The Miami Dolphins showed confidence in Tua Tagovailoa's surgically repaired hip by making him the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 draft. Not having an offseason program, however, could throw the plan for the quarterback's rookie season into flux.
The Dolphins snuck in an exam on Tagovailoa in March before team facilities shut down. The assessment helped make the club confident enough to make the pick but doesn't help get him on the field after offseason workouts were scuttled due to COVID-19.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores told Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post on Tuesday that he needs to see Tua on the field for an extended stretch before the QB takes over.
"Yes, he was examined, but again, 'examined' and then doing a two-hour practice and playing in a game -- there's a process to all those things," Flores said. "So, as far as whether or not he can or can't do something, it would be hard to say."
Flores added: "My hopes don't get high or low until I see a guy in a huddle. Until I see a guy make it through practice -- multiple practices -- it's hard to say we're going to do this, that or the other thing at game speed. That's for anyone."
Tagovailoa underwent hip surgery in November. All reports have been positive since, and he was able to do on-field work in the lead-up to the draft. Working in a controlled environment, however, is much different than the crucible of NFL games or practices.
With zero offseason workouts until training camps open -- scheduled for later this month -- Dolphins coaches haven't been able to test out the rookie physically.
"As far as those players who ended up with some injuries, they're all working extremely hard to get back," Flores said. "Some are further ahead than others. We'll see in training camp."
Ryan Fitzpatrick always seemed destined to start the season under center, with Tua taking over as the season progressed. The lack of an offseason program makes that plan even more likely now.