David Zalubowski/Associated Press
Even after Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Miami Dolphins to a 20-3 victory over the winless New York Jets on Sunday, head coach Brian Flores held firm to his stance that Fitzpatrick is the backup quarterback.
“If he’s healthy, he’s the guy,” Flores said.
In his first start since Week 6, Fitzpatrick threw for 257 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-39 passing. The performance was his best since Week 5, when he threw for a season-high 350 yards and three touchdowns. That also marked the last game he had not thrown any interceptions.
The veteran quarterback was pulled from that last start, also against the Jets, in favor of Tagovailoa, who went on to lead the Dolphins to three consecutive victories before falling to the Denver Broncos in Week 11. After the rookie was sacked six times and threw for just 83 yards and a touchdown in the loss to Denver, he was pulled in favor of Fitzpatrick, who threw for 117 yards on 12 completions.
Though he explained that he pulled Tagovailoa because of his performance and not an injury in Week 11, Flores was steadfast that he would be the starter going forward.
For Fitzpatrick to get the ball again, Tagovailoa would need to suffer a setback as he recovers from the injury he suffered when he jammed his thumb into a helmet at practice this week. But that seems unlikely since Flores noted that Tagovailoa was close to a return.