It has been a long time since the Miami Dolphins were in the news about a quarterback battle. Between having a veteran who has played for numerous NFL teams, including some of the Dolphins’ opponents in the AFC East, to a guy who had a disastrous rookie season in a coaching dumpster fire out west, the spot is more up for grabs than one may think.
You might be crazy…
Starting rookie quarterbacks is never easy in the NFL. Josh Rosen came from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and lasted the same amount of seasons in Arizona as head coach Steve Wilks did before Rosen was traded to Miami for draft picks in the 2019 NFL Draft.
I’d also probably tell you that you were crazy if you thought Ryan Fitzpatrick would and should last all season as the Dolphins’ starter. The only team he hasn’t played for in the Dolphins’ division is the New England Patriots, and is onto his eighth team entering his 15th season.
With having said that, let’s take a look at Miami’s current QB situation. Right now on the depth chart, the Dolphins have Fitzpatrick, Rosen and Jake Rudock, in that order. That situation screams rebuilding mode. Fitzpatrick has only completed a full season (16 games) three times in his career and Rosen came up two short of that last season as a rookie (14, 13 starts). He finished with below-average statistics for the Cardinals as well in that time. He has three more interceptions (14) than touchdowns (11) in his career. Three of those TDs came in a game against a struggling Oakland Raiders team in week 10, that the Cardinals still lost. Additionally, Rosen had just one TD in six different games and failed to toss one in six other games, including a four-game drought.
Fitzmagic or Fitztragic?
If the Dolphins turn to Fitzpatrick, fans can at least be excited about some of his Fitzmagic that he showcased in Tampa Bay during Jameis Winston’s suspension. Fitzpatrick had more than 400 yards in each of his first three games of the season to lead the NFL through week three. He clearly showed the entire NFL fan base why he can still play, but also reminded them how quickly his rough outings can return. In week four of last season in a 48-10 loss to the Chicago Bears, Fitzpatrick went just 9-for-18, one touchdown and 126 yards. He only eclipsed the 400-yard mark once more that season, against the Washington Redskins, in a 16-3 loss. He has the arm, but it takes more than chucking in around the field to be a stable NFL QB.
Is Rudock worth a look for No. 1?
Would the Dolphins even considering turning to Rudock, who the Lions took in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft, and only has five career NFL pass attempts? Rudock started his college career at the University of Iowa and finished at the University of Michigan. His career totals maxed out at 7,836 passing yards, 54 TD’s and 27 interceptions. With no NFL experience, he comes in as the clear back-up, and even third stringer, in my opinion, to whoever wins the starting job.
Can Flores flourish?
In the midst of all the under-center commotion, the Dolphins also have a brand new head coach who signed with the team after winning last season’s Super Bowl with the Patriots: Brian Flores. Flores also began his coaching tenure during the 2004 Super Bowl winning season for New England.
If I was in the new coaching position and with a team who hasn’t really had many chances to succeed in the last decade, I would be leaning more toward my veteran leaders to lead the team. In this instance, that’d be Fitzpatrick. I wouldn’t rule out Rosen yet, especially with Fitzpatrick’s history, but Rosen again must learn an entirely new system. Rosen’s success was no fluke at UCLA, but, I think Rosen needs to show what he can do on the field. Just like in AZ, he has buzz of being replaced in next year’s draft as well. With the too-early 2020 NFL mock draft, Miami is shown to taking either Justin Herbert from the University of Oregon or the University of Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa in its search for its QB of the future. The way to avoid that pressure? Win the starting job and be successful.
Kayla Morton contributed to this article.