The Miami Dolphins could be free agent shopping this week as backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remains sidelined with an illness. Head coach Brian Flores has stressed multiple times that it is not a COVD-19 issue, but that whatever is wrong with Tagovailoa is continuing. He has missed practice on both Wednesday and Thursday, and it is looking like he may not be ready for this Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
“He’s still under the weather,” Flores said before practice Thursday when asked about Tagovailoa status. “It doesn’t look like he’s going to be out there today, so the most important thing is his health and trying to get him better. Again, (it’s) not COVID-related. We test every day and we continue to test every day; but yeah, he’s under the weather and again, in this climate – I should just go ahead and say he’s not going to practice today unless he miraculously gets better here in the next hour – but in this climate, we don’t want to take any chances, so he won’t practice today and we’ll move forward and practice with guys without him.”
The Dolphins head into this weekend’s game with starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and practice squad quarterback Reid Sinnett. Asked about Sinnett’s readiness to fill in should Tagovailoa miss Sunday’s game, Flores replied, “Reid has practiced well. We’ve gone through all of the contingency plans here, and Reid is obviously a part of that. We’ve gone through it, we’re going through it, and we’ll have someone if Tua is not ready. We’ll see how it goes. We have to obviously plan for the worse case scenario, but we’ll see how this goes over the next couple of days.”
Could the plan involve using either Lynn Bowden, Jr., or Malcolm Perry, both rookie wide receivers who played quarterback in college, as the backup to Fitzpatrick? “Both guys have played quarterback in college; but quarterback in college and quarterback in the National Football League are two different things,” Flores said appearing to shoot down any of that possibility. “We’ll see. Malcolm has yet to be active. Lynn has played sparingly, so we’ll see. To throw that on those guys would be a lot, especially as rookies. I get it, they’ve played quarterback before. I understand the thinking of ‘hey, we can just put them out there.’ I think that’s easier said than done. Look, we have a plan in place. Right now it’s ‘Fitz’ .We’ll see how Tua looks here over the next couple of days. We’ve still got some time. Yes, we have to go about business as if – or plan for the worst, I should say; not even go about business, but plan for the worse, which is what we’re doing. But we still have a few days. Hopefully Tua gets better and again, nothing is more important than his health, and the health of the players on this team. We’re going to do what we feel is best for this team. If that means playing one of those young guys in that type of role, great. But, I think that will be tough in my opinion.”
Could the plan be to look to the free agent market to add a player? Jake Rudock is still unsigned after being released in the middle of last month. He spent 2019 on the Dolphins’ practice squad, so he has some familiarity with the team and the system - though he does not have much time in Chan Gailey’s offense. He could be an option for the Dolphins to make sure they have a backup on Sunday.
The final option would be to just use the temporary practice squad elevation option for this year, activating Sinnett to backup Fitzpatrick. Would Miami trust Sinnett to take the reins should Fitzpatrick get injured?
The Dolphins have to be planning for Tagovailoa to miss the game, while hoping he will recover from his illness. What plan will they execute?