Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is embracing a familiar role as a seasoned mentor to star recruit Tua Tagovailoa.
The Dolphins used the fifth pick on University of Alabama QB Tagovailoa in last month’s NFL Draft.
Tagovailoa arrives in Miami amid much hype and well-travelled veteran Fitzpatrick is eager to team up with the 22-year-old.
“I want to go out there and start,” Fitzpatrick told reporters on Thursday in a videoconference. “I know there’s a lot of forces that go into it from all different sides, so whether that happens or not, who knows?”
Fitzpatrick still is not viewing Tagovailoa as an adversary. Though he still intends to hold on to his starting job for as long as possible, the 37-year-old is also looking to help the rookie.
It is a position Fitzpatrick has been in several times before during a nomadic 15-year-career in which he has started games for eight different teams. That experience, coupled with strong play down the stretch of last season, prompted the Dolphins to re-sign the former seventh-round pick to a two-year, $11million contract in March.
Ryan Fitzpatrick met with the media earlier today.https://t.co/wInuq3dfvM
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) May 21, 2020
“I’ve been in this situation before a little bit,” said Fitzpatrick, who has tutored the likes of Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston in previous stops.
“I just try to go in every day and be myself and help them and help the club, try to make sure that they know and they’re comfortable with telling me questions. But I’m also going to express my opinions and thoughts on plays that we’re watching and the process of how I think through it, right or wrong, just to provide them some perspective.
“I’m excited for him to be here,” he said of Tagovailoa. “I loved watching him play in college and I think he’s going to be an awesome addition to the team for a long time.”
Fitzpatrick, who recorded a 95.9 passer rating to help Miami win three of their final five 2019 games, is also excited about a reunion with new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, his former head coach in Buffalo and offensive coordinator during a later stint with the New York Jets.
“Chan was really the first guy who truly believed in me and gave me my shot as a starter, and I’ve always just wanted to prove him right and play well for him. He’s a guy that allows players to play to their strengths,” Fitzpatrick said.
“He’s got an offense that is not very complicated to learn but is very complicated for the defenses, the way they present it to them, and he does a great job of utilising different guys’ talents and putting them in a position to succeed.”