Brian Flores sends message that Josh Rosen is not ready to lead Dolphins
Months of suspense building in the Dolphins’ quarterback competition quite suddenly left the balloon this week with an unsatisfying pffttt!
Rather than the expected culmination of the joust for the starting job between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and upstart Josh Rosen in Thursday’s third game of the preseason, coach Brian Flores sent the unmistakable signal that the signal caller who will open the season has already been decided.
Responding to a question about whether it makes sense for a team in rebuilding mode to go with the younger quarterback as an investment in the future, Flores gave his clearest indication yet about how he views Rosen.
“I think a lot of times – I understand that thought process but I’m the one dealing with the individual player, and sometimes guys just aren’t ready,” Flores said. “The whole sink or swim mentality, it’s easy for somebody on the outside to say; but for that individual player and the best interests of that individual person, that might not be the case.
“If a guy is ready, we’ll put him out there. If he’s not, we won’t put him out there. I think that’s the right way to approach it.”
Certainly, if Rosen had shown command of the position and the team, through months of offseason work, training camp and the first two exhibitions, he’d be the one starting against the Jaguars at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday. But unless Flores is throwing down a total smokescreen, it is Fitzpatrick, the 36-year-old journeyman, in the lead role for the dress rehearsal showcase.
Leading further to the conclusion that the matter is fait accompli, Flores said Thursday’s game won’t be winner-take-all.
“For it to come down to one game, no I don’t think it’s that,” he said. “I think as a staff, we’ve talked about this position – as well as every other position on this team – a lot. We’ve spent a lot of time on it. We’ll make the decision we feel is best for this team and this organization.”
Right. Because they’ve already concluded Rosen isn’t ready and are more comfortable with Fitzpatrick, for now.
That doesn’t mean Rosen doesn’t have a future with the Dolphins. He will get a chance at some point this season.
My guess is it won’t come until at least after the bye week, and that will depend on fortunes of Fitzpatrick and the offense in the first four games.
More from Maven: Reshad Jones excited to play in Flores' defenseIt is difficult to dispute the assessment of Rosen, based on what fans and media have been able to observe. Obviously, Flores and staff have much more information to draw upon.
One can question how much Rosen will develop in the coming weeks while getting backups’ reps in practice and toting a clipboard in games.
I still favor going with Rosen and seeing if he is up to the task and ready to grow with it. He's not a rookie. He played 14 games (13 starts) for the Cardinals last season, albeit not well (66.7 passer rating).
The Dolphins thought enough of him to invest a second-round draft pick to get him. Let's see what he can do on a team that is looking beyond this season.
Flores offered a different viewpoint on that:
“I would say there is a long list of guys who have gone through that process. Patrick Mahomes is a guy that comes to mind. [Tom] Brady is a guy that comes to mind – Steve Young, [Aaron] Rodgers. … I think sitting – in some instances, not all – could be a good thing. Sitting, learning, improving your technique, improving your fundamentals, going through the mental reps of games and practices, I think guys have gotten better that way.”
How that works out with Rosen remains to be seen. The message is clear that he’s not as good as he needs to be right now.
It is difficult to argue otherwise.
(Video: Brian Flores discusses what Josh Rosen needs to do to show he's ready to start at quarterback for the Dolphins)
Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns
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