Josh Rosen has produced mixed results in his quest to be the Dolphins' starting quarterback.

Josh Rosen nothing special, but he should start over Fitzpatrick

The Dolphins’ second exhibition game was typical of the preseason – a lot of ugly.

Unfortunately, Josh Rosen, in his first game action for Miami with the starting unit, couldn’t rise above his offensive line’s shortcomings or his own inconsistency to elevate his case for the starting quarterback job.

Rosen wasn’t all bad or all to blame for the inability to get the Dolphins in the end zone in six possessions during the first half at Tampa Bay.

He also wasn’t anything special.

That’s in line with what has been apparent all along, through offseason workouts, training camp and a week ago playing with the second team against the Falcons.

An extended opportunity Friday with the first unit didn’t change the equation. It reaffirmed it.

Elite talent shows early

A million years ago Dan Marino stepped on the field and the immediate reaction was, wow! Most of the elite NFL quarterbacks since then have given the indication quickly.

Some dropped balls blunted Rosen’s cause Friday. But on fourth down at the Tampa Bay 2, he had Isaiah Ford open in the end zone and threw a sinker that didn’t get there.

That was the time to seize the moment. It eluded him.

Rosen has shown the talent to be a better NFL quarterback than his predecessor, Ryan Tannehill. He has an arm, instincts and pocket presence that Tannehill lacked.

But he’s done nothing to suggest the Dolphins should hand him the keys to the franchise and end their quest for a quarterback to lead them into the future. That remains top priority for next year’s draft.

Nonetheless, Rosen should be the starter going into this season. Because what are you going to learn from 36-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick leading a team that’s a babe in the woods?

We’re not seeing any of that old Fitzmagic anyway. Fitz’s one eye-opening moment from his limited preseason action has been bowling over a Buccaneers DB.

Gotta love Fitzpatrick, but his gritty leadership is not taking this team to the playoffs. He’s an ideal backup and example for Rosen to follow.

Youth shows on offense

This is a developmental season. This is the time to find out what they have in Rosen and see if he can grow with the other youthful components of the offense.

The long climb ahead for that group was evident against the Bucs. Rookie guards Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun have struggled, though Pro Football Focus gave Deiter high marks for pass protection Friday.
Run blocking was poor for the whole line. Even receiver Preston Williams, the hot item of the summer, showed how green he really is with a couple of dropped balls.

Overall, the most encouraging sign from Friday’s game was how well the defense played, even with notables such as Xavien Howard and Reshad Jones sitting out.

Not surprising, considering defense is coach Brian Flores’ forte. It furthered the hope that Flores and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham can produce a collective greater than its components.

There were four sacks and a forced fumble. Rookie Christian Wilkins was solid up front and second-year linebacker Jerome Baker was a force on the blitz – Baker needs to be better at finishing his chances, though.

No point in starting Fitzpatrick

Still, the intrigue circles back to the quarterbacks.

Difficult to understand Flores’ thinking in saying Fitzpatrick will likely start week against Jacksonville. Usually the third game of preseason is a dress rehearsal for the starting unit.

Of course, every coach wants to believe he’s chasing a championship. If the Dolphins were in that position this season, Fitzpatrick, the experienced hand, would be the safer and logical choice.

Asked about the intangibles of grit and leadership that are Fitzpatrick’s strengths, Flores said, “Yeah, it plays into the evaluation, but at the end of the day it’s about production on the field.

“[Fitzpatrick] had a good scramble, made a couple good throws. Josh [Rosen] made a couple good throws, Jake [Rudock] made some good throws and they made some not so good decisions. It’s all a part of the evaluations.”

For a team looking beyond this season, the only way to truly evaluate Rosen is to give him a chance to flop or fly in the regular season.

If they go with Fitzpatrick, it means they’ve already ruled out Rosen.

Craig Davis has covered South Florida sports and teams, including the Dolphins, for four decades. Follow him on Twitter @CraigDavisRuns

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Top 3 performers from preseason Week 2 – Dolphins at Buccaneers

As is always the case, there were a lot of ups and downs for the Miami Dolphins in their second preseason game. They pushed their way to a late fourth quarter lead, but the Buccaneers took advantage of the Miami backups on defense and managed to kick a winning field goal, defeating the Dolphins 16-14. But the preseason is not about record, it’s about evaluation. So here are the top three players for Friday night.

Sam Eguavoen, LB

This is not even a contest. The best player on the field for Miami all night was the former CFL standout. Consider where Eguavoen came from, and it’s astonishing he’s made it this far. Eguavoen comes from the CFL, as previously mentioned. There, the rules are different, the field is larger, it’s a whole different animal. Nonetheless, Eguavoen has unseated Raekwon McMillan as a starter on the defense even before his injury, and he’s proving he deserves that.

Eguavoen made six tackles, two for a loss, and forced a fumble against the Buccaneers on Friday. It’s been a long time since the Dolphins had a linebacker with that kind of playmaking ability. He’s undoubtedly going to make the team, and it’s well-deserved. This preseason game against Tampa Bay only confirms Eguavoen’s ability.

Charles Harris, DE

Just when it seemed all hope was lost for the former first round pick, he has a game like this. Charles Harris consistently applied pressure, and even managed to set the edge on his way to four tackles and 1.5 sacks against the Buccaneers. Never has he been more physical. Surprisingly, he looked more like a well-rounded defensive end more than just a pure speed pass rusher. For Harris, that’s a major accomplishment.

The Dolphins coaching staff is clearly working on his pass rush technique and the strength of his hands, and it appears to finally be paying off. Miami needs pass rushers, and Harris improving takes some of the pressure off the coaches and front office, and puts it on opposing QBs.

Patrick Laird, RB

Surprisingly, the best running back of the evening was the one who has the least impressive reputation. Patrick Laird, an undrafted free agent out of Cal, showed shiftiness and power that no one could have predicted. It makes one question why he hasn’t been getting more looks higher up on the depth chart. Laird ran the ball seven times for a total of 51 yards, and he also caught two passes for a total of 16 yards and Miami’s only touchdown of the night.

Laird’s numbers would have been even higher but there were some unfortunate holding calls on the backup offensive linemen. Nonetheless, even with the numbers as they are, Laird was by far the superior running back. He still has Mark Walton and Myles Gaskin ahead of him, but Friday’s preseason performance should put an idea in head coach Brian Flores’s head that Laird needs more looks.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for six years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung


Preseason: Dolphins at Buccaneers – Top 3 players to watch

After two joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Miami Dolphins will enter real game action against them thanks to the preseason. Naturally, there are some players to keep a close eye on, but for this article, the featured players will be outside the box. Everyone wants to see Preston Williams and Josh Rosen. It’s too easy to point them out. So, here are some new but important faces to keep an eye on for Friday.

Jaryd Jones-Smith, OT

With the Dolphins missing Zach Sterup for Friday’s game, there’s going to be a lot of focus on the backup left tackle position. Last week, Jordan Mills got thrown into the position at the last minute. As a result, the offensive line was disastrous, and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen spent most of their time running for their lives. Then a new face came into play. Jaryd Jones-Smith stepped in on the second day of joint practices, and somewhat stabilized the line.

Seeing that Sterup is out and Mills has shown to be insufficient, Jones-Smith has a good opportunity to prove his worth against a solid Buccaneers defensive line. All he has to do is be average, and he’ll be making a case for himself.

Jonathan Ledbetter, DE

Last week’s preseason game, it was a toss-up to decide who would make the top three performers list between Ledbetter and fellow DE Dewayne Hendrix. Even though the nod ultimately went to Hendrix, Ledbetter still deserves a strong look. The rookie out of Georgia is spending time with the starters in practice. That’s impressive for an undrafted free agent. With Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston still working on accuracy, and Blaine Gabbert being…himself, Ledbetter has an excellent opportunity for himself.

Against the Falcons, Ledbetter made five tackle and recorded half a sack. Push a little harder, and he could see himself doing more than making the team. He may earn significant playing time.

Christian Wilkins, DT

The big name of the list. Christian Wilkins undoubtedly contributed to the success of the Clemson defense during his college career, but his Dolphins tenure is not starting off with him wowing the coaching staff. Head coach Brian Flores admitted that while he’s doing well overall, he needs to improve his pad level. That’s a technique issue, and the coaches are no doubt working hard on that with him.

The Dolphins defensive line struggled to make a dent in the Buccaneers offensive line throughout the joint practices. Any sort of showing from Wilkins this preseason that allows him to stand out will be an encouraging sign for both his short and long-term future.

Preseason Week 1

Dolphins must leave ‘no stone unturned’ in pursuit of next Marino

The Dolphins have yet to play a regular season game in 2019, but that has not stopped the rumors from circulating, that Miami will be all-in on a quarterback in 2020.

And although some believe it is etched in stone like Moses and his Ten Commandments, I assure you it is not.

After all, Josh Rosen could continue to progress, as he’s done all offseason long. And as he continues to trend upward throughout the summer months, solidifying himself as the 2020 starter this season-would put Miami in a MUCH better situation. But only a fool would fail to see the supporting cast, and wonder if he’s being set up to fail-much like he did in Arizona. 

Miami’s offensive line is bad. Really, really bad. Their defense is a work in progress, and allowed Matt ‘Medicare’ Schaub to lead a 90-yard drive on his first preseason possession. Which is not good, if you’re keeping track at home. And who can forget, Miami has once again hit the reset button. Once again heading into an NFL season with a  rookie head coach and young staff, certain to make mistakes. 

So IS Josh Rosen being given a fair chance to prove he’s the long-term answer?  The metaphorical magic 8-ball says- ‘not likely’. 

In the past, we have seen teams draft a QB, despite having a promising starter already in place. San Francisco drafted Steve Young, despite having Joe Montana. The Chargers drafted Phillip Rivers, after investing several years in Drew Brees. Washington doubled down with RG3 and Kirk Cousins. And who can forget when Kansas City traded up to select a generational talent like Patrick Mahomes, despite having Alex Smith on the roster. 

Each of these situations are unique in their own way. And one would say the supporting cast here in Miami, is less than ideal. But is it necessarily a TERRIBLE idea to draft the #1 QB on the Dolphins’ draft board? Not necessarily. 

Truth is, Miami could use their treasure chest of draft picks to move heaven and earth to get ‘their guy’. The guy, the front office has had their eyes set on for years. One that everyone in the organization believes can turn this once storied franchise into a Super Bowl Contender. That sounds good doesn’t it?

Or maybe Josh Rosen continues to progress, and proves that he has all the intangibles to be ‘the man’ in Miami. Maybe they then turn their focus to the draft’s top pass rushers or offensive line talent in 2020. And if Rosen fails with everything around him perfectly in place, they can then turn their attention to the the ‘Belle of the Ball’ in 2021. Trevor Lawrence. 

In the end, I’m not sure there’s anything Rosen can do this year to change Miami’s fate of drafting one of the top QBs in 2020. And whether that be Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jordan Love, or the next emerging superstar, history suggests the Dolphins must continue to draft a QB, until they find their next Dan Marino. Because until they do, they will continue to hover around the .500 mark. Worst case, the Dolphins find themselves with two potential franchise QBs, and a valuable trade asset. 

No matter what the outcome, the future looks promising in Miami.  And for the first time in years, should finally fill the void left behind by No.13, so many years ago.

This article was written by Josh Houtz (@houtz) while laying next to his wife and newborn in the hospital. But we assure you, he is not Adam Gase. 

5 de la semana: El derroche de dinero de Trout y el hobby costoso de Tyson

En el episodio de hoy Leandro Soto, Alejandro Villegas y Ricardo Montes De Oca se divierten un poco con cinco momentos de esta semana.

Los Yankees viajaron en el pasado y se vistieron de “Full House”, Mike Trout tiene unos gastos largos al igual que su tocayo Mike Tyson quien tiene un hobby muy caro. También, Nick Kyrgios y su mas reciente rabieta y Iniesta se molesto en China.

Minkah Fitzpatrick

Are the Miami Dolphins misusing Minkah Fitzpatrick?

Wednesday’s practice started a bit of drama surrounding defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. When the Sun Sentinel’s Omar Kelly pointed out that Fitzpatrick was struggling in practice, Fitzpatrick’s mother fired back with no restraint.

Dolphins fans everywhere know that Kelly is not shy about stating his opinions, controversial or otherwise. But it isn’t every day that his comments earn the ire of players, or those close to them. It brings up an interesting point though. Miami is using Minkah Fitzpatrick all over the field. Inside the box, in the back of the secondary, covering tight ends, and so on. That is exactly what Fitzpatrick did not want to have to do. He hoped to be used in a single position and focus on that. That still isn’t Fitzpatrick’s reality, much to his dismay.

“I wish she would have addressed me first,” Fitzpatrick admitted on Wednesday. “My mother feels very strongly. She’s not wrong. But coach is asking me to do something right now, I gotta do what they ask me to do … you just gotta do it. If you resist it, you’re not gonna play well. If you think about playing somewhere else, you’re not gonna be able to focus on your position. I’m not a 215 pound to 220 guy, so being in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what coach asked me to do. So that’s what I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna practice my hardest, try my hardest. I might lose some of those matchups in the box, but I’m gonna fight my hardest.”

So Fitzpatrick agrees with his mother’s statement. His abilities are being misused. However, the whole appeal of drafting Fitzpatrick out of Alabama in 2018 was his ability to be a jack-of-all-trades. He does it all. He does some things better than others, but his versatility is still impressive.

“He’s done a really good job.” said head coach Brian Flores. “He’s a hard-working kid, does a good job with his communication, practices well every day. Obviously, it’s never perfect for anybody, but he’s a guy who we’ve used in multiple roles. He’s taken to that and really learned them all at a pretty good level. Obviously, there’s always room for improvement from a technique, from a fundamental standpoint – just an understanding of the game. He’s still a young player. It’s a new system, but he’s really a joy to work with from an abilities standpoint, as a kid – he’s a really good kid, too. I’m looking forward to working with him some more.”

The term “misused” isn’t something to be used lightly. True, Fitzpatrick feels comfortable elsewhere in the secondary, but necessity takes precedence. As of now, both of Miami’s starting safeties, Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald, are nursing injuries. With them out, Fitzpatrick is being asked to step in. True, he’s willing, but he’s made it clear he doesn’t think he belongs there.

Now, fans are coming out to agree with Minkah Fitzpatrick. They believe his skills are suited for the free safety position. When he was drafted, that’s what everyone envisioned him as. But now that’s Bobby McCain’s role, and Fitzpatrick is taking over his slot position. Keep in mind, back in Alabama, the slot is where he spent most of his time.

Whatever one may think of his integrity, coach Nick Saban knows how to handle and develop players. If Fitzpatrick’s best place is in the slot, he should be there. If he gets moved around, it’s not because the coaches don’t care.

“It depends on if it’s a matchup-based game and his guy’s to the field, then we’ve got to put him to the field.” Flores said. “If we’re playing a zone game and we’re playing him middle of the field, then we’ll play him in the middle of the field. If his guy’s into the boundary, we’ll do that. He can do a lot of things. Part of what we do is try to put him in positions – because he can do so many things – not to overload the kid. I think that’s a big part of our responsibility as a coaching staff is not to overload him.

“I don’t feel like he’s overloaded. He’s played multiple positions. He’s really done a good job at all of them. Every time he gets out there, it’s a new experience. Whether he’s getting stack receivers or Y-Y wing or empty – I mean there’s a myriad of things that could happen and every one is a good experience for him, and he’s done a good job.”

More than likely, Minkah Fitzpatrick will go back to his slot position upon the return of Jones and McDonald. Until then, he will have to endure being an all-purpose player. Is he being misused? The answer is no, not really. He is as advertised, someone who can do it all, but at different levels of effectiveness. This is the next man up mentality in a nutshell. The coaches know what he is and isn’t good at, but when injuries come into play, sacrifices must be made.

Should Don Mattingly stay or go? It will be up to Derek Jeter

Don Mattingly is about seven weeks away from doing something no Marlins manager has done; complete his contract.

Matting signed a four-year deal to manage the Marlins in October 2015 after splitting with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He will leave Miami having managed more games than anyone else in Franchise history, passing former manager and current third base coach Fredi Gonzalez.

Mattingly joined the Marlins with a young team filled with promise in 2016 but a tragic boating accident killed their best pitcher and after the 2017 season, the franchise exchanged ownerships and a new plan was put into place.

While the last two seasons have been spent at the bottom of the National League, the Marlins young players have shown improvement and the farm system has been built up from the one of the worst to one of the best.

Mattingly said he wants to remain the Marlins manager and be there for the eventual turnaround, whether it be in 2020 or beyond.

“I’d love to be back, especially if they want you back,” Mattingly said. “You don’t want to be anywhere that you don’t feel like it’s the best situation. You don’t want to get in the way of anything. If they think they want to go in a direction, then that’s something you just deal with at the time.”

That decision will have to be made by Marlins chief executive officer Derek Jeter. He said on Wednesday at Marlins Park that he plans on addressing Mattingly’s status before this season ends.

“To be fair to Donnie, it’s something that we need to talk about sooner rather than later,” Jeter said. “We have touched base, and we’ll continue to talk.

“Donnie has done a good job. But then again, we’ve got to sit down, like we do with coaches every year as well, and ask, ‘How can we get better?’”

Both Jeter and Mattingly spent their entire playing career with the New York Yankees and were recognized as legendary captains during their careers. 1995 was Jeter’s rookie season and Mattingly’s final season. Ironically, 24 years later, the power dynamics between the two have switched.

State of the Marlins with Derek Jeter

Training Camp

Top 3 performers from Dolphins-Buccaneers training camp – Day 2

Wednesday concludes the joint training camp sessions between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Next, they will face off against each other in real game action, culminating the experience. As usual, there were ups and downs all across the board, but there were some higher highs and lower lows that stood out above the rest. Now the time has come to, for the final time this season, break down the top three performers in training camp.

Kalen Ballage, RB

Yes, he was on Tuesday’s top three list as well, but it cannot be denied just how strong Kalen Ballage has come on as of late. Tuesday’s practice saw Kenyan Drake walk off the field with a trainer and never return. Wednesday, he arrived wearing a walking boot, leaving the starting spot wide open for Ballage.

And you better believe Ballage is taking full advantage of it, despite Drake’s injury not being viewed as serious. Tuesday, Ballage scored two touchdowns, and on Wednesday he scored three. The speed he displays when running down the sideline is staggering, and is frankly uncharacteristic of a player his size. This is exactly what Miami saw when they drafted him last season in the fourth round.

Everyone knows about his speed, but it’s his hidden power potential that, up to this point, was hidden away. Since getting this opportunity, Ballage has become aggressive with his running, and is even willing to make some hits. At last, he’s using the power his frame naturally give him. If he keeps that up, he could snatch the majority of snaps away from Drake when he eventually returns to the field.

Jaryd Jones-Smith, OT

Interesting choice for a second top three performer? Perhaps. But after leapfrogging veteran Jordan Mills as the second-team left tackle on Wednesday, his contribution cannot be overlooked. As soon as Jones-Smith entered the lineup, the left side of the offensive line found some stability that wasn’t there before. That’s telling, especially given how the OL has been in shambles for weeks now.

Granted, Jones-Smith was not perfect, giving up a whistled sack. But overall, his play was solid enough to warrant giving him this distinction. It’s been a rough road for the former Pitt standout, losing his dad to brain tumors and nearly losing his leg back in his college days. He and his record-breaking wingspan overcame those challenges however, and now he’s here to prove he has something to offer.

Cornell Armstrong, CB

Armstrong is the top gunner on special teams with Walt Aikens out with a knee injury. But that isn’t why he’s making the list for Wednesday’s training camp. The second-year player out of Southern Miss didn’t get much coverage coming out of college, but Chris Grier and the scouting department saw something there no one else did. Armstrong is steadily improving as a cornerback, reading routes and making plays as a part of Miami’s backup unit.

Even Wednesday, Armstrong made an impressive play. He read the eyes of the QB and managed to deflect a pass in the endzone with a dive, laying out to prevent the catch. Dedication like that is always worth noting. Armstrong may not be getting a lot of looks, but he’s doing the best he can with what he is getting. With the Dolphins looking for someone to start next to Xavien Howard, he should get a chance to try.