Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores believes that the decision to name rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa the starter, replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick, is the best decision for the team moving forward.
Flores said that they have seen enough during practices to feel confident in making the switch.
“We feel like through practice meetings and walk-throughs that he’s ready, and that’s how we’re going moving forward,” Flores said, according to ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe. “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] has done a great job. He’s been productive. His leadership has 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 needed to make.”
Per the report, the team discussed the move on Monday night with both coaches and front office personnel before officially making the decision on Tuesday.
“We’ve seen a lot of improvement from Tua,” Flores said. “He’s gotten more comfortable — accuracy, decision-making have been good in practice. But again, practice is very different than games. We’re going to do everything we can from a meeting, walk-through, practice standpoint to get him ready to play in a game. Obviously we’re comfortable and confident that he’ll be able to be competitive in those games when that time comes. There’s a lot that leads into that.”
A number of Dolphins players have noticed the improvement in Tua over the past few weeks.
“He’s practiced well,” Flores said. “He works hard in meetings and walk-throughs. He’s got a good rapport with his teammates. Every week we’re going out to win, so, yeah, I’m confident that if we prepare the way he’s been preparing, then I’m confident that we’ll go out there and have good results. But it’s not a one-man game.”
Flores did state that he didn’t get a chance to address the team regarding the change before the decision hit the newswire on Tuesday.
“One thing on this situation that’s unfortunate is that I didn’t get a chance to address the team before this was out in the media. That’s not the way I or we want to do business,” Flores said. “That’s unfortunate. I’m not happy about that at all. So I’ll address that to the team and apologize that they had to find out on social media because I don’t think that’s fair to him.”
For Fitzpatrick, the move is disappointing but he also knew that he was just a placeholder for a position that was eventually going to be Tua’s.
“Fitz has been great. He’s been great really for the last year and a half,” Flores said. “I don’t know if anyone has been more instrumental in trying to instill a culture and embody a lot of the things we’re looking for from a toughness, competitiveness, team-first [perspective]. He’s made an impact on Tua and a lot of other players on this team.
“I have great respect for him, and that made this decision very tough. At the end of the day, we felt like as a team that this was the best thing for the team now and moving forward to go with Tua. Fitz, the way he handles himself and his impact on the team, will still be there. He’s been a tremendous asset and leader on this team.”