believes reasons to start Tagovailoa Week 1 over Fitzpatrick include NFL offenses more closely resembling the college game, the rules are more in favor of offensive play than ever before and he’s not playing on a massive rookie deal.

The sooner Tua Tagovailoa starts for the Miami Dolphins, the better.

Cowherd makes a lot of fair points in his argument. However, there are four things working against Tagovailoa on his quest to start Week 1 for the Dolphins. Those are Fitzpatrick’s working relationship with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, Tagovailoa coming off a serious hip injury, Fitzpatrick’s proven track record as a stop-gap starter and there being a global pandemic.

If Dolphins head coach Brian Flores specialized on the offensive side of the ball, it would go a long way towards Tagovailoa starting Week 1. Having an offensive-minded head coach is a big reason Joe Burrow will start Week 1 for the Cincinnati Bengals under Zac Taylor, as well as Anthony Lynn potentially giving Justin Herbert early-season opportunities with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Let’s not overlook the Dolphins bringing in Gailey either. During Fitzpatrick’s greatest statistical season as the 2015 New York Jets’ starting quarterback, Gailey was Gang Green’s offensive coordinator. The Jets were nearly a playoff team and Fitzpatrick played at a near Pro Bowl-level throughout the campaign. In short, the journeyman quarterback flourished in this system.

Had Tagovailoa not succumbed to a career-ending injury during his junior season at Alabama, he might have been the No. 1 overall pick by the Bengals. If that were the case, of course, he’d be starting Week 1. If he was still by some miracle still a Dolphin, that would have helped his case, too. As for the pandemic, we’re all dealing with every day, so he’s not alone there.

But as Cowherd said, there really is no downside to starting Tagovailoa Week 1 for Miami, assuming his medicals check out alright. It took about a dozen games or so for his teammate Josh Rosen to be exposed as not the answer for Arizona Cardinals football. The Cardinals bailed on him after a year, drafted Kyler Murray with the top pick and are better for doing so.

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That’s not to say Tagovailoa will be a bust in this league, but if his athleticism is overstated and his durability remains an issue, the Dolphins can move on from the Sam Bradford they drafted without having had to pay him St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford money. The sooner the Dolphins learn if Tagovailoa is their guy, the quicker this rebuild down in South Beach can end.

Starting Tagovailoa Week 1 makes the Dolphins interesting and will get us to a television set.

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