The Aftermath-What Happened To Ryan Fitzpatrick?
The past day and a half has been a whirlwind for the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins coaches and players have had to deal with criticism and commentary from both fans and both the local and national media. To say that Tua Tagovailoa would be the starting quarterback after the bye was a bombshell, to say the least. What we didn’t anticipate though, is why the reactions around the team and outside of the team would be so raw and seemingly visceral.
Take the media talking heads out of the equation. Is the offensive line a concern? Yes. The team still is starting a number of rookies on that unit that will naturally raise the eyebrow of people who don’t necessarily take the time to watch them on an every-play basis. However, it isn’t as much of a problem as most national pundits think it is. That’s not the concern here in Miami. I can even give a pass to the narrative that the media got wind of the change before the team was told; and that usually doesn’t sit well with people when they find out about changes happening through means outside of the intended source.
So that leaves one issue, and that’s Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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For all the positive vibes that we all had as Dolphins fans on Tuesday, that positivity seemingly came to a screeching halt on Wednesday as Fitzpatrick had his media availability and spoke to the people. He went on to express how he felt about the change. I won’t risk misquoting what Ryan said, but he felt the need to go public with how disappointed, hurt, and upset he was with the decision.
This was an about-face to the Ryan Fitzpatrick we saw just two days earlier cheering Tua getting his first snaps in live game time and hyping up the crowd in support of the younger signal-caller. It was also different from when Ryan Fitzpatrick told us that he knew that he was just the place holder for Tua.
It’s ok for him to be in the moment and be upset about it. The team, under his leadership gotten to a 3-3 record, and the playoff buzz started to get louder. The team just got done shutting out the New York Jets, so it’s not inconceivable to note that most teams simply don’t make a major change like that after a shut-out victory and on a two-game winning streak.
The concern is also, to a degree, the locker room. I say to a degree because in the past year and a half head coach Brian Flores has shown that he wants character guys and also shown that it’s his locker room for better or worse, and the players on the team, up until now, have been receptive and bought into that concept. On the surface, these players love Fitz as much as they love Coach Flores. The past year and a half the team has been Fitz’s team, and with Fitz’ being so public about his feelings, coupled with the fact that they heard it from the media instead of from the coaching staff can lead to some malcontent that the Dolphins organization wouldn’t be able to handle, not now with Tua moving to the starting quarterback position.
That’s why the aftermath is so puzzling. If Ryan knew Tua was drafted to be the man and said on multiple occasions that he would support Tua and knows that it will be Tua’s team, why are we having the conversation about how upset Ryan is? He knew this day would come and it is here now. Only Ryan can speak to those concerns.