Tua Tagovailoa offers support to grieving teammate Ryan Fitzpatrick, steps in as Miami's QB1
Saturday was an emotional day in Miami Dolphins training camp. Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick left camp upon the death of his mother.
While they’re competitors for snaps at quarterback, Fitzpatrick and Tagovailoa have bonded as teammates. Fitzpatrick has referred to himself as a Tagovailoa cheerleader and a placeholder for the Dolphins as the No. 5 draft pick gets ready to take over starting QB duties. Tagovailoa wore a Fitzpatrick jersey to his first Miami post-practice press conference as an “ice breaker.” Tagovailoa said Saturday that he considers Fitzpatrick a coach and a mentor.
“I told Fitz that I’m here for him,” Tagovailoa said. “But it was something more so emotional for me, too, because I kind of thought of my own mom, and just the thought of not having a family member, losing a family member, I mean, that’s – it’s hard.
“Being given that circumstance, being told that I have to be ready to go out with the first group today, it wasn’t something that I was nervous to do, but it was more so I kind of felt what, I would say, kind of what Fitz was going through. I got emotional when Fitz ended up leaving, too, and while we were about to pray as a team.”
As far as being Miami’s QB1 on Saturday, Tagovailoa noted that he has areas to improve.
“I think there was some good today,” Tagovailoa said. “There were also some not so good. But I think it was a learning curve for me and a lot of the rookies. There’s some things we need to clean up offensively on my end and just things in general with the communication. And then for me, not turning the ball, being better with situational awareness — down and distance — and then communication, and that’s why we got film to be able to go over that.”
Dolphins coach Brian Flores said he does not know how long Fitzpatrick will be with family and away from the team.