Tua Tagovailoa to sit for Dolphins’ final preseason game vs Bengals

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Miami Dolphins second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has enjoyed a successful preseason campaign — efficiently moving the offense in both of his showings in August. The contest against the Chicago Bears was marred by one poor decision, which just so happened to be his final throw of the contest and was intercepted in the end zone. Against Atlanta? Tagovailoa started out scorching hot and finished with one half of play and nearly 200 yards passing against the Falcons.

He’s apparently shown the coaching staff enough — Dolphins head coach Brian Flores said today that Tagovailoa will not be among the starters who gets game action in the team’s third and final preseason contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.

It isn’t too surprising of a decision on a number of fronts. When you consider just how well the offense played against Atlanta, it would seem as though the “dress rehearsal” for Miami went about as well as could be hoped for. Why not end the preseason on a high note and transition into preparations for the start of the regular season against the New England Patriots?

There’s also the risk of injury. Tagovailoa is entering into his second year of NFL play and still has to play a full season to alleviate some of the durability concerns that dogged him at college. Tagovailoa missed a start in 2020 as a rookie due to an injury to his throwing hand suffered at practice, too. An innocent enough accident; but none the less there’s little reason to risk Tagovailoa in an exhibition at this point in the process.

And finally, this is standard operating procedure for the NFL. Most teams will typically sit starters and evaluate the bottom half of their roster throughout the final preseason game in hopes of clarity on who should earn those final few spots on the active roster. Flores certainly wouldn’t make any decisions just because it is what the league does; but embracing this mentality is generally par for the course.

And so it is decided. Tagovailoa can rest up and begin his transition into regular season preparations. Starting now.