When Should The Dolphins Unleash Tua?

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Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was an atrocity Sunday and NFL Twitter immediately called for Tua Tagovailoa. Easy to hit the panic button and throw the new toy on the field, but the Dolphins are smart for naming Fitzpatrick the Week 2 starter. Debates of when to start the rookie QB have more to do with the team than it does the player.

When the Philadelphia Eagles threw Carson Wentz the keys, they weren’t simply evaluating his ability. They drafted him No. 2 overall so they already bought in to his talent. Their decision came down to having a pro-bowl level offensive line with Jason Peters and Jason Kelce. Outside pressure of starting the rookie quarterback should be answered by evaluating the rest of the team.

The last thing Miami wants is to start Tua on a team they feel isn’t ready to compliment his skillset. The 53-man roster has to be prepared to ease his transition into the NFL and that’s all a part of this process.

Let’s take a look WHERE on the schedule he fits (If Tua plays)

Week 2: vs. Bills :: The team already announced that Fitzpatrick would start, so no.

Week 3: (Short week Thurs. Game) @ Jacksonville :: If there was ever a spot to get him some confidence it would be against an awful Jacksonville team. The Dolphins do not need Fitzpatrick to have good games, who cares, but putting in Tua on a short week may not make sense.

Week 4: vs. Seahawks :: Okay, here is an interesting spot. The will be a long period after the Thursday game to get ready and the team is at home. The Seahawks defense is still good, but it is not the Legion of Boom like its Super Bowl season. This COULD be a spot to play him.

Week 5: @ 49ers :: If the Dolphins do not use Tua versus the Seahawks there is no chance that this is the spot it would send him out to the wolves. The 49ers defense is too good and a trip out west is not ideal. If he didn’t start Week 4, he isn’t starting Week 5.

Week 6: @ Broncos :: This is pretty tempting place to make the transition. Denver is not very good. Its defense is pretty suspect and while playing at Mile High is not ideal, this could be a place to roll him out.

Week 7: vs. Chargers :: By this time, the Dolphins are likely to only have one victory on the season, if that, and so there is no reason to wait any longer and there is no more safe spot to get him in the mix. Having three out of four games at home and an anticipated high-scoring affair with the Cardinals out there, the Dolphins have to get him in at this point.

Week 8: vs. Rams :: If it hasn’t happened by now, they are waiting til the bye.

Week 9: @ Cardinals

Week 10: vs. Jets

Week 11: BYE

Here is where Tua fits to make the transition as seamless as possible. Week 11’s bye gives the 5th overall pick time to make sure he’s 100% healthy and gives him an extra week to prepare for his debut. Can’t hurt that they AGAIN play the Jets week 12 (probably beneficial for a rookie).

Week 12: @ Jets

Week 13: vs. Bengals

Week 14: vs. Chiefs

Week 15: vs. Patriots

Week 16: @ Raiders

Week 17: @ Bills

Now’s not the time

Give Tua a few games to get his swag on before his first test week 14 against Kansas City. Who knows, maybe the KC matchup ends up 50-36 (Chiefs, of course) and Tua really sticks his chest out?

Letting Ryan Fitzpatrick stink up the field is frustrating, but fans have to stay the course on winning this thing big picture. Walking Tua into a winnable situation is the best way to reinforce the confidence he had coming out of Bama.

Written by Gary Sheffield, Jr

Gary Sheffield Jr is the son of should-be MLB Hall of Famer, Gary Sheffield. He covers basketball and baseball for OutKick.com, chats with the Purple and Gold faithful on LakersNation, and shitposts on Twitter. You can follow him at GarySheffieldJr


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  1. Gary, Dolphin Fan (40 plus years), do it. Put Tua in and fully expect he won’t make week 5. That’s the way it goes. I say put him in knowing he will not last. If he breaks down he breaks down. Learn early and quick what the story will be. I hope the best for him but you know………………it is the Dolphins.

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