On Tuesday, the Miami Dolphins announced that Tua Tagovailoa would be the starting quarterback following the bye week. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft will face a 4-2 Los Angeles Rams squad that includes All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
It might be a difficult debut for the former Alabama quarterback, but Miami is 3-3 and has shown improvement every week.
Their new offensive line, which includes three rookies and two free agent signings, has been better than advertised. Offensive weapons such as tight end Mike Gesicki, running back Myles Gaskin and second-year receiver Preston Williams have looked respectable.
It makes sense to make the change for Tua now because it gives the team time to rally behind him.
But now that he’s here, we can discuss some of the interesting matchups Tagovailoa will face in upcoming games. Many have noticed that we’re going to get an SEC rematch between Tagovailoa and former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow in Week 13. That should be a lot of fun. Here are some other exciting nuggets on Tagovailoa’s schedule:
Week 9: Miami Dolphins at Arizona Cardinals
Starting in Week 9, the Dolphins will go on the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals. Kyler Murray is the team’s starting quarterback. Murray and Tagovailoa competed once before, in the 2018 College Football Playoff when Alabama beat Oklahoma 45-34. The two combined for 744 total yards and eight touchdowns.
Week 10: Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Just a week later, a home game against the Chargers means that fellow rookie gunslinger Justin Herbert will come to town. The two quarterbacks didn’t face off in college, but they’re plenty familiar with one another following the pre-draft process. Rookie quarterback versus rookie quarterback.
Week 11: Miami Dolphins vs. Denver Broncos
In Week 11, Miami goes on the road again to take on the Denver Broncos. Another quarterback battle will ensue with Tagovailoa taking on another former SEC signal-caller in Drew Lock. These two have already met once back during the 2018 season when Lock and Missouri went on the road to Alabama and lost 39-10.
Tagovailoa threw for 265 yards and three scores while averaging 12 yards per attempt. Lock, on the other hand, had fewer than 150 yards in the air, threw two interceptions and averaged only 5.5 yards per attempt. Will this Week 11 matchup yield similar results?
Probably not. This time around, Lock gets to throw to former Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy. Denver selected Tagovailoa’s old teammate in the first round back in April.
Week 13: Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Now it is time for the most intriguing quarterback duel on the schedule when Tagovailoa takes on Joe Burrow and the Bengals. The last time these two played against one another, we witnessed an epic battle that the LSU Tigers ultimately won 46-41.
Burrow finished with 457 total yards (393 passing, 64 rushing) and three scores while Tagovailoa had 418 yards passing, four touchdowns and one interception. It’s hard to imagine seeing a combined 870 total yards between the two this time around, but it should be fun nonetheless.
Week 16: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Just a few weeks after the showdown with Burrow and the Bengals in Week 16, Miami will once again go on the road to take on a team that took one of Tagovailoa’s top options at Alabama in the first round.
Henry Ruggs III has dealt with injuries throughout his young career, but he’s back and healthy on a respectable Las Vegas squad. The Raiders will also field one of Tagovailoa’s former running backs at Alabama Josh Jacobs.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.