Rookie Tua Tagovailoa missed a second consecutive day of practice because of an illness, though head coach Brian Flores didn’t seem concerned about his quarterback situation heading into the game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Ryan Fitzpatrick obviously will get the start as he looks to build on impressive back-to-back performances against the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars, but Tua’s absence from practice has created at least a degree of uncertainty as to who will be the backup against Seattle.
The Dolphins don’t have any quarterback on the active roster, though rookie wide receivers Malcolm Perry and Lynn Bowden Jr. both played the position college — at Navy and Kentucky, respectively.
The Dolphins also have rookie free agent Reid Sinnett on the practice squad.
Yet another option if it ends up that Tua is not available for the Seattle game would be signing a veteran, though getting him ready to play (in case of an emergency) might be tricky.
“Reid has practiced well,” Flores said. “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.”
As for the idea of having Perry and Bowden taking snaps at quarterback, Flores didn’t sound like that was going to happen.
“To throw that on those guys would be a lot, especially as rookies,” Flores said. “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 worst, 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.”
Flores reiterated Thursday that Tua’s illness was not COVID-related.
Among other things Thursday, Flores was asked about how Tagovailoa has been progressing in practice and whether any thought had been given to giving him a series or two during a game.
“He’s doing well,” Flores said. “I think we kind of do a Tua breakdown every week in some form or fashion, and it’s the same, really the same answer. He’s doing well. He’s improving in meetings and walkthroughs, when he gets his reps in practice. He’s making good throws, good decisions. He’s learning. He’s getting better. I think every time he’s on the field for a game, there’s something that comes up where he’s got a question or wants to have a conversation about a situation, so it’s good.
“We’ve got projects for him that he’s working on as well as practice, and he’s just going to continue to get better. When his opportunity presents itself, I think he’s doing all the things that he can do so that if and when that opportunity presents itself, he’ll be ready.
“As far as a series, it’s not really something we’ve talked about, but that could change. But look, as the number two, he’s one play away from being in the game, so he has to be ready to go. It could be a series. It could be for whatever reason he has to be ready to go, which he’s prepared that way.”