In a surprising move, Tua Tagovailoa recently became the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins. This comes after Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the Dolphins to a hot start this year, and actually has them in a position to contend for a division title. Miami, however, appears to be preparing more for the future, though, with the decision to start Tagovailoa. The news was ultimately not easy for Fitzpatrick to hear, as he has since expressed his disappointment with the decision.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the Miami Dolphins to a hot start
This season, Ryan Fitzpatrick has led the Miami Dolphins to a 3-3 record, which is just one game back of the Buffalo Bills for first place in the AFC East. Fitzpatrick — who has played well at times throughout his entire career — has been pretty good for the Dolphins this year. He has thrown for 1,535 yards, 10 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
However, everyone assumed this offseason that the Dolphins were most likely going to switch to Tua Tagovailoa at some point this year. They just didn’t expect the Dolphins to be in the position they are in now.
Tagovailoa was a star in college at Alabama. After helping lead the Crimson Tide to a national championship win in 2017, he was arguably the best player in college football in 2018. He threw for 3,966 yards, 43 touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Tagovailoa was then great again in 2019 as he threw for 2,840 yards, 33 touchdowns, and three interceptions, but a hip injury limited him to nine games.
Despite the injury, though, the Dolphins took Tagovailoa with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Tua Tagovailoa is now the starting quarterback for the Dolphins
In a Week 6 game against the New York Jets, Tagovailoa made his first appearance in an NFL game. He ultimately completed two-of-two passes for nine yards.
A couple of days later, the Dolphins then made Tagovailoa the team’s starting quarterback.
“We feel like through practice meetings and walk-throughs that he’s ready, and that’s how we’re going moving forward,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said, according to ESPN. “[Ryan Fitzpatrick] has done a great job. He’s been productive. His leadership has been great. It’s not an easy decision for me or us as an organization, but we felt like for the team now and moving forward, this is the move we needed to make.”
Tagovailoa will get the start on Nov. 1 after the Dolphins’ bye week.
“We’ve seen a lot of improvement from Tua,” Flores said, according to ESPN. “He’s gotten more comfortable — accuracy, decision-making have been good in practice. But again, practice is very different than games. We’re going to do everything we can from a meeting, walk-through, practice standpoint to get him ready to play in a game.”
Ryan Fitzpatrick expressed his disappointment about getting benched
Since the Dolphins have played so well with Fitzpatrick during their first six games, it appears that he didn’t expect to get benched at this point in the season. He seems pretty disappointed about it too.
“I was shocked by it,” Fitzpatrick said, according to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero. “It definitely caught me off guard. It was a hard thing for me to hear yesterday, just digesting the news. My heart just hurt all day.”
He continued: “I’ve been a starter, I’ve been benched all kinds of different ways … but this was kind of the first place other than Buffalo that I’ve been fully committed and invested. I felt it was my team.”
Fitzpatrick did admit that he ultimately knew this would happen eventually.
“We’ve talked in the past, me and you guys, about how I’m the placeholder,” Fitzpatrick said, according to Clay Ferraro on WPLG. “This eventually was going to happen. It was just a matter of when, not if. It still just, it broke my heart yesterday, and it’s a tough thing for me to hear and to now have to deal with, but I’m going to do my best with it.”
He also highlighted the awkwardness of being a professional athlete.
“I basically got fired yesterday and my day today consisted of Zoom meetings with the guy who fired me and sitting in a room with the guy who replaced me for four hours,” Fitzpatrick said, according to Salguero.
Fitzpatrick has not been a franchise quarterback in his career, but he has still been effective and has been a great teammate. It is certainly tough to see him heartbroken over losing his job.