Brian Flores says this is 'a big week' in quarterback competition

CraigDavis

(Video: Brian Flores spoke earlier in training camp about not putting a deadline on choosing a starting quarterback)

Coach Brian Flores continues to keep his cards close to the vest on the Dolphins quarterback competition.

After evaluating the film from the first exhibition game, here is what Flores had to say Saturday about Josh Rosen’s performance against the Falcons:

“I thought he did a good job. I thought he ran the offense well. I thought he made some good throws. I thought he could’ve made a couple better decisions. Checking the ball down is not a bad thing to do. That’s something we talked to him about – understanding what they’re doing defensively from a cover standpoint, from a run game standpoint.

“We could have put ourselves in some better situations. Both quarterbacks – really all three quarterbacks – Jake [Rudock] went in there and did a really good job in the fourth quarter, so I think all three guys are working hard, and I think they’re continuing to improve. This week’s a big week for sure.”

More from Maven: Josh Rosen merits a look as starter in next exhibition

Dealing with Bucs

The week will provide more of a measure of Rosen and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who still holds starter status, in two practices and Friday’s exhibition against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Dolphins will practice against the Bucs in sessions open to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) at the AdventHealth Training Center, One Buccaneer Place, Tampa.

The game, Friday, 7:30 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium, will be a reunion with former Dolphins d-lineman Ndamukong Suh — who signed with the Buccaneers this offseason to replace Gerald McCoy — as well for the Bucs and Fitzpatrick, who played the past two seasons with Tampa Bay.

Regarding how the competition between Rosen and Fitzpatrick will proceed, Flores remained evasive:

“I think we’ll continue to split reps in a way that we can evaluate both, but really all three quarterbacks. First team, second team – I think people put more value in that stuff than I do, but we’re going to try to get the reps to evaluate all three guys and really everybody on the team,” Flores said.

Flores also addressed two trouble spots that were glaringly evident in Thursday’s 34-27 win over the Falcons.

Regarding deficiencies on defense: “I think the tackling was something I talked about after the game, and it’s something that I definitely reiterated to the team that we have to do a better job defensively and in the kicking game from a tackling standpoint. We won’t have a shot – we won’t give ourselves a chance if we don’t do a better job there, so that’s something that – I know I mentioned that (was) not good. I would say it was it’s something was probably worse than I thought, so it’s something that we’re going to place some emphasis on, something we’re going to drill more, practice more and continue to try to get better there.”

Young guards exposed

As for the offensive line, which couldn’t keep the heat off the quarterbacks, he noted the struggles of rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun, which were evident to anyone watching.

“Yeah, I think the two young guys inside – I think the speed of the game – we talked about it after the game is that it’s new to them,” Flores said. “As much as you can talk about it, there’s no way to simulate that. You have to feel it, you have to go through it, you have to experience it. I think both guys did, and I think both guys settled down as the game went on, so I think that was positive.

“In the second half, we had some miscues on the o-line. I think a couple of guys could’ve played better. I think as a unit, they could have played better really in both halves. I think that’s something where we need to improve really across the board – with the guys who are running with the first team, second team, third team. I think there’s a lot of room for improvement. I think the game is an opportunity for us to learn from. I think we harped on protecting inside out, doing a good job on double teams in the run game and having good communication. Hopefully, we’re better as we move forward.”

Encouraging signs

Flores said the film revealed some positives.

Notably: “Something that I felt was better – I thought our operation, just in and out of the huddle. When you watched the tape, you see Atlanta had some trouble kind of getting lined up from time to time because we were in and out of the huddle pretty quickly. I liked the operation. From that standpoint, we can catch or keep people off guard and off-balance that way. I think that gives us an advantage, so I thought that was something that was good.”

As for the most notable performance by a newcomer in the first exhibition, Flores said undrafted receiver Preston Williams took positive steps to build on, beginning on special teams.

“I think he wants to make his presence felt obviously from a receiving standpoint, but really in all phases. I think he needs to continue with that,” Flores said. “Again, one big game doesn’t make you a superstar. This league is all about consistency, so he’s got to continue to string good practices together and hopefully good games, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves on Preston. He’s got a long way to go.”

Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns

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