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.
Bama QB Tua Tagovailoa present to start NFL combine
The NFL Scouting Combine is getting underway in Indianapolis this week and on Monday morning, one of the prized quarterbacks that will be available early in the first round of the draft was there for official measurements and to meet with teams.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, whose season ended with a fractured hip last November, is on the road to recovery and he was officially measured and also, met with numerous teams that are looking at the possibility of drafting him:
Tua Tagovailoa measured at 6-0, 217 pounds at the NFL combine today. Left throwing hand at 10”
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) February 24, 2020
In addition to not only the injured hip, but also a history of high ankle sprain problems, Tagovailoa has got to answer critics on his size. At just 6 – 0 feet there will be concerns about his ability to clearly see downfield through the massive bodies on NFL Sundays.
However, this can be combated by moving him around out of the pocket and that’s something that Alabama was successful at doing over his three years as well.
As we wrote recently, Tagovailoa was injured in Alabama’s 10th game of the season suffering a fractured hip on a sack late in the first half at Mississippi State. He missed the Tide’s final two regular-season games and then, their Citrus Bowl win January 1st, over Michigan
He 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.
Tagovailoa is obviously on the Dolphins list to look at strongly to select in the top five in the draft and currently, Miami is slated to pick fifth.
It is expected that Tagovailoa will work out for teams probably later in March or maybe even, early April at the Tide’s facility in Tuscaloosa, prior to the NFL draft coming to Las Vegas.
Colorado announced hire of Dolphins assistant Dorrel Sunday
Former UCLA coach and recently promoted Dolphins assistant Karl Dorrell is headed back to college, as the new head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes.
The school confirmed Dorrell’s hire on Sunday evening with a five-year contract to take over their Big 12 program:
We'd like to officially introduce you to our new HC, Karl Dorrell.
— Colorado Buffaloes Football (@CUBuffsFootball) February 23, 2020
The Buffaloes have been seeking a head coach since there coach Mel Tucker abruptly left to take the Michigan State job earlier this month.
Dorrell came to the dolphins with Brian Flores this past season, as wide receiver coach and earlier last week was promoted to assistant head coach for the upcoming season. Miami’s top receiver, DeVante Parker, blossomed under Dorrell’s tutelage as the year went on. He finished the season with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns becoming the favorite target of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Dorrel is the latest Dolphins assistant on the move. Flores fired the offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea he brought with him from New England. And, his defensive coordinator Patrick Graham left to take the same job with the Giants.
Dorrell had also been the Dolphins receivers coach, previously from 2008 – 10 and then, their quarterbacks coach in 2011 under the late Tony Sparano.
“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously. Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships. He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”
The CU Board of Regents still have to approve Dorrell’s contract, which will be $18 million for five seasons.
Dorrell had previously been on Colorado staffs two other times in his career, including most recently as offensive coordinator under Rick Neuheisel from 1995- 98.
Dorrell was named head coach of his alma mater UCLA in 2003, where he lasted five seasons and went to a bowl game every year finishing with a career 35 – 27 record before being fired after the 2007 season.
Dorrell had previously been receivers coach for the New York Jets 2015 – 18 under Todd Bowles (above) and two of his receivers had made the Pro Bowl during his time there.
Colorado picked Dorrell from an interview process that also included former Buffaloes player and Kansas City Super Bowl offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, who interviewed and was under strong consideration.