By: Tanner Elliott
When the news got leaked that the Miami Dolphins would be benching Ryan Fitzpatrick for rookie Tua Tagovailoa after the bye week, the reviews were mixed. Some fans and reporters were jumping for joy, while others were questioning the move. “Why now?” was a common question that many people around the NFL (including Dolphin fans) were asking.
Fitzpatrick has not been bad leading up to his benching, but that is it, just not bad. Fitzpatrick’s play thus far through the season has been good enough to lead the Dolphins to a 3-3 record leading up to a moved-up bye week. In Week 1, Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions, which can single-handedly lose a team a game, especially against a Bill Belichick coached team. The following two weeks Fitzpatrick played like an average NFL quarterback throwing four touchdowns, no interceptions, 488 yards and a 78% completion percentage.
Two of the following three weeks is when Fitz determined his own fate. In week four, against the Seahawks, he threw two interceptions and no touchdowns, and Miami kicked five field goals that game. His inability to lead the offense to score touchdowns that game cost the Dolphins the game, a game against an exceptionally good and respected Seattle team. Although that performance may be excused for some people because it was against a good Seattle team, yet spotty secondary, his performance against the Jets in week six cannot be excused.
Even though the week prior against the 49ers Fitzpatrick had a career day throwing for three touchdowns and 350 yards it was a slimmer of hope of FitzMagic. Against the Jets, Fitzpatrick did throw for three touchdowns, but he threw two interceptions on top of that and the offense only put up seven second half points.
His inconstancy is something that the Dolphins as a team can not come back from. In games like the Patriots and the Seahawks, no matter how good the defense or run game was, they could not make up for Fitzpatrick’s mistakes. His inconsistency has already cost the Dolphins two games this season in a wide-open AFC East. The inconsistency and having a tight divisional race were enough for the Dolphins to hand over the keys to Tua.
Tua brings an element of surprise to the offense since he currently has no NFL film. In addition to that, Tua was the quarterback to one of the most exciting and effective offenses in college football the past couple seasons. At Alabama when Tua was quarterback, Alabama had plenty of explosive plays (something that Miami lacks desperately) and almost never settled for field goals. If Tua can bring that same energy to the Dolphins offense as well as being consistent, the Miami Dolphins could be real contenders for the first time in decades.
Please welcome Tanner Elliott to the PhinManiacs staff! You can follow him on Twitter @Elliott302Tj