Jan 3, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa is our starting QB in 2021

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Tuesday that Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starting quarterback in 2021.

“We want to be clear that Tua is our starter and we’re very happy with his development so far,” Grier said in the Dolphins’ season-ending address alongside coach Brian Flores.

Tagovailoa went 6-3 as a starter since replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick in Week 8. However, twice Flores benched the rookie and replaced him with Fitzpatrick late in the season, and Tagovailoa threw three interceptions in the team’s must-win game last week against the Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick was unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19.

Miami missed the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

“Tua, we’re very happy with. He’s our starting quarterback,” Grier said. “He did a nice job this year coming in as a rookie with no offseason and the challenge in dealing with all that. Very happy with him and looking forward to watching him progress here over a [full] offseason going into next year. For us, not really talking about draft strategy, anything right now.”

The Dolphins hold the Nos. 3 and 18 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The 22-year-old Tagovailoa completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,814 yards and 11 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Fitzpatrick, 38, is an unrestricted free agent in March.

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raidersat Allegiant Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Raiders 26-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Dolphins’ Fitzpatrick tests positive for COVID-19

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has tested positive for COVID-19, the NFL Network reported on Thursday.

Fitzpatrick did not practice on Thursday for the Dolphins, who will have rookie Tua Tagovailoa under center three days later in their regular-season finale against the host Buffalo Bills.

Miami has yet to publicly comment on the reason for Fitzpatrick’s absence.

Fitzpatrick, 38, has completed 183 of 267 passes for 2,091 yards with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine games this season.

Tagovailoa, who was the fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, has thrown for 1,453 yards with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in nine games this season.

Fitzpatrick relieved Tagovailoa in a 26-25 last-second win over the host Las Vegas Raiders on Dec. 26, making a key 41-yard pass while under pressure to set up the decisive field goal.

Quarterback Jake Rudock was signed on Thursday and he participated in practice and is expected to serve as the backup to Tagovailoa against Buffalo.

The Dolphins (10-5) will clinch a playoff berth if they beat the Bills (12-3) in Buffalo. A loss by the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts or Baltimore Ravens also would send Miami to the postseason for just the third time since 2001.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Tagovailoa expected to start vs. Bengals

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will get the start on Sunday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, provided there are no setbacks in warmups, according to NFL Network.

Miami coach Brian Flores told reporters Thursday that Tagovailoa would be a game-time decision. The rookie took most of the first-team snaps in practice this week to prep for the Bengals (2-8-1).

Tagovailoa, 22, injured his left thumb after inadvertently hitting his throwing hand on a helmet during practice drills last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick started on Sunday and guided the Dolphins (7-4) to a 20-3 win over the New York Jets.

The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa was limited in practice on Wednesday while sporting black tape covering his wrist and thumb.

Tagovailoa has completed 60 of 97 passes for 602 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions this season. He is 3-1 as a starter since taking over for Fitzpatrick.

Tagovailoa struggled in his fourth start, finishing with 83 yards passing and getting sacked six times in a 20-13 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 11.

Fitzpatrick, 38, has completed 174 of 254 passes for 1,909 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, his 16th year in the NFL. He played with the Bengals during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) at the line of scrimmage in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ Flores: Tua game-time decision vs. Bengals

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be a game-time decision on Sunday against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, coach Brian Flores told reporters Thursday.

Tagovailoa, 22, injured his left thumb after inadvertently hitting his throwing hand on a helmet during practice drills last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick started on Sunday and guided the Dolphins (7-4) to a 20-3 win over the New York Jets.

The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa was limited in practice on Wednesday while sporting black tape covering his wrist and thumb.

“We’ll take it one day at a time,” Flores said on Thursday. “Both quarterbacks practiced (Wednesday). We’ll see how (Tagovailoa) progresses throughout the week and make a decision on Sunday.”

Tagovailoa has completed 60 of 97 passes for 602 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions this season. He is 3-1 as a starter since taking over for Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, 38, has completed 174 of 254 passes for 1,909 yards with 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL. He played with the Bengals during the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) warm up prior to facing the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins downgrade Tua to doubtful; Fitzpatrick in line to start

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was downgraded from questionable to doubtful for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

The designation on Saturday means that veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick could be under center against one of his many former teams.

The Dolphins (6-4) also elevated rookie quarterback Reid Sinnett from the practice squad to the active roster for the game against the winless Jets (0-10) in East Rutherford, N.J.

Tagovailoa, 22, injured his left thumb after slamming his throwing hand on a helmet during practice drills on Wednesday.

The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, Tagovailoa has completed 60 of 97 passes for 602 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Fitzpatrick, 38, has completed 150 of 215 passes for 1,652 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL. He played with the Jets during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass against the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Flores says Dolphins not auditioning Tua

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores pushed back Thursday on a report that the team named Tua Tagovailoa its starting quarterback to determine whether he’s the QB of the future.

The Dolphins own the Houston Texans’ first-round pick in 2021. With the Texans at 1-6, that pick could translate into a chance to select Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence or Ohio State’s Justin Fields. The Dolphins also have their own first-round selection.

ESPN reported earlier in the week that Miami switched from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa in part to give the rookie a 10-game audition.

It was enough to compel Flores to address it Thursday.

“There’s a couple things out there, let’s call it a source close to Dolphins thinking saying that we are auditioning Tua. I’m just going to tell you about my thinking. We brought Tua here because we believe in him, same as all the other draft picks. We believe in developing players and improving players on a daily basis,” Flores said.

“That would be the opposite of giving someone a 10-game audition,” Flores said. “I just don’t see how somebody close to Dolphins thinking can say that this would be a 10-game audition. Not sure where or who that came from.”

Tagovailoa is set to make his second start Sunday when the Dolphins (4-3) travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals (5-2). Tagovailoa threw for just 93 yards on 12-of-22 passing and a TD in his debut as a starter last week — a 28-17 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) runs off the field after defeating the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Dolphins auditioning Tagovailoa with eye toward ’21 draft

The Dolphins’ decision to bench quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came because Miami leadership wanted to determine whether Tua Tagovailoa indeed is the quarterback of the future or if they should consider drafting another one in 2021, ESPN reported Sunday.

That’s because the Dolphins (3-3) own the No. 1 pick of the Texans (1-6), a product of the 2019 trade that sent left tackle Laremy Tunsil to Houston. The New York Jets are winless, and the Texans are one of five teams that enter play Sunday with just one win.

That means the Dolphins could wind up with one of the top picks, via the Texans, that could be used on quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence of Clemson or Justin Fields of Ohio State.

Trey Lance of North Dakota State also is projected as a first-round draft pick.

One of those one-win teams — the Cincinnati Bengals — won’t be selecting a quarterback. Joe Burrow, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, has that spot locked up. So if the Bengals end up with a top-three pick, any team with the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 will be virtually assured of landing Lawrence or Fields.

Tagovailoa will make his first career start on Sunday at home against the Los Angeles Rams in what could be the beginning of a 10-game audition for the Dolphins.

Coach Brian Flores announced the shift from Fitzpatrick to Tagovailoa on Oct. 21, saying the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft would take over at QB after the bye week. The shift came just two weeks after Flores said the coaching staff didn’t think the rookie, coming off of hip surgery in his final season at Alabama, was ready.

The news came as a surprise to journeyman Fitzpatrick, who knew he was keeping the seat warm for Tagovailoa but didn’t expect the change so soon.

The Dolphins enter the game in second place in the AFC East, trailing the Buffalo Bills (5-2).

Fitzpatrick, 37, has completed 138 of 197 passes for 1,535 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL.

“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said. “He’s been productive. His leadership’s been great. It’s not an easy decision for me or us as an organization. But we felt like for the team now and moving forward, this is the move we need to make.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) hands the ball to running back Matt Breida (22) during the second half against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins’ Flores confirms Tagovailoa to start after bye

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed Wednesday that rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be under center when the team comes out of its bye.

Flores’ comments come one day after multiple media reports leaked the news that Tagovailoa would replace veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“He’s gotten more comfortable — accuracy, decision-making have been good in practice. … We’re comfortable and confident that he’ll be able to be competitive in those games when that time comes,” Flores said.

That time will come on Nov. 1, when the Dolphins (3-3) return from their bye to host the Los Angeles Rams. The Dolphins are in second place in the AFC East.

Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, replaced Fitzpatrick and completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards during the latter stages of the Dolphins’ 24-0 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

The Dolphins repeatedly have said that they were not going to rush the development of Tagovailoa, 22, who had been listed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback for each game this season.

Tagovailoa is coming off surgery for a hip injury he sustained while playing for Alabama last season.

Tagovailoa left the storied Crimson Tide program as No. 1 in school history in completion percentage (69.3 percent), touchdown passes in a season (43 in 2018) and career passing touchdowns (87). He threw for 7,442 yards in his 32 games with Alabama.

Fitzpatrick, 37, has completed 138 of 197 passes for 1,535 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL.

“Fitz has done a great job,” Flores said. “He’s been productive. His leadership’s been great. It’s not an easy decision for me or us as an organization. But we felt like for the team now and moving forward, this is the move we need to make.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 18, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back during the second half against the New York Jets at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Dolphins to turn to Tagovailoa after bye week

Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be the team’s starter when it plays its next game, ESPN reported on Tuesday morning.

Tagovailoa, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, replaced veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and completed both of his pass attempts for nine yards during the latter stages of the Dolphins’ 24-0 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.

The Dolphins (3-3) return from their bye week to host the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1.

The Dolphins repeatedly have said that they were not going to rush the development of Tagovailoa, 22, who had been listed as the team’s No. 2 quarterback for each game this season.

Tagovailoa is coming off surgery for a hip injury he sustained while playing for Alabama last season.

Tagovailoa left the storied Crimson Tide program as No. 1 in school history in completion percentage (69.3 percent), touchdown passes in a season (43 in 2018) and career passing touchdowns (87). He threw for 7,442 yards in his 32 games with Alabama.

Fitzpatrick, 37, has completed 138 of 197 passes for 1,535 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, which is his 16th in the NFL.

–Field Level Media