Report: NFL Coaches Believe It’s ‘Forgone Conclusion’ Tua Tagovailoa Starts Week 1

Tua Tagovailoa Miami Dolphins

It’s not uncommon for a quarterback drafted in the top five to start Week 1.

In the past five years, eight quarterbacks have been picked in the top five. Five of those eight started Week 1, with the other three (Baker Mayfield, Mitch Trubisky and Jared Goff) starting at some point early in the regular season.

NFL coaches expect 2020 No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa to start for the Miami Dolphins immediately this season, according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.

“The more compelling question isn’t whether Tagovailoa starts at some point this year; it’s whether he will start at the beginning of it,” wrote Freeman. “And according to every coach I’ve spoken to, it’s a forgone conclusion that he will beat out veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and start Week 1 against the [New England] Patriots on Sept. 13.”

It’s easy to make a case for Tagovailoa to start Week 1.

Fitzpatrick – who started 13 games for Miami last season — is a great stopgap quarterback, but Tagovailoa is the future of the franchise.

Fitzpatrick has played for eight teams in his 15-year career. He’s a solid journeyman quarterback and a great mentor.

Tagovailoa, on the other hand, is being touted as a potential savior.

Before last season, he was widely expected to be the top pick in the draft. Injuries – and the outstanding play of former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow – made him fall to No. 5.

Coaches still believe in Tagovailoa’s talent, though.

“It’s difficult to put into words how high some coaches are on Tagovailoa,” wrote Freeman. “They think that when we look back at this draft, he will be one of the best, if not the best, players from it.”

Talent is not the concern. It’s just a question of whether he can stay healthy.

“His injury history is a legitimate concern, but these coaches believe in his ability to beat out Fitzpatrick and start right away,” wrote Freeman.

One potential roadblock outside of health is offseason preparation.

This year’s minicamp and training camp schedule will be unlike those of any past season. Nobody really knows how much practice time players will get.

An abbreviated practice schedule could lead Dolphins head coach Brian Flores to roll with the veteran over the rookie in Week 1 on the road against a traditionally strong Patriots defense.

Time will tell if Tagavailoa can win the job outright after the preseason, but recent history suggest he will see the field at some point this season.