Former Patriots Star Explains Why Brian Flores Won’t Start Tua Tagovailoa Week 1

Brian Flores and Tua Tagovailoa

Former NFL linebacker Rob Ninkovich predicted that Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa won’t begin the season as a starter.

He also delivered high praise for Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.

Ninkovich now serves as an ESPN commentator and appeared on the network’s morning show “Get Up” to offer his thoughts on current NFL topics.

Due to Ninkovich’s strong connection to Flores, the former linebacker spoke with confidence when he said that he believes that Tagvailoa won’t be rushed onto the field.

“I would not start him right now, immediately,” Ninkovich said “I was with B-Flo for eight years. He’s a very smart coach. He’s a very smart man. He’s not going to try and push him into a position too quickly. If you are forced into a spot where potentially his hip isn’t 100 percent, you want him to be 100 percent healthy because the game of football is very mental and confidence goes a long way. If you’re pushed out there too soon and you lose a little bit of that vital confidence, it can affect you.

“I would think Brian Flores has a great plan in place. He’s going to use a veteran quarterback, and hopefully Tua can learn from the veteran quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick and kind of go underneath his wing a little bit, get a feel for the NFL in his first year. It’s going to be different with no offseason and no rookie camp. We don’t know what training camp is going to look like. It’ll be interesting moving forward. But, look, you don’t want to push him into a situation too quickly where he could potentially hurt confidence or get hurt physically.”

Prior to joining the Dolphins, Flores had served as an assistant coach with the Patriots, including a three-year stint as the team’s linebackers coach from 2016 to 2018.

Ninkovich spent 11 seasons in the NFL, beginning with the New Orleans Saints in 2006 and followed by two years with the Dolphins. From there, he moved on to the Patriots, where he and Flores connected.

Right now, Tagovailoa has just over three months before the scheduled start of the 2020 NFL season, with the Dolphins’ first contest coming on Sept. 13 against the New England Patriots.

If Ninkovich is right, Tagovailoa will be on the sidelines as Fitzpatrick commands the offense on the field.