Ryan Fitzpatrick is an absolute gem. In just one year, he’s quickly become one of my personal favorite Miami Dolphins of the past decade, and I know I’m not alone in that assertion. The bearded wizard’s antics in the huddle, on the sideline, and at the press conference podium aren’t the only reasons so many have become so endeared to the journeyman quarterback. His play on the field, especially given the lack of established talent surrounding him last season, was truly, and appropriately, magical.
Per NFL.com’s Nick Shook and Next Gen Stats, Fitzmagic was the league’s eighth-best passer on deep shots down the field last year. Shook writes:
This is the outlier. Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing. He shouldn’t be here, right? Well, Fitzpatrick got here by being the daring risk-taker he’s long been, sending more of his deep passes into tight windows than not (56.6 percent of his 53 deep pass attempts were into tight windows). That type of loose play produced six touchdowns for the Dolphins, who rode Fitzpatrick’s efforts and energy to a handful of respectable wins, enough to keep them from drafting in the top three. So much for Tanking for Tua, whom they still got at No. 5 overall. Ryan Fitzpatrick is on this list. Seriously. What a funny, strange game this is.
Fitzpatrick’s affinity for tossing the rock sky high and banking on his receivers to make a big play not only allowed the gunslinger to throw himself into the list of top-10 deep throwers in 2019, but it also led to the emergence of several Dolphins pass catchers. DeVante Parker had his best season to date, and young weapons Preston Williams and Mike Gesicki flashed potential that lead many to believe they can be staples of Miami’s offense for years to come.
Parker, a player many Dolphins fans and coaches had long believed was more of a bust than a boom of a first-round draft pick, hauled in 72 receptions on 128 targets for 1202 yards and nine touchdowns. Gesicki, for his part, broke out over the second half of the season. His final three games saw him accumulate 14 receptions for 163 yards and three scores. He showed off his basketball background on several high throws and routinely out-muscled defenders for contested catches. Williams, an undrafted rookie out of Colorado State, outplayed expectations by a wide margin before going down with a knee injury in Week 9 and quickly became a starter for a team in disrepute need of help on the offensive side of the ball.
It’s likely that collegiate sensation Tua Tagovailoa will be waiting in the wings for several weeks before getting his shot as a starting quarterback, meaning for at least a little while longer, we’ll be treated to more of Fitzpatrick’s magic. You certainly won’t be hearing any complaining from me.