Ryan Fitzpatrick couldn’t believe when Miami Dolphins replaced him with Tua Tagovailoa as starter

Tua Tagovailoa and Ryan Fitzpatrick Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick explained that he was caught completely off guard when the team decided to pivot to Tua Tagovailoa for the starting job last season.

“On the Monday of Miami’s bye week in late October, the veteran QB was riding high after two scorching performances by the Dolphins offense,” wrote Robert Mays of The Athletic. “Head coach Brian Flores summoned him to his office. Flores told him that the team was making a quarterback change. Tagovailoa would spend the bye week getting ready and would start the team’s next game, against the [Los Angeles] Rams.

“‘I have a ton of respect for [Flores], and we have a very good relationship,’ Fitzpatrick said. ‘But I thought it was a joke at first. We’re putting Tua in? I was floored.'”

Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins to a 3-3 record before Tagovailoa was named the starter. While the team’s results were underwhelming, Fitzpatrick had been playing well leading up to the change.

When Tagovailoa got the nod for the starting job, many Dolphins fans were excited to see the rookie in action. However, things didn’t exactly pan out. The former first-round pick struggled at times, as he completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 1,814 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Miami’s offensive coordinator at the time, Chan Gailey, was also confused with the move.

“Gailey, who had been hired as the team’s offensive coordinator before the season, learned about the move only a few hours before his longtime quarterback,” wrote Mays. “‘I was in total shock,’ Gailey said. ‘We didn’t even have a preseason. It was a totally new offense [for Tua]. We were just starting to hit our stride. We’d won two in a row and scored a bunch of points and moved the ball well. It came as a shock to me.’”

Although Fitzpatrick understood the move, he was understandably upset.

“That was my team,” Fitzpatrick said. “… I fought through the s— with those guys. I get the way that the NFL works. I get it. But to have it happen the way it did …”

Ultimately, Fitzpatrick found himself getting playing time later in the season in high-leverage spots. The team seemed to prefer the veteran to Tagovailoa in those situations.

Even despite battling for the starting job, it seemed like Fitzpatrick was a great mentor to Tagovailoa. The two worked closely together, and the rookie seemed to benefit greatly.

Tagovailoa won’t have that luxury in the upcoming season, as Fitzpatrick is set to spend the year with the Washington Football Team.