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Dolphins coach Brian Flores remains confident in rookie Tua Tagovailoa despite benching in loss to Denver

Head Coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins speaks with Tua Tagovailoa #1 during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Head Coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins speaks with Tua Tagovailoa #1 during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Getty Images)

DAVIE, Fla. – The storybook start to Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s career reached its first obstacle on Sunday.

The first-year quarterback looked the part, never able to get into a rhythm or sustain any momentum against a swarming Denver Broncos defense.

The 20-13 loss ended Miami’s five-game winning streak and was the first of Tagovailoa’s brief career.

Head coach Brian Flores confirmed after the game that Tua would be right back under center when the Dolphins face the New York Jets next Sunday in New Jersey, but he was still being questioned about the decision to bench the rookie in favor of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

“I’m always going to try to do what I feel is best for the team in a particular game, and that’s kind of how we felt yesterday,” Flores said. “That’s really it. We couldn’t get into a rhythm really the majority of the first three quarters. It became a two-score game and we felt like we needed a spark and we stuck Fitz in there. We felt like that was the best thing for our team to try to win a ball game last night.”

Despite the setback, Flores didn’t waiver in his confidence and belief in Tagovailoa as his starting quarterback.

“This is a very talented player,” Flores said of Tua. “He’s played well. He’s a young player. He’s an improving player. He’s a developing player. We’ve got a lot of confidence in him and that’s why he’s the starter.”

Tagovailoa was sacked six times on Sunday in Denver after being taken down just four times in his previous three games.

Considering how mobile Tua has been throughout his college and pro career, it came as more than a surprise and led to a fair amount of finger-pointing at Miami’s young offensive line. To his credit, Flores didn’t single out any one unit when asked about the six-pack of sacks.

“We need to do a better job on the o-line, on the d-line, in the secondary, at the receiver position, all positions, players, coaches, everyone,” Flores said Monday. “We didn’t play well enough yesterday to win the game. There are a lot of things that we wish we had back, but we have to just it as a learning experience and we’ve got to move forward. We still have a lot of season left. We need to make the corrections and then try to improve and get better. That’s the only thing we can do.”


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