It was deemed a matchup between FitzMagic and Minshew Mania.
Yet another quarterback was the topic of much of the pregame discussion.
As Ryan Fitzpatrick and Gardner Minshew square off in Thursday night’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars, the talking heads were discussing the most mainstream topic regarding this Dolphins team:
When are we going to see rookie Tua Tagovailoa play?
And it sparked quite the heated discussion as ESPN host Laura Rutledge and analysts Keyshawn Johnson and Marcus Spears are in favor of Tagovailoa getting some early repetitions while analyst Dan Orlovsky tried to be a voice of reason.
“Y’all are so wrong on this,” Orlovsky said. "Can we get the kid a year removed from injury? Can we let him [get] a year removed from injury? We’re not even a year from injury.
“And Second of all: They have the worst offensive line in football. They start two rookies. …. You guys want to put Tua out there when this team, they’re not going to the playoffs. They’re not a division champion. And we just want to rush him out there to get him reps?
“I do not want to subject him to the worst offensive line in football and two rookies,” Orlovsky added.
The response from Spears was quite comical.
“Let’s put him in a rose garden and put pillows around him. Let’s crown him with everything that’s protective,” Spears said of Tagovailoa. “The man is healthy. He said he’s healthy. They have said he’s healthy. What are we waiting for?”
Spears believes the Dolphins should allow Tagovailoa, who sustained his hip injury on Nov. 16, 2019, to gradually work his way up with some appearances in games before starting in place of Fitzpatrick.
Johnson said it would be wise to put Tagovailoa in during Miami’s Week 5 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers because of recent injuries.
“It was smart to put Ryan Fitzpatrick in. But I don’t think you wait long for Tua. You get him some reps, even if it’s not starting a full game,” Spears said. "He needs to start seeing some of this action. He’s deemed healthy. Put him in there and see if he can make some plays. And then, you determine how you want to move forward with him.
Added Johnson: “I would say about the fifth game of the year. They’ll going to play the San Francisco 49ers, and San Francisco is banged up. They won’t be that good. You put him in and get those reps, see what he is. You don’t put him in for three or four games at the end of the year.”
ESPN insider Adam Schefter said the talk about Tagovailoa’s eventual action will only persist if Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins play poorly.
“It seems like the more the losses pile up and the more interceptions for Ryan Fitzpatrick pile up, the more there will be calls for Tua Tagovailoa,” Schefter said.
"But there’s no obvious or real pressing need right now to go to him. The Dolphins don’t feel any sense of urgency, especially with their offensive line. They’re not in any rush to do that in this point in time.
“We’ll hear more and more conversation about it, especially after Ryan Fitzpatrick loses some games, throws some picks. But right now, they want to stick with Fitzpatrick,” Schefter added.
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