The Miami Dolphins will reportedly replace veteran NFL quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick with rookie Tua Tagovailoa for their upcoming game against the Los Angeles Rams, according to ESPN. Fans were quick to criticize the recent announcement on social media, and many were upset due to Fitzpatrick performing extremely well in the past few games.
Fitzpatrick has thrown for 10 touchdowns and averaged over 255 yards per game this season, the latter being the second-highest of his entire career, according to Bleacher Report. Additionally, he has led Miami to a 3-3 record, putting them only one game behind the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills.
Some Dolphins fans expressed their anger over the lineup change on Twitter. Most were confused as to why the coaching staff would switch things up when the squad has finally started to gain positive momentum and has a chance at making the playoffs for the first time since 2016. One person even claimed the shift was "the stupidest move of the year" in a recent tweet.
Other Twitter users were concerned about whether or not Tagovailoa would be ready to compete consistently at a high level, as well as the backlash the organization would face if he ruined the club's playoff chances.
The Week 8 start for Tagovailoa will mark the second time he will see action in the NFL. He made his debut last Sunday during the team's 24-0 victory over the New York Jets. The first-round pick was always expected to replace Fitzpatrick eventually. However, the coaching staff wanted him to fully recover from his injury before he returned. Tagovailoa suffered a hip dislocation, and head coach Brian Flores did not want to rush him into returning.
"Look, the honest thing for me is if it was my kid, and he had a serious injury like that, I wouldn't want his coach to throw him in there because of media pressure or anything like that," Flores said earlier in the month.
"That's kind of how I approach this situation and really all situations. The players, essentially, they are my kids. So no one is going to pressure me into doing anything. When we feel like he's ready to go, we'll put him in."Tagovailoa remarked how supportive Fitzpatrick, a 16-year veteran, has been in educating him about different aspects of the game. He also claimed that there is "no animosity" between the two because of the change.
"I'm very fortunate to have a mentor like him," the rookie said.