Four days after the New England Patriots named Cam Newton as their starting quarterback heading into the regular season, their opening day opponent has done the same: as was announced by Miami Dolphins head coach and former Patriots defensive play caller Brian Flores during a media conference call on Monday morning, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the team’s QB1 when it visits Gillette Stadium on Sunday.
While the Dolphins did hold what appeared to be an open competition this summer between first-round rookie Tua Tagovailoa, former (and since-released) first-round selection Josh Rosen and Fitzpatrick, the latter was always expected to come away victoriously. Kevin Nogle of Pats Pulpit’s sister site The Phinsider said the following about the race:
Fitzpatrick was always expected to be the starter, though the Dolphins considered the position open to competition this summer between all three quarterbacks. His experience and his familiarity with new Miami offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, for whom Fitzpatrick has played previously, as well as health concerns about Tagovailoa, seemed to ensure he would retain the starting position early in the season. The Dolphins could look to move Tagovailoa into the starting lineup later in the season.
Tagovailoa, of course, entered the league as a highly-touted prospect out of Alabama earlier this year. Given that he ended the 2019 season on the sidelines after dislocating his hip, however, he was no safe bet to be ready heading into the season. It seems that he is, but he will be groomed behind the scenes for the time being as Miami will rely on the 37-year-old Fitzpatrick to lead the offense early on during the 2020 campaign.
For him, this situation is not a new one. Fitzpatrick, who entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick in 2005, has started 139 games over the course of his 15-year career so far. 13 of those came last year after he arrived in Miami in free agency, including two games against the Patriots.
In Week 2, Fitzpatrick completed 11 of 21 pass attempts for just 89 yards and three interceptions — two returned for touchdowns — as the team was blown out 43-0. In Week 17, however, he got his revenge by leading Miami to a 27-24 upset win in Foxborough while going 28-of-41 for 320 yards and one touchdown. The win was his third in 12 career starts versus New England.