Ryan Fitzpatrick as the early favorite to be the Dolphins starting quarterback in 2019? Say it aint so, Brian Flores.
The first-year Miami coach says Fitzpatrick is in line to start Thursday's preseason opener against Atlanta, also indicating Fitzpatrick of the QB race throughout OTAs, minicamp and through the first 10 days of training camp. This despite Josh Rosen showing improvement over the past week and playing well in last Saturdays intra-squad scrimmage.
But Flores better hope Rosen continues to come on and take over the starting role before the regular-season opener against Baltimore. Because if it's Fitzpatrick at the helm, well weve seen this movie many times before, and it never ends well.
There's a reason Fitzpatrick, 36, is on his eighth NFL team. Yes, he is a gutty guy who has survived 15 NFL seasons. He has had some great stretches like the first three weeks last season in Tampa Bay, where he became the first QB in NFL history Dixon Machado Jersey to have three consecutive games with at least 400 yards. But Fitzpatrick followed it up with a dismal, 126-yard pa sing day in a 48-10 lo s to the Bears and went back to a backup role behind Jameis Winston.
Fitzpatrick's career M.O. is such that hell start a season strong and wind up throwing too many costly interceptions. He has always overestimated his arm strength, and he has just a 60.1 percent career completion rate.
Never was Fitzpatricks tendency to fall short of the postseason more evident than in the final game of the 2015 season, Alex Wilson Jersey when as a Jet with a playoff berth on the line, he threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter of a 22-17 lo s to the Bills.
That was the only season in his career that he had a winning record as a starter, and the lo s to Buffalo was especially painful coming against the team that four years earlier had given him a six-year, $59 million contract only to cut him one year later.
In the following season, Fitzpatrick was wildly inconsistent. He threw for 374 yards to lead a Week 2 win for the Jets over the Bills and then threw six interceptions the next week in a lo s to the Chiefs. In Week 6 of that 2016 season, he was benched and replaced by Geno Smith.
(Did you hear that, Coach Flores? Geno Smith took his spot!)
Flores has spent the past 14 years with the Patriots, including four years Jackie Robinson Jersey in scouting and 10 years as an a sistant coach (special teams and on defense). He has been on a perennial playoff team with Tom Brady, who has helped him earn four Super Bowl rings.
Now he is talking about having a starting QB who has not been on a playoff team in his entire career.
We know Fitzpatrick is bright, and the word out of Miami is he has picked up the offense much better than Rosen has. And yes, the player who performs better should be the starter. But not when you know Fitzpatrick is going to be a short-term player who is unlikely to take the team to the postseason.
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Fitzpatrick is playing under a two-year, $11 million contract (surely with big play time incentives). The Dolphins can cut him in 2020 with a minimal salary cap hit as long as he doesnt reach various incentives this season, which would guarantee $4 million of his 2020 salary.
So why not find out sooner than later if Rosen can be the future in Miami? Because if not, the Dolphins should be Christin Stewart Jersey looking for a franchise QB from the likes of Alabamas Tua Tagovailoa or Oregons Justin Herbert in next years draft if they have another losing season. After all, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier traded second- and fifth-round picks to Arizona to acquire the 22-year-old Rosen, who was a top-10 pick in 2018 only to be jettisoned by the Cardinals when they drafted Kyler Murray first overall this year.
Perhaps Flores is trying to light a fire under Rosen by keeping him in the No. 2 spot as of now. He has been complimentary of Rosens improvement but says Fitzpatrick still holds the lead in a good competition.
"The way I see it right now Fitzpatrick has done a good job and Josh has done a good job,"Flores said. "I see Fitz going with the starters like we have during training camp, but that could change. Ive seen a lot of improvement from a lot of guys.
"Josh is one of them, but he still has a long way to go. By no means are we anointing him or crowning him."
NFL PREDICTIONS FOR 2019:
Its fascinating to see how Fitzpatrick, with a 50-75-1 career record as a starter, can keep landing on new teams. He is the epitome of the term journeyman player. Everywhere he goes, he winds up starting for awhile and then fizzling out.
Yet he keeps getting new contracts because coaches love his intelligence until he makes the next unwise throw that is picked off Jordan Zimmermann Jersey and theyre impre sed with his toughne s as shown by his willingne s to run when nece sary (2,229 career rushing yards with 15 TDs). And any player with the career longevity of Fitzpatrick obviously is a good teammate, another factor in his favor.
But come on, Flores. Dont kid yourself or the frustrated Miami fan base.
The best chance for the Dolphins to be a surprise team in 2019 lies with Rosen. It isnt with the guy who has the catchy nickname ("Fitzmagic") but not the track record to back it up. Shane Greene Jersey
is a former president of the Titans and former vice president/general manager of the Vikings. He was selected NFL Executive of the Year in 1998. Diamond is currently a busine s and sports consultant who also does broadcast and online media work. He makes speaking appearances to corporate/civic groups and college cla ses on negotiation and sports busine s/sports management. He is the former chairman and CEO of The Ingram Group. Follow Jeff on Twitter: @jeffdiamondNFL.