Tua Tagovailoa has his first win as an NFL player under his belt after he and the Miami Dolphins pulled out a victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week. It was his first start in the league after getting drafted No. 5 overall in the 2020 NFL draft. Tua didn't blow anyone away with his performance, mustering only 93 yards and a touchdown on the day, but a win is a win, and the folks down in Miami are surely pleased about it.
They do not seem as pleased about the report Adam Schefter put out into the world hours before Tua took the field as starter for the first time in his young career. On Sunday, Schefter said the Dolphins are starting their rookie QB now in part because they want to "know what they have" ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft, where they're slated to have a potentially top-5 pick courtesy of the Houston Texans. He explained more this morning on Get Up.
Schefter makes a point to note that Miami believes Tua is their guy, but wants to see him in action for the latter half of the season to ensure he is, in fact, the guy they believe he is. It will help guide their decisions in the draft, and that includes potentially taking a quarterback.
Head coach Brian Flores doesn't see it that way at all. He refuted the report during a press conference with reporters on Thursday, saying he doesn't understand how someone knowledgeable about the organization's thought process could say that the rest of the season is, in essence, a 10-game audition for Tua.
As noted in the Get Up segment above, this is not exactly Josh Rosen 2.0. Rosen didn't have anywhere near the pedigree that Tua had as a prospect coming into the draft, and was very clearly overwhelmed in his rookie season as a starter. Tua will be given more leeway because of how good he was at Alabama and the fact that his rookie season did not come with the benefits of a preseason or training camp.
He would have to be really bad for the Dolphins to even think about taking a QB with the Texans pick next April. Flores would never admit it was an audition even if it was, but one game is simply too early to engage in that kind of thinking. Flores will deny it at the podium until the end of the season regardless.