The Miami Dolphins have a new quarterback, one who hasn’t played a snap in the NFL this season and set a slew of records in college.
It’s not who many expected.
The only new quarterback development that Dolphins coach Brian Flores had to offer on Wednesday was this: Miami has signed former Central Connecticut State quarterback Jake Dolegata to its practice squad.
Otherwise, the status quo remains the status quo: Even with trade rumors intensifying, Tua Tagovailoa is Miami’s starter for Sunday’s game at Buffalo, and Flores — as he has on at least two other occasions this season — had to make the same pronouncement.
“Tua is our quarterback,” Flores said.
Cynics may want to tack a “for now” onto that statement, for understandable reasons. The Dolphins and Houston Texans have talked about a trade for embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson, who is accused of sexual assault and misconduct in lawsuits filed by 22 women. He has not been charged and has not played this season for the Texans.
Tagovailoa was asked about the rumors Sunday after a loss to Atlanta, was asked about them Wednesday and — unless a deal happens before then — will likely be asked again this weekend after the Dolphins play the Bills.
“I don’t not feel wanted,” Tagovailoa said Wednesday, who insisted that he doesn’t even know when the trade deadline is. “That’s what I can say.”
If true, he might be one of the few central characters in this tale who does not know that the deadline is Tuesday at 4 p.m.
The Dolphins are 1-6, losers of six straight, tied with Houston for the second-worst record in the NFL. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to address the matter when spotted by reporters in New York at the NFL meetings Tuesday.
At the team facility, Flores said it’s business as usual.
“We’re talking about the Bills. We’re talking about the Bills,” Flores said. “We’re talking about individually trying to improve and get better in practice. Here are the things we need to do this week against this team. That’s kind of the conversation. There’s no conversation about trade deadlines.”
Tagovailoa’s numbers are not eye-popping, nor are they the sort that would suggest he’s the biggest reason — or even one of the biggest reasons — why the Dolphins’ season has gone haywire.
Among the 33 passers with at least 100 attempts this season, Tagovailoa’s rating is 95.1. That’s only 19th-best in that group, but within three ratings points of the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Matt Ryan.
“I don’t base my emotions off of who says anything about me or who’s saying what,” Tagovailoa said. “All I can do is my job and do it to the best of my capabilities. Everything else, it’s out of my control. I have the utmost confidence and trust that I am the quarterback of this team and just off of conversations that I’ve had with Flo and whatnot — obviously stays between us — but, yeah, I feel very confident that I’m the person.”
Among those 33 qualifiers, Tagovailoa’s completion rate of 69.5% is sixth best. But whether he remains Miami’s quarterback, or if the QB room at the Dolphins’ facility is a little more crowded a week from now, remains anyone’s guess.
“I don’t really get into rumors,” Flores said. “I don’t really pay attention to rumors and hypotheticals and this and that. Tua is our quarterback. I’ve said that multiple times and I’ve said that to him.”