Miami Dolphins defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick's mother, Melissa Fitzpatrick, blasted a Dolphins reporter Wednesday after he criticized Fitzpatrick's play at strong safety.
After Omar Kelly of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel tweeted that Fitzpatrick "isn't playing well," Melissa Fitzpatrick responded:
While Fitzpatrick is generally a better fit at free safety or slot cornerback, he has been used a strong safety by head coach Brian Flores as of late since Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald are dealing with injuries.
According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Fitzpatrick didn't disagree with his mom's assessment, but he also wasn't a huge fan of the way she went about expressing it:
"It is what it is. She's being honest and saying how she feels. There's nothing wrong with it. I wish she would have addressed me first and talked to me first before it happens, but it is what it is. She feels very strongly. She's not wrong. Coach has asked me do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we'll have those discussions."
The Dolphins selected Fitzpatrick with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft out of Alabama, and he appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, making 11 starts.
Fitzpatrick was primarily used as a free safety and corner, and he finished his debut season with 80 tackles, nine passes defended and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
With Bobby McCain in line to start at free safety, Fitzpatrick will likely be best deployed as a cornerback when Jones and McDonald return to action.
At 207 pounds, the 22-year-old Fitzpatrick isn't necessarily built for the physical toll playing strong safety can take on a player's body, although he has already shown that he is a versatile defensive back and a willing tackler.
Fitzpatrick figures to be one of Flores' favorite and most crucial chess pieces on defense during the 2019 season, and since injuries are a constant in the NFL, the first-year head coach should have little issue finding spots to plug him into as the season progresses.