It’s tempting to say after two weeks the Miami Dolphins have discovered something of substance with quarterback Josh Rosen even as they have lost twice with him leading the team.
The question is whether some other team thinks they have. If so, the Dolphins would be best to trade Rosen, if they can. That doesn’t mean give him away, but don’t be afraid to get something decent.
To preface, there has to be some adjustment for reality. Over the first two weeks of the season, the Dolphins were a complete mess. It was an awful operation that no quarterback – be it Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick or even Tom Brady himself – could have succeeded. The past two weeks have been marginally better in that the Dolphins aren’t a complete embarrassment.
Throw on top of that fact the Dolphins are in their 20th season since Dan Marino retired and the act of mere competence can look excellent. Certainly, there were moments when Rosen looked good. Again, that’s good. Not very good. Not great. Just good.
This is like going to your buddy’s picnic, opening up a cooler of Budweiser and finding a Heineken at the bottom after you dig a little. In the grand scheme of what the Dolphins are trying to do, that’s promising.
In the grand scheme, Rosen is getting to the point that the Dolphins might be able to flip him for a pick either during the season to a quarterback-needy team or in the offseason. In the worst case, the Dolphins keep Rosen under a cost-controlled contract for two more years and then see what they want to do in the option year. At a time when backup quarterbacks are costing upwards of $7 million a year, that’s good.
In the first half against the Chargers, Rosen played well enough that the Dolphins could have easily scored 14 points (and perhaps 20) instead of only 10. Rosen completed 12 of 16 passes. His four incomplete passes included two drops, one throw to the end zone that was almost perfectly placed off a scramble to the left and an overthrow against an overload blitz in his face that preserved a field goal opportunity.
One of the two drops was a brutal clank by running back Kalen Ballage on a short throw in which he was on the run and might have scored. The Dolphins settled for a field goal.
Rosen had only one obviously bad play in the first half. That was when he held the ball too long and took a sack against a six-man rush. The sack nearly took the Dolphins out of field goal range, but Rosen recovered on the next play to complete a throw that go the Dolphins back in range for a 52-yard field goal.
Again, the attempt was missed. On a team as limited as the Dolphins, two missed field goals and a dropped pass by Ballage are almost impossible to overcome. That played out in the second half as the game progressively got away from the Dolphins and Rosen tried to do too much. That included allowing a sack (and nearly a safety) on a play that should have been thrown away and a fourth-quarter interception.
Beyond the specifics of the game, Rosen did several things that are promising. He threw the deep out very well, particularly to the right side. He got ride of the ball on time for most of the game. He was also accurate. The downside is that he didn’t attack the middle of the field very much, but it’s not like the Dolphins have a great over-the-middle threat just yet.
Again, what does it all mean for a team that’s obviously Tanking for Tua Tagavailoa (GM Chris Grier was again at the Alabama game on Saturday night watching the presumptive No. 1 overall pick)?
Rosen’s ability to look competent on a team that is careening toward 0-16 should not be taken as a sign of great promise. In fact, this entire situation is unfair for any real evaluation of a player. Rosen is not going to face a lot of competitive situations. He’s not going to be in any two-minute drives. The best that can be expected is that he remains focused on his crafted in the middle of this rebuild.
As of right now, that’s happening. In a season where the results literally don’t matter, Rosen is doing something that seems to have value. If the Dolphins can turn that into something of substance, move sooner than later.
Looks like Tua Tagovailoa will work out for teams prior to draft
There will be numerous NFL teams interested, including the Dolphins, on just how healthy injured Alabama star Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is. And, a report on Wednesday says that Tua will likely be ready to throw for teams later in the offseason draft process.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that “NFL quarterback super-agent” Leigh Steinberg and his firm are letting teams know that Tagovailoa’s injured hip should be healed enough for him to be able to throw in early April prior to the NFL Draft at the end of the month:
From our Championship Wednesday coverage on @NFLNetwork: #Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa may throw for NFL teams during a Pro Day in mid-April, thanks to some very positive health news. pic.twitter.com/ooVJCyf0ij
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2020
This will be especially important for teams like the Dolphins, who will be selecting fifth currently in the upcoming selection process.
Tagovailoa came to Alabama from Hawaii and the same high school as Marcus Mariota, having thrown for over 8,000 yards which at that time was a Hawaii High School record. And, he had a career of 84 passing and 27 rushing touchdowns in three seasons.
Tua burst onto the scene nationally, when he relieved Jalen Hurts in the second half and overtime of Alabama’s thrilling title game win over Georgia in the 2018 College Football Playoff Championship Game. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown pass on the first overtime possession, as Alabama celebrated their fifth National Title in nine seasons under Saban.
In his second season at the helm in the 2018 regular season, Tagovailoa was named second-team AP All-American and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, as the Tide reached the National Title game, again, before being beaten soundly by Clemson 12 months ago.
As this junior season unfolded, Tagovailoa was named almost became synonymous with the Dolphins, who started the season horribly at 0 – 7 and the moniker “Tank for Tua” began to gain momentum in South Florida.
However, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering the hip injury on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and their recent Citrus Bowl win over Michigan two weeks due to the injury.
Typically, players participate in some kind of individual workout or pro day, but as Rappaport relayed, most teams already know what Tagovailoa can do from his previous two seasons at Alabama. The bigger concern is his health and specifically his mobility, as he progresses through the summer and into the first NFL training camp and preseason of his career.
It is believed the Tagovailoa is the second, or at worst third rated, quarterback behind LSU Heisman Trophy winning National Championship QB Joe Burrow. Burrow is expected to be taken first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in late April.
Who is new Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer?
On Sunday night, the Dolphins finally decided to allow first-year defensive coordinator Patrick Graham to leave and take the same position with the New York Giants. And, coach Brian Flores moved quickly to promote a member of his staff, Josh Boyer, to be his defensive play-caller
So exactly who is former New England assistant that will now be in charge Miami’s defensive unit? More on him in a moment.
First, as we wrote, Miami had wavered Saturday night and Sunday on whether to let Graham go to the Giants to be with new head coach, Joe Judge, creating an important void. Graham was only being given a “lateral move” to New York, and Miami could have continued to block him. But, in the end, Flores had someone he could trust already on staff.
That’s Boyer, who has just completed his 14th season in the NFL, all previously in New England and then, obviously, his first with the Fins after coming with Flores last February.
Boyer’s background is as a secondary coach and specifically, working with cornerbacks. He held that job for his last seven seasons in New England 2012 – 18 and was part of three Super Bowl championships under Bill Belichick.
Boyer deserves credit for helping the development of defensive backs like Malcolm Butler, who sealed Super Bowl 49 win over the Seahawks with his famous goal-line interception of Russell Wison in the final half minute of the game. Boyer also worked closely with Pro Bowlers Logan Ryan and more recently, Stephon Gilmore, who iced Super Bowl 53 win last February with a late INT against the Rams.
This past year was obviously a trying one for the Dolphins defensively, as they finished 32nd in scoring and 30th in overall in defense. But Boyer cannot be judged too much, given the cornerbacks he was working with, especially late in the year.
He had his best player, former number one pick Minkah Fitzpatrick, traded away in the first month to the Steelers. Miami also lost veteran Bobby McCain to injury later in the year and had a depleted secondary at the very end of the season.
However, Boyer (shown above with DB Eric Rowe after his week 17 pick six of Tom Brady) obviously impressed Flores and GM Chris Grier with his coaching to get the promotion.
And, he’s following a similar path as Flores, who worked his way up from secondary coach to defensive coordinator with the Pats.
Now, we’ll see if Miami can bolster their defensive backfield this off sesaon.
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