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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins using Ballage early at RB but what does that mean?

Florida Football Insiders

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

It’s clear from the first few days of Dolphins training camp that the new coaching staff likes second year running back Kalen Ballage. However, the real questions are: how much do they and is it all too early to know what the running back plan will be?

Ballage has been out with the first team each day and by all accounts, performing well. However, the Dolphins have an incumbent experienced running back in Kenyan Drake that most expect will get some more of the bulk of the first-team work once we get closer to the season.

And, as this item in the Palm Beach Post from Hal Habib laid out Sunday afternoon, new coach Brian Flores and his offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea may try to keep everyone guessing by design throughout camp and the preseason:

As Habib pointed out, Ballage is bigger than Drake and the Dolphins are also working in rookie Auburn fullback Chandler Cox, in the backfield with the first team as well.

So are the Dolphins tipping off a possible Ballage/Cox backfield that we may see some in August and maybe, even into September? Or, is it simply the typical games that Flores and O’Shea have learned from being in New England?

Observers of the Pats know that almost everything that the media and fans can see is actually misdirection to fool people from what they intend to do when the games are for real.

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.

As for Drake, we wrote earlier this summer that it’s believed he will emerge as the ” go to running back,” because he’s a veteran who has demonstrated he can catch the ball out of the backfield.

One other important part of this is that the Patriots previously frequently rotated many different guys in and out of their backfield week-to-week and season-to-season. So expect Flores and O’Shea to have a similar mindset.

And, that may also include rookie Myles Gaskin out of Washington being worked into the line up some time, too.

The bottom line, as O’Shea put it on Sunday, when asked about a feature back,

“It’s one we’re still evaluating.” He added, “That’s something we talk about daily as a coaching staff.”

And that means, don’t believe everything you are seeing in July, too.

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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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