The 37-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick said he was excited when he found out the Miami Dolphins drafted Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa.
Unlike some of the other teams that may have drafted a young signal-caller this offseason, the Dolphins currently have Ryan Fitzpatrick–a 17-year-veteran at the helm. And with an NFL offseason, unlike anything we’ve ever seen, there’s no need for Chris Grier and Brian Flores to rush Tua Tagovailoa into action. Not yet, anyway.
The truth is, Ryan Fitzpatrick played well enough in 2019 to lead Miami’s roster of misfits to five wins.
Couple that with his familiarity in Chan Gailey’s offense and the uncertain times which lie ahead, and it seems obvious Fitzpatrick is the starter for the immediate future.
But as a Harvard graduate, Fitzpatrick is smart enough to understand that the young, promising rookie will take over. And he knows that may come sooner rather than later.
Fitzpatrick had to say about his relationship with Tua and the QB competition heading into camp.
I DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH TIME IT’LL BE BEFORE TUA (TAGOVAILOA) IS IN THE LINEUP. I KNOW THAT I AM THE PLACEHOLDER AND WE’VE ALREADY HAD THAT CONVERSATION. I TOLD HIM I’M GOING TO DO THE BEST I CAN TO LEAD THIS TEAM AND TO WIN FOOTBALL GAMES WHEN I’M OUT THERE AND WHENEVER IT IS THAT TUA GETS HIS CHANCE, WHETHER IT’S EARLY OR LATE OR WHENEVER IT IS, I’M GOING TO BE HIS BIGGEST CHEERLEADER AND THAT’S WHAT I SAID EARLIER; BUT I THINK I HAVE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE JUST FROM THE CAREER THAT I’VE HAD AND I WAS EXCITED THAT THEY DRAFTED HIM AND SINCE MEETING HIM IN PERSON FINALLY THE OTHER DAY, I’M REALLY EXCITED. I THINK WE’VE REALLY HIT IT OFF AND EVEN THOUGH I’M AN OLD GEEZER TO HIM, WE’VE MESHED PERSONALITY-WISE AND I’M EXCITED TO WORK WITH HIM.”
It is crystal clear that the Dolphins have spoken to Ryan Fitzpatrick about his role in 2020 and his importance in Tua’s development. I think it’s quite telling that he said the two QBs have already had the conversation about him being the placeholder. But like Fitz suggested countless times, he isn’t going just to lay down and let Tagovailoa take the starting QB job. The two players are going to do whatever they can to help the team win ball games–both on and off the field.
Fitzpatrick was then asked what it was about Tua’s personality that brought the two players together.
Here’s what the 37-year-old had to say.
“I DON’T KNOW. I MEAN HE’S A REALLY INTERESTING GUY. HE’S GOT A LOT OF ENERGY TO HIM AND YOU CAN JUST TELL THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO GRAVITATE TO HIM. THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT HIM THAT IS JUST VERY LIKABLE AND I CAN ALREADY TELL THAT HE’S GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE GUYS THAT GETS ALONG WITH EVERYBODY, THAT GUYS ARE GOING TO WANT TO FOLLOW. HE JUST HAS THAT KIND OF AURA ABOUT HIM AND PART OF IT IS PROBABLY THE WAY THAT HE PLAYED IN COLLEGE AND JUST KIND OF THE NAME AND THE REPUTATION THAT HE’S BUILT FOR HIMSELF; BUT THERE’S NOT A WHOLE LOT OF EGO INVOLVED AND HE’S VERY LIKABLE. SO I DON’T KNOW, JUST THE GENERAL CONVERSATIONS WHETHER ABOUT FOOTBALL OR LIFE, IT’S BEEN REALLY FUN SO FAR.”
The 2020 NFL season is going to be like nothing we’ve ever experienced.
But one thing that should be interesting is watching the Dolphins QB room grow from one week to the next.
Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be Miami’s starting QB week 1 vs. the Patriots. But unless he continues where he left off in 2019–the Tua Tagovailoa era in South Florida is inevitable.