Dolphins downgrade Tua Tagovailoa, return to Ryan Fitzpatrick against Jets

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins. (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins. (Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) /

With Tua Tagovailoa downgraded due to a thumb injury, the Dolphins turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Miami Dolphins are looking to remain in the hunt for the AFC playoff. If they hope to win Sunday, they’ll be doing so without their hopeful franchise quarterback.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that rookie Tua Tagovailoa was been downgraded from questionable to doubtful with a thumb injury. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is expected to start against the New York Jets.

Tagovailoa suffered the injury during this week in practice. Dolphins coach Brian Flores to members of the media that the former No.5 overall pick’s thumb was “a little banged up” but also nothing to worry about. It seems like a setback perhaps cost Tagovailoa a chance to pick up his fourth win under center.

Flores also came under fire last week following the benching of Tagovailoa during the team’s 20-13 against the Denver Broncos. The former Alabama product struggled to connect with any of his targets against Vic Fangio’s defensive front. He finished 11-of-20 for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Is this a bad sign for the Dolphins’ offense?

Tagovailoa has made the most of his role in a simplistic system under Flores and Chan Gailey’s direction thus far. In four starts, he’s thrown for 58-of-95 passes for 593 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Better than that, he’s 3-1 since taking over the reins in Week 8 against the Rams.

The Jets will be getting third-year pro Sam Darnold back in action after missing the past two games with a shoulder injury. The 0-10 gang green currently looks to be in a position to draft Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence No.1 next April. Any progress from Darnold though will at least boost his trade stock this offseason.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick should be ready to face against his former team in MetLife Sunday afternoon. Earlier this season, the journeyman tallied 191 yards and three first-half touchdowns during the team’s 24-0 victory. However, he also threw a pair of interceptions late.

Tagovailoa is the future for at least 2021, but any injury for a left-handed quarterback could be problematic. Even though not ideal, it’s best to rest him down the stretch and hope the team can duplicate their success from Week 6 into Week 12.

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