Ryan Fitzpatrick had a solid start to the 2020 season. Not solid enough, however.
At the bye, the Dolphins decided to bench Fitzpatrick for rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick’s comments from the time suggested that he didn’t agree with the move. More recently, he elaborated.
“I have a ton of respect for [Dolphins coach Brian Flores], and we have a very good relationship,” Fitzpatrick told Robert Mays of TheAthletic.com. “But I thought it was a joke at first. We’re putting Tua in? I was floored. . . .
“That was my team . . . I fought through the shit with those guys. I get the way that the NFL works. I get it. But to have it happen the way it did. . . .”
Fitzpatrick isn’t the only one who was surprised by the move. It also caught offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, who exited the job after the season, off guard.
“I was in total shock,” Gailey told Mays. “We didn’t even have a preseason. It was a totally new offense [for Tua]. We were just starting to hit our stride. We’d won two in a row and scored a bunch of points and moved the ball well. It came as a shock to me.”
It shouldn’t have been a complete shock, given that the Dolphins — who had made their desire to find a young franchise quarterback clear — had wanted to trade up for Joe Burrow and then used the fifth overall pick on Tua, leaving Justin Herbert on the board. With the guy they coveted and the guy on whom they passed both playing incredibly well early in the season, the Dolphins surely felt an even greater urgency to get a return on Tua.
The good news for both guys is that, this year, they’re on their own. In Washington, there’s no one for whom Fitzpatrick will be benched, unless he deserves to be. In Miami, there’s no real competition for Tua, in large part because the Dolphins are determined to figure out what they have in Tua.