Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said on Wednesday that he was shocked to learn that the team decided to bench him in favor of first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa this week and the rookie was taken aback by the timing of the move as well.
Tagovailoa spoke to reporters on Wednesday and said that he “thought it was like any other call” to watch film when head coach Brian Flores reached out to him to inform him of the decision. It has been almost a year since Tagovailoa’s serious hip injury while at Alabama and he said “it’s definitely been a journey” to get to this point, although the good feelings are tempered a bit by his close relationship with Fitzpatrick.
“I was very excited,” Tagovailoa said, via Hal Habib of the Palm Beach Post. “That’s news that I think anyone would love to hear, being named the starter at any position. But at the same time, I also felt for Fitz as well. Me and Fitz had a conversation about all of this. It kind of hurts me in a way to see Fitz hurt. . . . Everyone knows Fitz has done a tremendous job. I definitely feel I’m lucky, I’m blessed to be in a situation where I can continue to learn from Fitz.”
Having Fitzpatrick around should benefit Tagovailoa, but the real learning process is now going to take place on the field as he works to make sure his game is where it needs to be in order to thrive in the NFL.