Listening to Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at the Dolphins’ YouTube press conference leading up to preparation for week two against the Buffalo Bills is listening to a quarterback that understands his role: to groom Tua Tagovailoa.
Fitzpatrick’s performance last week against the Patriots was hideous, and this week against the Buffalo Bills was solid, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.
If sportswriters, YouTubers and Twitter fans had their way, Tua would be starting.
The success of the Cincinnati Bengals’ No. 1 overall selection Joe Burrow is only heightening the urgency of the Dolphins’ fan base and NFL fans’ expectations to start the sensation from Honolulu.
Let’s remember, being a quarterback in the NFL is a learning process, and Tagovailoa is still a rookie regardless of how gifted of a player he is.
His career-threatening hip injury in college is another reason the Dolphins are exercising caution.
Tagovailoa is the franchise’s future, after all, and you don’t want to sacrifice him in what appears to be a meaningless game to a team that knows they don’t have playoff aspirations this season.
Despite it being only week two, the coaches, management and ownership of the Fins know what they have already headed into the season, and they want to protect their future.
Fitzpatrick, a Harvard alum, is probably one of the best players Tua can ask for to mentor and groom him for the inevitable.
Fitz knows he is training his replacement, and that sentiment can be felt from both the sportswriters and Fitz himself in the Zoom and YouTube presser.
“I probably talk more (to Tua) on the bench than I normally would between series,” Fitzpatrick said. “Just talking with him, talking through what I am seeing and what we are doing. It’s good for me to walk through those things, especially talking through those things I want him to understand what I am seeing, and be able to ask questions, even in a game setting. I thought we had a good back-and-forth and a good rapport on the sideline.”
Fitz, a 37-year-old veteran, said he was impressed with what he sees from Tua.
“He asked some really good questions, and it seemed like he saw the game pretty decent from the sideline in terms of the stuff we were talking about and some of the questions we were asking,” Fitz said. “It was a good start to build on that communication, just being another set of eyes for me to be able to trust, and I thought he did a nice job.”
Tua’s time will come, and even though in his team’s 31-28 loss to Buffalo he didn’t play a single snap, all Tua fans have to continue to exercise patience.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.