Dolphins QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is in a very unique situation at this stage in his career. On the one hand, he’s in Miami to be the starter for the 2019 season. He signed his contract expecting that to be the case.
On the other hand, Fitzpatrick is expected to take young players under his wing. That’s what 15-year veterans should do. The Dolphins traded for QB Josh Rosen during the draft. Rosen is only a second-year player and has a lot of learning to do still. Fitzpatrick’s knowledge and experience would be invaluable to a young QB still figuring out the nuances of the NFL.
But Rosen is also Fitzpatrick’s main competition in training camp. Whatever knowledge he passes onto Rosen will technically be used against him as they both compete for the starting job. So how is Fitzpatrick handling this situation?
He’s focusing on improving his own game.
“I’m just trying to be the best version of me that I can be. That really is it.” Fitzpatrick said Thursday. “There are so many things that I’ve just continued to get better at in my game. Knowing who I am as a player and working on my deficiencies, communication is something I try to pride myself on. Just the communication with the guys and making sure we’re on the same page.”
So Fitzpatrick is still gunning for the starting job. So far, he’s doing an excellent job, as Fitzpatrick has outperformed Rosen in nearly every practice they’ve had together prior to training camp. He continued that trend on day one of camp.
But does this mean Fitzpatrick is leaving Rosen to fend for himself? Is he forgoing his veteran duties and forcing the young player to stumble along with no guidance?
The answer, simply, is no. However, he’s taking a more demonstrative approach than anything.
“We spend so much time together – me, Josh and Jake (Rudock) and (Assistant Quarterbacks Coach) Jerry (Schuplinski) in that room as well.” He said. “There’s a lot of stuff that we’ll discuss in that room and some of it is me and my experience and maybe, as a quarterback, you develop scars, bad plays, things that you want to try to avoid.
“A lot of what I do is just offer information and if people want to take the information and go with it, they can. There’s been a lot of situations that I’ve been in – good ones and bad ones – that I try to share with them and pass on. Again, one of my things with that is to work as hard as I can and focus on me, and then hopefully that rubs off on everybody.”
It’s a very delicate balancing act Ryan Fitzpatrick is doing. He wants to help Rosen. He also wants to be the starter. At 36 years old, realistically he doesn’t have much football left. It makes sense that wants to spend his last years actually playing the game he loves. He doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines.
“I hate just giving the same answer but I enjoy being out here and playing football, and try to take advantage of every rep I get.” He said. “I know in this league it’s hard to come by opportunities and you just do the best you can and take advantage of each one that you get.”
So far, he’s on track to get exactly what he wants.