Dolphins coach Brian Flores, unsolicited, took issue with a recent ESPN report that stated part of the reason the Dolphins are starting Tua Tagovailoa now is to get an evaluation of him over the last 10 games of the season — and they might draft another quarterback if that audition goes poorly.
“We brought Tua here because we believe in him, along with all of the other picks,” Flores said. “We believe in developing players, improving players on a daily basis. That would be the opposite of giving someone a 10-game audition.”
He added: “Since I’ve been here, everybody’s heard me talk about the development of players. I just can’t see how someone close to Dolphins thinking could say that.”
Flores was responding to a report from ESPN Sunday that stated “one factor that contributed” to the team’s quarterback switch was the fact the Dolphins own the Texans’ first and second-round picks, each of which could be in the top 5 and in range to take another QB if Tua flops.
And here’s the passage of the story that Flores specifically called out:
“That’s definitely a part of it,” one source close to the Dolphins’ thinking told ESPN, regarding Miami’s recent decision to replace popular veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick with Tagovailoa. “Whoever told you that is right.”
Tagovailoa will make his second NFL start this weekend in Arizona, looking to improve on a modest start to his career. He completed 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown Sunday.
Myles Gaskin to IR
Myles Gaskin is headed to injured reserve due to an MCL sprain, which means he will miss the next three games. Gaskin does not need surgery, NFL Network reported Thursday.
But that’s just the beginning of the Dolphins’ bad news at running back.
Their No. 2 pick, Matt Breida, sounds questionable — at best — for Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.
“He’s still got a chance [to play],” Flores said. “Hamstrings are tough. We’ll see how this goes throughout the week. Again, we like the depth at that position and we’ll see how it goes.”
That depth includes Jordan Howard, who will almost certainly play Sunday after being a healthy scratch the last three weeks. Howard has 14 yards on 18 carries this season.
“He’s always practiced hard. I think he’s a good runner,” Flores said of Howard. “He’ll get an opportunity. Salvon Ahmed, Patrick Laird, we like our depth at that position. Those guys will get an opportunity. If they practice well, hopefully they perform well in a game.”
▪ Flores on left tackle Austin Jackson, who practice Wednesday after missing the past month with a foot injury:
“He went through a couple of drills. Like any player, when you’re out for some weeks, there’s a little bit of rust. … We’ll take it day to day.”
▪ Flores’ thoughts on wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who practiced for the first time Wednesday after serving an eight-week suspension to start the season: “It was one practice. I’ve seen him in cleats now, seen him in a helmet. He worked hard in practice yesterday.
“The opportunities I’ve had to spend with him, he’s excited about being here, being able to practice and play football. When you have someone with that type of attitude. you hope the best for him. He’s got to do the work. What I think doesn’t matter. It’s about his work ethic and his ability to take advantage of this opportunity.”