The Miami Dolphins are seeking a new offensive coordinator, but head coach Brian Flores made one thing clear on Thursday: the franchise is sticking behind Tua Tagovailoa.
The rookie quarterback got the ball in Week 8, taking over for Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. After a 3-3 start to the season, Tagovailoa started nine of the last 10 games, going 6-3.
"A lot of attention gets paid to Tua, but I thought he made a lot of improvement over the course of the season. I'm excited about the future with him," Flores told ESPN's Cameron Wolfe. "He's a young player, talented player, bounced back from the hip. I think this is a big offseason for him. That Year 1 to Year 2 jump will be important, like it is for all rookies."
Tagovailoa ended the year with 1,814 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions on 64.1 percent passing in 10 games. His veteran counterpart, Fitzpatrick, collected 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions in nine appearances.
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier stood behind Tagovailoa as the future of the franchise.
"Tua, we're very happy with," he said. "He's our starting quarterback."
According to Wolfe, Dolphins players were split on which quarterback they believed was the best option for the franchise. But the team believes that the Alabama product's bright spots outweigh the rust that comes with any rookie's adjustment to the NFL.
“Criticism comes with the territory in the NFL across the board,” Flores told Wolfe. “Our team did a good job ignoring that stuff. Anyone who saw the Dolphins this year saw we were a tight-knit group and I think that’s still the case. The idea that there is any kind of fracture is overblown. I thought there was a lot of support throughout the locker room."
The Dolphins have interviewed six people for their vacancy at offensive coordinator, including two from inside the organization, according to Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk.