Tagovailoa was named starting quarterback for the Nov. 1 game against the Los Angeles Rams, with the Dolphins’ bye week allowing the rookie to get more comfortable with the situation.
Still, the shift apparently caused some murmurs among the team.
“It’s wondering, ‘Why now?’” a source said of the team’s reaction.
Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was supplanted by Tagovailoa, expressed shock and sadness upon hearing the news from Dolphins head coach Brian Flores.
Flores offered his reasoning for the move, but it’s clear that his comments don’t appear to have resonated within the Dolphins’ locker room.
“We just felt like it was the best move for the team right now,” Flores said. “That’s how we’re going to move forward.”
Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa bonded during training camp, with Fitzpatrick knowing that the rookie would replace him at some point. Yet, despite the veteran’s disappointment, he’ll be ready to assist Tagovailoa during the course of upcoming games.
Tagovailoa got his first taste of NFL action on Sunday, but that was in the closing moments of a 24-0 victory, so little pressure was attached to his efforts. He also only completed two passes for a total of nine yards.
The lack of pressure will surely change when Tagovailoa takes the field against the Rams, who currently have a 4-2 record and appeared in the Super Bowl in February 2019.
How well Tagovailoa performs and how successful the team is during the next several games will likely determine if the rookie stays in the lineup. If he struggles, a quarterback controversy could possibly arise in South Florida.