Ryan Fitzpatrick has been in the NFL for 15 years and has played for a whole bunch of coaches through the years.
But it was under Chan Gailey that he started 16 games in a season for the first time, which happened in 2011. It also was under Gailey that Fitzpatrick had his best season in terms of passing yards and touchdown passes, which happened four years later.
Those two milestones happened with the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets, respectively, and now the two have been reunited at a third different stop in the AFC East, the Miami Dolphins.
Not surprisingly, Fitzpatrick likes the way of playing for Gailey again.
"Chan was really the first guy that truly believed in me and gave me my shot as a starter," Fitzpatrick said in a video conference call Thursday. "I've always wanted to prove him right and to play well for him. He's a guy that allows players to play to their strengths. He's got an offense that is not very complicated to learn but very complicated for defenses, in the way it's presented to them.
"He does a great job of utilizing different guys' talents, to put them in a position to succeed, and not necessarily telling them there is a certain way to do it. But allowing them some freedom and flexibility, within certain constraints, to do the best job that they can. I think guys have always enjoyed playing for him, for that reason. I've got a ton of confidence and trust in him. And I know he feels the same way about me."
Fitzpatrick was in his second season with the Bills when Gailey arrived as head coach in 2010 and spent three years together in Buffalo.
After one-year stints with the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans, Fitzpatrick joined the New York Jets in 2015 and Gailey was his offensive coordinator for the next two seasons.
It was during that 2015 season when Fitzpatrick put up his career-high numbers with 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns.
Amazingly, Fitzpatrick's top four seasons in terms of touchdown passes came with Gailey, the three years in Buffalo and that 2015 season in New York.
Fifth on Fitzpatrick's season-high list was the 20 he threw for the Dolphins in 2019 on his way to being named team MVP and earned praise from both Coach Brian Flores and General Manager Chris Grier.
"My career has definitely been a progression," Fitzpatrick said. "And finally becoming a starter, and then trying to hang on to that job, wavering in confidence a little bit, and right now, where I’m at in my career, I mean, it’s nice to hear those things. But those are things you see and you feel every day with your teammates, that I was able to see and feel every day at the end of last year, the way that we kind of had things going and the confidence that was in the building. So that stuff is nice to hear, but it’s stuff that you can kind of feel throughout the building as well."
Before he joined the Dolphins last year, Fitzpatrick had his best season in terms of passer rating when he had a 100.4 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To start that season, Fitzpatrick became the first NFL quarterback with three consecutive 400-yard passing games while Jameis Winston sat out a league suspension.
Fitzpatrick often said last year he felt he's just gotten better and better through the course of his career.
Though he obviously will have to hold off rookie first-round pick Tua Tagovailoa to keep the starting job, it could be interesting to see what he could accomplish in a third go-around with Gailey.