Brian Flores assesses Tua Tagovailoa’s progression. And Dolphins injury updates

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Brian Flores might have given the understatement of the season regarding quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, one day after his 13th career start in the NFL.

“It’s been an unusual kind of year and a half for a number of reasons,” the Dolphins coach said Monday.

There was the severe hip injury in his final season at Alabama that made many question his NFL future and longevity. A rookie season warped by the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented a traditional offseason workout program and training camp. A setback to his second season, missing three games with fractured ribs. And the latest development clouding him: renewed reports of the organization’s continued interest in trading for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Through it all, and even with revealing that a discussion took place with Tagovailoa about the “outside noise” in the lead-up to the team’s 30-28 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Flores said he has seen a player who hasn’t been shaken by early career adversity and has continued to grow.

“I think he’s been locked in and I think he’s played well the last two weeks,” Flores said. “Not perfect, but I think he’s played well and moved the ball, giving us a chance to win the last couple weeks. We haven’t been able to pull it out, but I think his psyche, he’s in the right frame of mind.”

As Flores said, Tagovailoa’s return to the lineup hasn’t been enough to end a now-six-game losing streak for the Dolphins. But he has had arguably the best two-game stretch of his career, leading go-ahead scoring drives in the fourth quarter against the Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars. Pro Football Focus has graded Tagovailoa as one of the offense’s top two best performers in each of the last two games.

Whether Tagovailoa’s potential in a limited body of work will be enough to dissuade the Dolphins’ front office from making a move for Watson ahead of the Nov. 2 trade deadline remains to be seen. But publicly, Flores continues to vouch for his second-year quarterback.

“I think he’s getting better every time he steps on the field,” Flores said. “I think he’s pushing the ball down the field more, he’s making better decisions. I think he’s making quicker decisions. I think he’s doing a lot of things. Look, it’s a small sample size, but every time he steps out there, I see progress. I saw it yesterday for sure. I think he showed some grit and some growth, dealing with some adversity, dealing with a couple interceptions and then coming back and giving us an opportunity to win the game at the end.

“He’s a young player. Everyone develops at a little bit different pace, but I think he’s doing a lot of good things.”

Injury updates

Flores said running back Malcolm Brown and safety Jason McCourty, who left Sunday’s game with injuries, will go on injured reserve, sidelining them for at least three games.

Brown got the start at running back but played just five snaps before leaving with a quad injury. McCourty played 28 snaps and left in the fourth quarter with a foot injury. According to NFL Network, McCourty’s injury may require surgery, which would likely keep him out for longer than three games.

Linebacker Jerome Baker, who left early with a knee injury, is day to day, Flores said.

Flores also said a pair of players eligible to return from IR, center Michael Deiter and wide receiver Will Fuller, likely won’t return in time for the team’s Week 8 road game against the Buffalo Bills. Deiter has missed the last four games with a foot and quad injury, while Fuller hasn’t played since Week 4 because of a broken finger.

Dolphins signing former UM standout

Flores confirmed the team is signing safety Sheldrick Redwine, a former All-Atlantic Coast Conference player at the University of Miami, from the Carolina Panthers practice squad. The move was first reported by ESPN.

Redwine, drafted in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns, has appeared in two games with the New York Jets this season. He’s played 21 defensive snaps and 14 special-teams snaps, recording six combined tackles.

Redwine, 24, has appeared in 29 games and made eight starts in his three-year career. He provides another option on special teams and depth at safety with McCourty sidelined for the foreseeable future.

“We had some love for him coming out [of college],” Flores said. “He’s got some ability. We’ll get him here, kind of teach him the system, try to get him going. Plays in the kicking game, as well.”

This and that

  • Former Dolphins quarterback Reid Sinnett, waived last Saturday to make room on the active roster for wide receiver Isaiah Ford, was claimed off waivers by the Philadelphia Eagles. Flores said the team would like to re-sign Sinnett to the practice squad if he went unclaimed but will have to look elsewhere now with just two quarterbacks on the team.

  • The Dolphins worked out former Green Bay Packers punter J.K. Scott.

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