Beasley: "I had to pick my jaw up off the floor” when I heard Tua was starting

Despite winning three of their last four games, the Miami Dolphins have benched Ryan Fitzpatrick for Tua Tagovailoa – a move that stunned reporter Adam Beasley

The DA Show
October 21, 2020 - 12:01 pm
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Despite winning three of their last four games, the Miami Dolphins (3-3) have benched Ryan Fitzpatrick for first-round draft pick Tua Tagovailoa.

If you were shocked by this, well, so was Miami Herald Dolphins reporter Adam Beasley.

“I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I got the news,” Beasley said on The DA Show. “Look, this is a good football team right now. The record does not suggest how good they are. They are [fourth] in the AFC in point differential, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is a big reason why.”

Fitzpatrick has completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 1,535 yards, 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. The Dolphins beat the Jaguars, 49ers and Jets by an average of 22.7 points. They have just one loss – to undefeated Seattle – since Week 2.

“This is a team that probably would have made the playoffs if they hadn’t made the [quarterback] change,” Beasley said. “Now we have no idea what the future has in store for this team. Brian Flores’ team – as it was last year, as it was for years with the New England Patriots – gets better with each and every week. They would be better in November than they were in October and better in December than they were in November. So yes, I think they would have gotten to nine or ten wins and been the 7-seed or even won the AFC East.”

The Dolphins, who have a bye this week, host the Los Angeles Rams (4-2) on Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. ET.

“There’s no way they can tell us with a straight face that Tua Tagovailoa gives them a better chance to win next Sunday at home against the Rams than Ryan Fitzpatrick,” Beasley said. “They saw the bye as a good time to make this change, and I understand it. Look, they’re not going to win the Super Bowl this year. They’re probably not going to win the Super Bowl next year. But they need to get these reps for their quarterback before it gets too late – because the most valuable thing in pro sports is a quarterback on his rookie deal. They want to add assets. They want to know what they have in the guy. I totally get it. But they might be sacrificing the present for the future.”

Still, Flores seems to be succeeding in ways that other Bill Belichick disciples – such as Bill O’Brien and Matt Patricia – have not. Why is that?

“Because he’s disciplined and he’s not a lunatic,” Beasley said, laughing. “Is that simple enough? I don’t think Matt Patricia is particularly disciplined, and I think Bill O’Brien has had some real personality issues. Flores is a taskmaster, there’s no doubt about that. In his first year, he ran off a bunch of veterans because he ran too hard of practices.”

Last year, Flores instituted a TNT – “Takes No Talent” – wall to instill discipline.

“If you had a false start or a mental error, you had to go and run to the wall,” Beasley explained. “That kind of stuff rubbed players the wrong way early, but in year two, with a more veteran team, he kind of ramped that back a little bit. The culture change he wanted to instill he did year one, and he’s adapted. I think that’s really a testament to Flores. He is unpredictable, he is adaptable, he is not dogmatic. Yes, he has a set of principles that he sticks to, but he is a 21st-century coach. 

“People think he’s some Belichick clone,” Beasley continued. “No, this guy is a delight to talk to in a media setting. There’s some places he just won’t go, but he’ll challenge you, he’ll go back and forth, he’ll be enlightening at times. I think he has taken a lot of what Belichick’s principles were and used them in his own personality. He hasn’t tried to be Belichick Jr.; he’s tried to be Flores, and it’s worked for him.”