By: Jason Sarney
I wrote a month and change ago, that the Spaghetti Western saga that is Ryan Fitzpatrick was not a finale upon losing his starting role with the Miami Dolphins. It was a lead to yet another movie. Not a sequel, per say, rather another Act in what seems to be an endless drama in which no one can predict.
While we have seen The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the crafty veteran, there was a feel we haven’t seen the last of the Outlaw Ryan Fitzpatrick. Returning in a 4th quarter relief comeback attempt last week against Denver, the 38-year-old who celebrated his birthday on November 24th, went 4 for 4 in his pass attempts off the bench.
Remember, last month when losing his role to Tua Tagovailoa, Fitzpatrick said somberly, yet confidently, “"I’m always ready to go; I can probably come out of the stands in 5 years if I need to without having thrown a football."
Fitzpatrick finished his efforts last Sunday with 12-18 passing for 117 yards yet threw a game-clinching interception in the end zone which gave Denver their 4th seasonal win, and Miami their fourth loss. It was that fatal flaw that may resonate with fans, yet he did what he has done for 16 years, and that is show-up, and put his team in a position to compete.
Of course, there are varying degrees of magic to tragic on the Fitz scale, but the journey is nothing short of an adventure, and ready for a script to be penned with the ending still unknown. As if you can’t make more of this up, Fitzpatrick, who is universally loved by all, gets a chance to poetically re-claim his starting job against a former team of his. The same team in which he helped lead a 24-0 victory over, however, was the beginning of the end of his “starter” role, as he was about to enter that next week as a “back-up” once again.
Although initially showing a painfully honest take following that win and “benching,” there was a feeling this was not the last we would see of him, as mentioned, and was truly believed at that moment by yours truly.
There were whispers that there should be a trade concocted, sending Fitzpatrick to a QB needy team in the midst of a playoff run. However – I have some news for you…he is already on a QB-needy team.
The Miami Dolphins need Ryan Fitzpatrick. Week 12’s match-up against the Jets is exactly why. With Tua having a Thumb injury, which could happen to any QB regardless of a medical chart, this is a blessing in disguise.
For all parties.
Tua has a chance to re-watch a veteran. Learn a cadence. A better command of the huddle, and master of getting plays communicated, which he could be doing a better job of going from audio call, to QB-wrist translation, to verbalizing the play to his unit, and marching to the huddle.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has become what is the embodiment of another franchise in a base of fans. While the world of Fin Fans love to love Ryan Fitzpatrick as a person, yet hate to see those mistakes, he is now the Dolphins 12th Man. The Spark off the bench like a NBA 6th man.
Fitzpatrick may play a game and get back to being a back-up, however, if he can secure a Win, he has done his job, and that is what a team is comprised of. Players who make sacrifices, and at the same time are ready to hear their number called, and perform to the best of their ability, because they are prepared and ready.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will be prepared. He will be ready. Will he be perfect? Perhaps not. And Miami does not need him to be. They need him to be the quarterback he was against Jacksonville. That would be the model to hope for, as the Jets are winless, desperate, and even with that, a tad dangerous.
Having said that, this is a game Ryan Fitzpatrick should dominate if not dictate. Lead and not lose. He will do his, and then in all likeliness, return to the normal role…of Back-up Quarterback for the Miami Dolphins…who just may be the most valuable 2nd string player in the National Football League at the very moment.