The Miami Dolphins’ decision to draft Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft has put Ryan Fitzpatrick in a position that football fans are quite familiar with.
The veteran quarterback will likely have the inside track toward starting for the Dolphins at the beginning of the season, but will do so while the team’s fans wait for the arrival of their top draft pick.
It’s always a somewhat awkward situation, and Fitzpatrick did his best to navigate it with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday:
“I’m excited. I’m excited that they drafted him,” Fitzpatrick said of Tagovailoa. “I’m excited because I watched him play at Alabama and he looks like he’s a pretty dynamic talent. Just in meeting him a few times, he seems like an unbelievable kid with a great head on his shoulders. He says the right things, wants to do the right things.
“So, for me, I’m his biggest cheerleader right now, but I also want to be out there playing,” Fitzpatrick added.
“I also want to be on the field, and that’s why I’m still doing it is because I still enjoy playing the game. Hopefully some of the lessons I’m able to teach him are him watching me play if, but if it’s the other way around I’m going to do my best to help him succeed the best way he can.”
Fitzpatrick does a decent job of acknowledging both the needs of his team, his new teammate and himself. You can’t blame veteran quarterbacks for wanting to hold onto a starting job, but it’s usually refreshing to see one discussing his likely replacement in a positive manner.
Fitzpatrick actually faced a mildly similar situation with the Dolphins last season when the team acquired former Arizona Cardinals top pick Josh Rosen for a second- and fifth-round pick. The team had signed Fitzpatrick just a month earlier after trading away Ryan Tannehill.
While some figured Rosen would be given plenty of snaps as the younger quarterback on a rebuilding team, it was Fitzpatrick who started 13 games and registered more than 80 percent of the team’s pass attempts. Of course, to put it simply, Tagovailoa isn’t Rosen, and there is little doubt that the Alabama quarterback is the future in Miami.
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