Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed Wednesday morning that the team will start the quarterback Toa Tagophilowa Against the Los Angeles Rams on November 1, after the team’s farewell week.
Flores cited Tagophiloa’s improvement in practice, preparedness, and general feeling within the organization that the time had come.
“We feel it’s through the coaching and mentoring meetings that he’s ready and that’s what we’re going forward,” said Flores. “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] He did a great job. It was a product. His drive was amazing. It is not an easy decision for me or for us as an organization, but we felt like we are for the team now and to move forward, this is the step we have to take. “
Dolphins discussed the move Monday night with coaches and front office staff before deciding to start Tagovailoa. Flores said his presence at Farewell Week helped him and that his NFL debut in Trash Time against the New York Jets on Sunday was another checkpoint that should be written off.
In the end, Flores said the feeling was that Tagophiloa had shown enough behind the scenes to give him the keys to the crime.
“We’ve seen a lot of improvement from Tua,” said Flores. “He got more comfortable – accuracy, decision making was good in practice. But again, coaching is very different to games. We’ll do our best from a meeting, a guided tour, a coaching point of view to get him ready to play in a match. We are clearly comfortable and confident that he is … He will be able to compete in those matches when the time is right. There is a lot to do with that. “
Several Dolphins players told ESPN that Tagovailoa has been impressive in practice in recent weeks, with improvement since boot camp has become more apparent.
Taguviloa declared that he was in 100% healthy shape after his NFL debut on Sunday, and he thought it was important to demonstrate the ability to move as he did on his first statement.
“He has trained well. He works very hard in meetings and consultations. He has a good relationship with his team mates,” said Flores. “Every week we’re going out to win, so yeah, I’m sure that if we get back the way he’s preparing, I’m sure we’ll get out there and get good results. But it’s not a one-man game.”
Flores revealed that he did not get a chance to address the team about the QB change before ESPN and other outlets reported on Tuesday that Tagoviloa was the new midfield captain.
“One unfortunate thing about this situation is that I didn’t get a chance to speak to the team before this got to the media,” said Flores. “That’s not the way I want or want to do it.” “This is unfortunate. I’m not happy with that at all. So I’ll be directing that to the team and apologizing for having to find out about it on social media because I don’t think it’s fair to them.”
The other end of this coin is that the move sends Fitzpatrick, the much loved locker room player, to the bench. He was playing really well, so the move wasn’t about his playing so much as it was about the development of Tagophiloa.
Fitzpatrick has known for some time that this change will come, calling himself Tagovailoa’s “placeholder” and promising that he will be the “biggest fan” of the rookie player when that happens.
“Fitz has been amazing. He’s been really cool for the past year and a half,” said Flores. “I don’t know if anyone has been more effective in trying to instill a culture and embody a lot of the things we are looking for through rigor, competitiveness and team first (perspective). He has had an impact on Tua and a lot of other players on this team.
“I have a lot of respect for him and that made this decision very difficult. At the end of the day, we felt as a team that this was the best thing for the team now and we are moving forward with Toa. Fitz, the way he is self-reliant and his influence on the team will still be there. He was a formidable asset and a leader in This team. “