Tua Tagovailoa is the future of the Miami Dolphins; however, Ryan Fitzpatrick should remain the Dolphins’ starting quarterback for the upcoming season. The 2020 NFL offseason has been like none other, and teams have had to adjust in a multitude of ways from adapting to a virtual draft to hosting offseason Zoom meetings. Teams are not built overnight, and the newly assembled Dolphins need time to build chemistry. Ryan Fitzpatrick has certain intangibles that will help the Dolphins have a successful start to their season. Fitzpatrick has a rapport with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and possesses tremendous leadership skills.
— DolphinsTalk.com (@DolphinsTalk) June 25, 2020
Fitzpatrick has been in the league for fifteen years and has played for eight different teams. Throughout his career, Fitzpatrick has worked with many different players and coaches playing in a variety of schemes. A seasoned veteran like Fitzpatrick can handle this abbreviated offseason because he has so much experience, and he is even familiar with Gailey’s offense. Fitzpatrick played for Gailey on the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills and had some of his best seasons under him. In the 2015 season with the Jets, Fitzpatrick threw for 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns both career highs. When talking to the South Florida media, Fitzpatrick said, “[Chan Gailey] is a guy that allows players to play to their strengths. He’s got an offense that is not very complicated to learn but very complicated for defenses, in the way it’s presented to them.” It makes more sense to start Ryan Fitzpatrick who has worked with Gailey previously rather than Tagovailoa who has no NFL experience, and this also presents Tua an opportunity to heal and learn the new offense.
The Dolphins had a rough start to the 2019 season, but after Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the game against the Washington Redskins in week five, the team turned for the better. Fitzpatrick almost pulled off the comeback, and if it was not for a miss two-point conversion, the Dolphins would have won the game. After week five, the Dolphins became a way more competitive team and won five out of their last nine games. Fitzpatrick was carrying one of the worst offensive lines in the league and became the Dolphins’ leading rusher. Fitzpatrick really displayed his communication, leadership, and toughness down the stretch of the season. The offense was extremely young and raw, and if not for Fitzpatrick’s play, the offense would have not been as successful. Fitzpatrick began to develop amazing chemistry with wide receiver Devante Parker who had a career-high year and receiver Preston Williams who had a promising rookie campaign. It is worth wondering how much more successful Fitzpatrick will have with a much-improved offensive line and a rushing attack. With a better offense around him, Fitzpatrick should pick up right where he left off.
Head coach Brian Flores wants to install a certain culture in Miami, and he wants his players to embody this culture. Flores values leadership, good communication, and toughness. He wants his players to be smart and humble, and Fitzpatrick excels in all of these categories. It was fairly easy to see that coach Flores and Fitzpatrick work well together, and there is a lot of benefits to having an experienced veteran like Fitzpatrick on the field. The Dolphins are very young and green and Flores’s culture still needs to be installed. Having a guy like Fitzpatrick who embodies the traits that the Dolphins value is like having a coach on the field, and his past with Gailey will help the offense transition into the new scheme.
Tua Tagovailoa could also benefit greatly from sitting behind Fitzpatrick. Elite quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes played very little their rookie year. This gave these young quarterbacks time to learn the offense and adjust to the NFL. Fitzpatrick is a model professional, and he is the perfect mentor to help Tua transition smoothly. It is not a bad idea to ensure the health of Tagovailoa given his injury history since there is no rush to start him.