Dolphins’ Brian Flores backs Tua Tagovailoa amid report of doubts in the locker room

January 16, 2021

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores expressed his support for Tua Tagovailoa and said he was looking forward to the quarterback’s second season with the team amid a report of doubts in the locker room.

Tagovailoa started a few games for the Dolphins in 2020 but was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick as the season came to an end. Several players told the Miami Herald that they were “unimpressed” with Tagovailoa dating back to his performance during training camp and expected the Dolphins to stick with Fitzpatrick.

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Flores downplayed the report Thursday.

“A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I’m excited about the future with him,” Flores told ESPN. “He’s a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important, like it is for all rookies.”

Flores told ESPN that his message to his team was to “ignore” the outside noise moving forward.

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Flores was asked earlier this month about what the plan was to maximize Tagovailoa’s performance in 2021. The coach said it was too early to evaluate how 2021 was going to go.

“I think you’re way down the road right now. I think we’re just kind of going to take this one day at a time and again, go through our evaluation. Everything is going to get evaluated. I mean we’re thinking about basically the end of 2021 right now – the end of the 2021 season, that’s essentially what that question was. I think right now we’re going to focus on evaluating the team, evaluating the roster and create a vision for what we want 2021 to look like,” Flores said.

“That’s a one day at a time process and that’s kind of the early part of the offseason. I understand the question. I do. But I think the answers to that will come as we go through these evaluations. We’ll probably have better answers then and that will obviously be included in our vision for the team.”

In his first season, Tagovailoa started in nine of the 10 games he appeared in. He recorded 1,814 passing yards, 11 touchdown passes and five interceptions.

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Miami selected him with the No. 5 pick of the 2020 draft. He was coming off a season-ending leg injury at Alabama before turning pro.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.