INSIDE TRAINING CAMP
The Miami Dolphins enter the 2020 training camp on a high note as the team showed massive improvements in the second half of the 2019 season after the majority of issues that former head-coach Adam Gase had created seem to have finally evaporated. The Dolphins started the 2019 season off with 7 straight losses before winning 5 of their last 9 games.
Leading the turnaround was one of the NFL’s all-time most reliable placeholder quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who has had one of the most successful journeyman QB careers of all-time. Fitzmagic brings swagger on and off the field and is generally loved by his teammates which is one of many reasons he has had such a long placeholder QB career.
From a monetary perspective, he has earned north of $63 million dollars so far in his 15-year career. Averaging just over 2 years at each of his NFL stops which includes stints with the Rams, Bengals, Bills, Titans, Texans, Jets, Buccaneers, and last year his frequent flyer mile card showed up in Miami.
On the field, he is often called Fitzmagic for his comeback ability. Considered to be a streaky QB, he often goes from having a great game to looking like he should be bagging groceries at Grocery Outlet.
Statistically, Fitzpatrick is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, that is if the Hall-of-Fame had a category for best journeyman quarterbacks. To this point has thrown for over 32,000 yards. He has 210 touchdown passes against 161 interceptions and has a career passer rating of 81.6
Entering the 2020 season Fitzpatrick finds himself in familiar territory as he gets the opportunity to make another $8 million dollars mentoring the Dolphins future starter and fifth-overall draft pick Tua Tagovailoa.
Hanging With Tua
According to Fitzpatrick, he and Tagovailoa are already hitting it off. “Meeting him in person finally the other day, I’m really excited,” Fitzpatrick said in a recent interview. “I think we hit it off. Even though I’m an old geezer to him, we’ve meshed personality-wise and I’m excited to work with him.”
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald collected a few more quotes from Fitzpatrick’s virtual press conference, and from those quotes, it’s clear the relationship between Fitzmagic and Tua is going to be a good one.
“I don’t know, he’s a really interesting guy. He’s got a lot of energy to him. You can just tell guys are going to gravitate to him. There’s something about him that’s very likable and I can already tell he’s going to be one of those guys that gets along with everybody that guys are going to follow. He just has that air about him. And part of it is probably the way he played in college and just the name and reputation he’s built for himself. But there’s not a whole lot of ego involved and he’s very likable so, I don’t know, just the general conversations whether about football or life — it’s been really fun so far.”
Commenting on that situation, Fitzpatrick said “I don’t know how much time it will be before Tua is in the lineup. I know I am the placeholder and we’ve already had that conversation. I told him, I’m going to do the best I can to lead this team and win football games when I’m out there.”
“And whenever it is that Tua gets his chance, whether it’s early or late or whenever it is, I’m going to be his biggest cheerleader. I think I have a unique perspective just from the career I’ve had and I was excited they drafted him.”
The MIGHTY Line
Entering his 15th season in the NFL, Fitzpatrick has spent his career traveling around the country as a short-term hired gun which when the season is over he will have cleared $70 million dollars in career earnings.
Having a great placeholder quarterback is a luxury that very few teams actually have. With Fitzpatrick dropping back to pass the Dolphins can resist the pressure to start Tua before it is time. Tua and the Dolphins are damn lucky to have a guy like Fitzmagic hanging out as their placeholder QB.