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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins RB Drake injured- battle for playing time heats up

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

A foot  injury to starter Kenyan Drake has now made the Dolphins battle at running back in this 2019 training camp even more intriguing.

The first sign of concern was when Drake left the Tuesday’s workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers limping off the field slightly. And then, for Wednesday’s workout Drake was in a walking boot and not participating at all.

At the conclusion of the Wednesday second joint practice with Tampa Bay, new Dolphins coach Brian Flores didn’t offer a lot, but did say Drake was “on track for week one.”

It is believed that he will now, not only be held out of Friday night’s preseason game against the Bucs, but probably until the Dolphins season opener with the Baltimore Ravens on September 8th.

We have written previously about the battle Drake is in with second-year running back Kalen Ballage, whom they drafted and fellow second-year running back Mark Walton, whom the Dolphins picked up off of waivers from the Cincinnati Bengals after multiple off field arrests in the last two years.

Ballage was a mid-round pick from Arizona State a year ago, appearing in 12 games, but carrying the ball only 36 times. He had one explosive 75-yard touchdown run late in the year against Minnesota, but not much else to speak of for his rookie year.

Ballage carried 6 times for 23 yards with a second quarter TD against the Falcons at Hard Rock Stadium last Thursday night. Walton also had 6 carries for just 12 yards and a score, as well. However, Miami also has to know that a possible league discipline suspension for the beginning of 2019 has to be looming for the former Miami Hurricanes star, as he has had multiple arrests in the last 18 months.

The Fins also have rookie Myles Gaskin from the University of Washington, who had almost an identical stat line to Walton last Thursday of six attempts, 13 yards and a short TD score, also.

Back to Drake. He is a versatile back, especially with his pass catching skills, that new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea has to be counting on. Drake had a career high 53 catches with a 9.0 avg and 5 receiving TDs last season and the Dolphins will need to use one or of more of their backs as short pass weapons, when things begin for real in a few weeks.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins will go back to veteran QB Ryan Fitzpatrick

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins continue their ongoing evaluation of whom will start the season at quarterback between veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and second-year newly acquired, Josh Rosen. And on Monday morning, coach Brian Flores announced that after Rosen had started game two last Friday night in Tampa, Fitzpatrick will be back under center to begin the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Thursday.

Flores met with a media prior to the Dolphins latest workout on Monday but also said not to read too much into the latest QB switch:

Miami started Rosen against the Buccaneers, whom they acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in a draft weekend trade. And, as we wrote, he was largely ineffective for most of Friday night’s first half that he played.

The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates an average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain in Tampa, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.

A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.

While Flores tried to make it clear that the media and fans should not read too much into going back to Fitzpatrick as an indication on who will be the opening day starter, it will likely be the veteran when Miami hosts the Baltimore Ravens on September 8th.

Miami obviously knows what they have in the 15-year veteran Fitzpatrick, who started the first three games of last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And he led them to two victories and was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for both of the first to win in 2018.

However, just because Fitzpatrick starts the Jaguars game Thursday night, doesn’t mean Rosen won’t play in the first half with the first team to get another look for new offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea.

The game Thursday night will also be televised nationally by Fox and the Jaguars are expected to play their starters throughout the first half, and perhap,  into the early part of the third quarter.

That will give Fitzpatrick and maybe, Rosen,  ample opportunity to see what they can do against a quality defense.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins QB Rosen did little Friday night to win starting job

Florida Football Insiders

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Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing battle for who will start the Dolphins season at quarterback took another interesting turn in Friday night’s preseason game with the Buccaneers. However, the current backup, second-year player Josh Rosen, did little to help his case to unseat veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

New head coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator, Chad O’Shea, obviously challenged Rosen by having him start with the first team and play the entire first half in last night’s second preseason game.

Unfortunately, for Rosen and the coaching staff, he did a little to impress and at times, showed the same shaky quarterback play and bad throws that he did during a mostly dismal rookie season in Arizona. The final stat line read 10-18 102 yards 0 TD and 0 INT, which indicates average half of football.

And, yes there were damp conditions from pregame rain, but Rosen on multiple occasions threw behind or low towards receivers that were open for possible gains. He was also jittery against the Bucs occasional blitz package from new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Rosen was sacked three times and knocked down several others.

A key moment of scrutiny was when Rosen was unable to get the team in the end zone after they got outstanding field position on a Buccaneers 31 yard line midway through the first after fumble buy backup running back Andre Ellington. The Fins moved inside the 10, but Tampa Bay held Miami on fourth down, where Rosen threw incomplete in the right corner of the end zone to backup receiver Isaiah Ford and Miami came away with no points.

Later in the first half Rosen should have thrown an interception, as he threw the ball right to Bucs rookie defensive back Jamel Dean after throwing late and behind a receiver on the near sideline. However, Dean dropped the INT. Still, Miami punted shortly after.

Coach Brian Flores said after the joint practices with the Bucs this week that Rosen needed to “improve his body language” and leading the team.

Yet, while this was a dress rehearsal, he did little to inspire the Dolphins offense, which only managed 2 field goals even with great field position throughout the first half.

There will still be more opportunity for Rosen in the final two preseason games, and perhaps he will be better.

Better than he was Friday night.

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