In an offseason unlike any other, Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is doing the most he can amid the circumstances.
Tagovailoa was drafted No. 5 overall back on April 23.
In a normal offseason, he would have weeks in the team’s facility to study the playbook and get to know his new coaches and teammates.
After that, he would attend rookie minicamp, optional team activities and a full-squad minicamp.
But this isn’t a normal offseason.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL offseason is in limbo.
It is unknown how much practice time players will get, and coaches are now just being allowed back to facilities starting on June 5.
The Dolphins, along with every other team, are using virtual meetings to make up for lost time.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spoke at a media availability session on Thursday and offered a look at how Tagovailoa and his fellow rookies are adjusted to the NFL.
“The rookies in general, I think they’ve all, based on what we can do, they’ve all done a good job,” Flores said. “They’re all in meetings, they’re all learning, they’re all doing everything they can possibly do to pick up the information, to train. Quite honestly, it’s hard not to have your hands on them.”
The Dolphins made 11 draft picks and signed 10 undrafted free agents, so these are critical meetings.
Tagovailoa is also recovering from hip surgery that ended his junior season early.
Even with the injury and the difficulty of the virtual offseason, Flores is impressed with the former University of Alabama quarterback.
“Specific to Tua, he’s working hard, he’s picking up the information, but you want to get your hands on them, quite honestly,” Flores said. “I think they are all doing a good job. I think they all have a long way to go. Again, specific to the injury, I haven’t seen him. Our doctors haven’t seen him. To give you any information on that or try to, I shouldn’t do that.”
Tagovailoa’s health will play a key role in the 2020 season.
If he’s ready to go by training camp, he could steal the starting quarterback job from Ryan Fitzpatrick.
But if he enters camp with the slightest bit of injury concern, Miami would be wise to let Fitzpatrick start.
Health and his ability to put what he’s learning into action at training camp will determine Tagovailoa’s fate for 2020.
Either way, Flores seems pleased with Tagovailoa’s virtual performance so far.