Ryan Fitzpatrick says he's Tua Tagovailoa's biggest cheerleader right now and will do whatever he can to help him, but that doesn't mean he's ready to step aside without a fight.
The veteran Dolphins quarterback believes there are a lot of things he can teach Tagovailoa, and one way he can do that is through example by Tagovailoa watching him as he continues to lead the Dolphins offense.
"I’m really excited," Fitzpatrick said Wednesday on former Buffalo Bills teammate Eric Wood's podcast, "What's Next." "I’m excited that they drafted him. I’m excited because in watching him play at Alabama, he looks like a pretty dynamic talent. Just in meeting him a few times, he seems like an unbelievable kid, great head on his shoulders, says the right things, wants to do the right things, so like — for me — I’m his biggest cheerleader right now, but I also want to be out there playing. I also want to be on the field because that’s why I’m still doing it, because I still enjoy the game.
"Hopefully some of the lessons I’m able to teach him are (from) him watching me, but if it’s the other way around, I’m going to do my best to help him succeed in the best way that he can.”
It's pretty much the same approach Fitzpatrick took last year after the Dolphins traded two draft picks to acquire 2018 10th overall pick Josh Rosen in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals — a month after Fitzpatrick signed with Miami as a free agent.
“The other thing is bringing a new guy is that I always try and impress right away on these guys is: I am here," Fitzpatrick said. "Again, zero ego, I have so much knowledge. I’ve made so many mistakes in this league, in terms of dumb decisions and throws. I’ve learned how to prepare, I’ve learned so much about offenses and defenses and the way guys operate.
"Ask questions. Like, I’m an open book. Ask me whatever you want. Sometimes it’s up to the younger guy to — courage might not be the right word — but to have the courage to come up and ask questions and to not feel like he’s a bother or a pain in the butt. I just try to be open and honest with everything that they want to talk to me about, because — I talk to my wife about this all the time — when I’m done playing football, if I exit that world and don’t either do what you're doing (podcasts) or transition to another role around football, I have so much knowledge in my mind that I’ve built up that like then just goes to waste. So I want to pass on all these experiences and lessons and things that I’ve learned to younger guys, because when I came in, I had the same thing. I had guys that taught and showed me the way."
Fitzpatrick started 13 games for the Dolphins last season, including the final 11, and helped Miami go 5-4 in its final nine games.
On his way to earning team MVP honors, Fitzpatrick passed for 3,529 yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and led the team in rushing with 243 yards. Over the final nine games, Fitzpatrick had 10 touchdowns against three interceptions and a passer rating of 95.9.