Though the Miami Dolphins can’t control what happens during the 2020 season, a new report indicates that they’d like to see rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa “redshirt” the upcoming season.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport pointed out that the standard college practice of redshirting a player by not playing him for a season would be beneficial in Tagovailoa’s case. That’s because he’s coming off major hip surgery, and the Dolphins have Ryan Fitzpatrick to handle the job until he’s ready.
“As far as when Tua is going to start and what is the clock going to be, we do this all the time,” Rapoport said. “We have a veteran come in. He’s gonna start for a little bit, and then at some point, everyone just says, ‘Alright, just bring on the rookie.’ I remember when the [Cleveland] Browns did it with Baker Mayfield.
“My understanding is that the Dolphins want him to have a redshirt year. They want him to sit. They don’t want him to be forced into action. Health-wise, he’s fine. It’s just so much to ask for a rookie to come in with no preseason games, the limited offseason. They would love for Tua to sit and learn this year and Fitz play.”
Succeeding in the NFL as a rookie quarterback is a rarity anyway, though Dolphins legend Dan Marino accomplished that feat back in 1983.
However, Tagovailoa has not been battled-tested in any actual NFL games and has had to deal with arguably the most bizarre offseason in NFL history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Fitzpatrick was named the Dolphins’ starting quarterback for their regular-season opener on Sunday, which came as no surprise to close observers. He’s got 15 years of past NFL experience and has been serving as a mentor to Tagovailoa in order to make a smooth transition when that time arrives.
Tagovailoa figures to end up seeing action at some point during the 2020 campaign, whether because of an injury to Fitzpatrick or in mop-up duty at the end of a blowout.
Yet, Tagovailoa is only 22 years old, so he has plenty of time to get his bearings and become the Dolphins’ quarterback of the future. The organization would prefer that such a future not begin in 2020.