Brian Flores announced today during his media availability that the Dolphins would make the switch to rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
"We feel like that's the best thing for the team," Flores said. "We talked about it as a staff, with (General Manager) Chris (Grier), the personnel department. We just felt like it was the best move for the team right now. That's how we're going to move forward."
Flores offered his thoughts on the value that veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has provided the team.
"He's been a tremendous asset and leader on this team," Flores said. "He's been great really for the last year and a half. I don't know if there's anybody who has been more instrumental in trying to instill a culture and embody a lot of the things we're looking for from a toughness, competitiveness, team first (standpoint). He's made an impact on Tua, but also a lot of players on this team, so I have a great respect for him. That made this decision very tough."
Today, Fitzpatrick shared his perspective on the switch.
"I know how difficult it is to play quarterback and how important it is to have everyone in that room pull in the same direction," Fitzpatrick said. "I'll have some time to get away and digest it a little bit, but when this thing starts up again I have to do my best for Tua."
"There are two feelings that I have to separate," he added. "One, to be a professional and help Tua out the best I can, and then the feeling of disappointment I have personally."
Linebacker Jerome Baker shared a story of one of his first interactions with Tagovailoa back in training camp.
"One thing that surprised me," Baker said, "when Tua first came in, we went through a few practices and threw so many different looks at him. Instead of him getting down on himself or getting emotional, he came to me and Bobby (McCain) and asked us for advice or anything we see that can get better with. He just truly wants to get better."
"He's a smart, collected young man," Baker added. "He's calm. I think we are all excited. We all know what he can do."
Receptive to the knowledge of the defense, it was the preparation and game planning with Fitzpatrick that really helped accelerate Tagovailoa's learning curve and growth six weeks into the season.
"Having someone like Fitz, you start thinking about what other people are doing," Tagovailoa said. "The defense, how they align to stack formations, how fronts can dictate coverages. Things that I didn't really need to worry about in college I think of now."
That fine attention to detail is a staple of Flores' program– here's what Tagovailoa further had to say about the little tidbits of knowledge he's gleaned from Fitzpatrick.
"It really is about the little things," Tagovailoa said. "And it's not like it stops here. It's a continuous competition with Fitz and what's so cool about it is I can continue to grow and learn from him through this process."
"I think he's practiced well," Flores said of the decision to make the switch. "He works hard in meetings and walkthroughs and he's got a good rapport with his teammates."
Tagovailoa takes over for a Dolphins team that currently sits at .500 and one game back of division leading Buffalo, as well as the AFC's seventh-seeded Indianapolis Colts. Today, he was asked about his goals for the final 10 games of the season.
"My goals are to do whatever I can to help this team become successful, especially our offense," Tagovailoa said. "Everyone knows Fitz has done a tremendous job. I feel lucky that I can continue to learn from a guy like Fitz but also having the mind of Chan to put me in a good position."