Tua Tagovailoa throwing a pass

Rookie Tua Tagovailoa is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback. Photo from @MiamiDolphins (Twitter)

  • Rookie Tua Tagovailoa is replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick as the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback
  • Tagovailoa’s Offensive Rookie of the Year odds improved from +5000 to +1400 following the news
  • The Dolphins are 3-3, have won their last two games, and are in second place in the AFC East

The Tua Tagovailoa Era with the Miami Dolphins is, somewhat surprisingly, underway. The fifth-overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft is now the starting quarterback, taking the place of veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Dolphins are currently on their bye week. Tagovailoa will make his first start Nov. 1 against the visiting Los Angeles Rams, a daunting task considering the presence of standout defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

Tagovailoa’s odds to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award improved to +1400 following the news. They were +800 right after the draft in late April but had faded all the way to +5000 after Week 5, when it appeared Fitzpatrick had a hammerlock on the job.

2020 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds

Player Odds
Justin Herbert (Chargers) +155
Joe Burrow (Bengals) +260
Justin Jefferson (Vikings) +750
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Chiefs) +900
Chase Claypool (Steelers) +1100
CeeDee Lamb (Cowboys) +1400
Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins) +1400
Jonathan Taylor (Colts) +1800
D’Andre Swift (Lions) +3800
James Robinson (Jaguars) +3800
Tee Higgins (Bengals) +3800

Odds as of Oct. 20 from FanDuel.

Surprising News

The move to Tagovailoa was unexpected. The Dolphins have won their last two games to even their record at 3-3 and move one game behind the first-place Buffalo Bills (4-2) in the AFC East standings.

Furthermore, Fitzpatrick has played relatively well. He has completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 1,535 yards and 10 touchdowns in six games, though he has been intercepted seven times.

Tagovailoa, meanwhile, did not see the field in the first five games. He made his NFL debut last Sunday in the final minutes of a 24-0 win over the visiting New York Jets.

Tagovailoa completed both passes for nine yards while playing the last five snaps.

Revised Timetable

Flores downplayed Tagovailoa’s cameo following the game. However, it turned out to be a precursor of a switch at quarterback.

Tagovailoa clearly became the Dolphins’ quarterback of future the moment he was drafted, even if The Commish butchered his name.

Yet it looked as though he would back up Fitzpatrick in a transition year before taking over as a starter in 2021. That timetable has been sped up.

It remains to be seen if the Dolphins will limit the offense for Tagovailoa. It seems unlikely, though, as Miami has shown a good pass-run balance this season.

The Dolphins have called rushing plays 44.12 percent of the time, the 11th-highest figure in the league. However, they are 22nd in rushing with 105.2 yards a game, 16th in passing (249.2) and 22nd in total offense (354.3).

Playing Catch Up

Tagovailoa can make a maximum of 10 starts in the regular season.

That puts him behind fellow rookie quarterbacks Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert as far as compiling statistics to sway OROY voters. Burrow has started all six games for the Cincinnati Bengals and Herbert has started each of the Los Angeles Chargers’ last four games after Tyrod Taylor got the nod in the opener.

Both rookie QBs have shined.

Burrow has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,617 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions.

Herbert has a 68.8 completion percentage go with 1,195 yards, nine TDs and three picks.

However, neither one a good record. The Bengals are 1-4-1 and the Chargers have lost all four of Herbert’s starts.

Guiding the Dolphins to some wins – and perhaps a playoff berth for the first time since 2016 — is where Tagovailoa could close ground on Burrow and Herbert.

Worth a Wager?

Tagovailoa is worth at least a small wager at +1400 now that he is a starter. It would be wise, though, to jump on him right now before the odds drop again.

Yet while Herbert is the favorite, Burrow is the best bet at this point. He has put up impressive statistics despite playing on a bad team and that should continue.

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