NFL teams rarely use two quarterbacks, for a variety of reasons. Dolphins coach Brian Flores uses a periodic quarterback system for one important reason: It works.
“We felt like we needed a spark, trying to win the game,” Flores said after last night’s unlikely win over the Raiders, fueled by a stellar performance off the bench by backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. “If we’ve got to go to our relief pitcher in the ninth, that’s what we’ll do. Fitz, he’s always ready to go. He went in and moved the ball for us, but we had contributions from a lot of guys.”
So if Flores calls Fitzpatrick “our relief pitcher,” that’s what he is, right? A late-career Dennis Eckersley with way better facial hair?
“I don’t want to put any labels on,” Flores told reporters on Sunday. “The label is we’re going to do what we’ve got to do to win. I owe that to the Dolphins fans, to the players in that locker room, the people in this organization. So that’s what we’re going to always do, so two-person, three-person quarterback, five-person quarterback; whatever we need to do to try to win, that’s what we’re going to do.”
As long as it works, so be it. It takes a selfless, no-ego, low-maintenance starter to make it work. And that’s what Tua Tagovailoa is.
“Tua is a resilient kid,” Flores said Saturday night. “He’s a tough-minded kid. He’s happy that ‘Fitzy’ went in there and we won the game because he is a selfless, team-first guy. That’s why he is here. We’re always going to do what’s best for the team and try to help the team win.”
And so Tua, as Flores said last night, will start in Week 17 at Buffalo. Maybe Fitzpatrick will finish.