Brian Flores says he never lost confidence in Tua Tagovailoa last season

Joe Burrow began the season as the Bengals’ starting quarterback and kept the job until he injured his knee in Week 10. Justin Herbert unexpectedly took over as the Chargers’ starter in Week 2 and never gave the job back to Tyrod Taylor.

The quarterback drafted between Burrow and Herbert in 2020 — fifth-overall choice Tua Tagovailoa — had to wait his turn, and even then, his hold on the job was tenuous.

Tagovailoa went 6-3 as the Dolphins’ starter, but coach Brian Flores twice pulled him for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick rallied the Dolphins to a victory over the Raiders and nearly led a comeback over the Broncos.

Flores said it was not a sign of lost confidence in Tagovailoa, but in-game decisions that gave the Dolphins the best chance to win. Miami went into Week 17 in the playoff race.

“Last year’s situation is . . . we’ve talked about this numerous times,” Flores told Peter King in Football Morning in America. “If he had started the season, we wouldn’t have pulled him. We put him in. We’re in a playoff chase. At that point, it’s hey, we’ve got to do whatever we’ve got to do to try to win. But no, my confidence wasn’t shaken in him.”

The Dolphins did not re-sign Fitzpatrick, who now is the starter in Washington. That leaves the job firmly in Tagovailoa’s hands this season with Jacoby Brissett now backing up Tagovailoa.