The Dolphins will be back on the practice field on Wednesday getting ready Sunday to play a team that’s had a worse season to this point than them, the Bengals, at Hard Rock Stadium. And because we’re entering week 16 and Miami has a 3 – 11 record, we go back to the same question we’ve asked a couple of times early in the year: why would you not turn back to second-year quarterback, Josh Rosen?
Rosen was acquired in a trade on night two of the drafting April from the Arizona Cardinals with the belief from GM Chris Grier, coach Brian Flores and offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea that with a full offseason in their system it would be a good opportunity to take a look at Rosen for being part of their future.
Still, you had veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in case Rosen did not impress and win the job. That obviously happened as the summer turned to the fall and the season started with Fitzpatrick at the helm.
However, as everyone now knows, the season started off horribly with Fitzpatrick trying to get anything going, as the team was annihilated by both the Ravens and Patriots at home. And, Fitzpatrick played poorly in both blowouts, including throwing several interceptions in both games.
We clamored at that time that there was no reason for Miami to not try Rosen and see what he could do. And, in fact, he then started the next three games with the most effective of which being the middle one against the Chargers at home, where he was 17 for 24 for 180 yds with a TD and an INT in a loss.
Then, after the narrow loss to Washington, Flores O’Shea and perhaps with influence from GM Grier, decided to go back to the 15 year veteran Fitzpatrick and try to win a couple of games. And, Miami has now obviously done that.
And Rosen has only played for three snaps in the November Indianapolis win, when Fitzpatrick was being checked for a concussion in the second half of the game.
Still with the back-to-back losses the last two weeks to the poor Jets and the more awful Giants and with Rosen not even seeing the field in releif, it’s more of a head-scratching contradiction.
Have Grier and Flores decided that the former UCLA first round pick simply cannot play at this level and they intend to release him after these two games were over?
If that is the case, then it’s the only scenario by which not playing Rosen Sunday against a hapless Bengal team makes any sense.
Because other than that, Rosen has promise for the future and is more financially viable than even Fitzpatrick is for next year. Rosen’s 2020 cap number is $2.1 million while Fitzpatrick’s is $5 million.
And there’s also absolutely no argument that trying to see a quarterback be better in offseason OTAs in a helmet and shorts and then, mostly non-contact training camp practices in July and August is better than seeing what he can do in actual “live fire” of games.
Flores tried to explain his thinking at his Wednesday pre-practice media session:
Flores, asked directly how it's in the best interests long-term for the franchise to start a 37-year-old QB over a 22-year-old, suggests that by giving his team the best opportunity to win this week, it's being fair to the players "in the trenches."
— Adam Beasley (@AdamHBeasley) December 18, 2019
Sunday’s game obviously has no bearing on the playoff picture and even if the Dolphins lose to the Bengals, they are still a game in front of them with three wins for draft purposes. And neither Fitzpatrick nor Rosen is going to beat New England at New England next week, when the Patriots are looking to lock up the division and potential bye week for the playoffs, etc.
So, actions are about to speak a lot louder than words.
If Rosen is left standing on the sideline in a baseball cap on Sunday while healthy, then it’s a clear indication to us, that he’s not even going to be back for 2020 and that the Dolphins are intending to eat his $4 million in dead cap for cutting him.
And, it would further indicate they’re keeping Fitzpatrick and his larger salary to be the backup whatever quarterback they sign or draft. Now, theoretically, they could want Fitzpatrick to renegotiate for a lesser price, as well.
However, in the name of “live reps against a beatable opponent” in a regular season game, there’s not an on field football reason why the second year QB with potential, Rosen, should be watching 37 year old Ryan Fitzpatrick play.
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.