One major difference between Miami’s current quarterbacks and the one that departed in the offseason is their willingness to take chances. Both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen are aggressive in their decision-making, a trait put on full display during the Dolphins win against the Falcons. They attempted plays that can only be described as incredible. Some of them worked, while some of them did not.
That willingness to be aggressive is part of what makes Rosen such an intriguing prospect. However, it can also lead to mistakes that Miami can’t afford to make. One such mistake was when Rosen attempted a pass in the middle of the field to WR Isaiah Ford, only to be intercepted by linebacker Jermaine Grace. The three-year veteran stepped right in front of the route and Rosen could do nothing but watch as his team chased the defender down.
Rosen is taking chances, but head coach Brian Flores wants him to tone it down a bit.
“Yeah. A couple times there I thought, maybe, those are a little dicey.” Flores said after the game. “And at some point as a quarterback you’ve got to take the sack. That’s the best play. But the guy’s got a little bit of a gunslinger mentality and wants to let it rip and obviously got the nice one out to Preston, but I think we want to play smarter than that I would say in that situation, not just let the ball go like he did.”
Once again, Flores functions on the premise of basics and fundamentals. Even if risky plays end in favorable results, that doesn’t mean Flores condones the decision. He wants smart, calculated football. That means taking advantage of what the defense gives, not forcing something when things get dangerous.
“I felt some guys at my ankles.” Rosen said. “I knew Preston kind of had a stop coming back to me, I saw he was a bit inside of him. So I knew if I just put it up he would kind of have the break on it. It might have been a little bit too dicey; but I don’t know. A couple fall in your favor, a couple don’t. I probably should be a little smarter with that, even though this one worked out.”
Not having consistent protection can easily lead to more of these mistakes. Josh Rosen had to spend the majority of his playing time dodging defenders before he could make a throw. In reality, it’s a testament to Rosen’s improvement that he was able to accomplish what he did against Atlanta. Rosen completed 13 out of 20 attempts for 191 yards, and of course his interception. That averages out to a 75.2 passer rating, which does not reflect his overall performance. Rosen grew more comfortable as the game continued, and soon those risky plays started looking routine.
“I feel substantially better now than I did two weeks ago.”Rosen said. “But like I said, I’ve got a long ways to go. The way ‘Fitz’ (Ryan Fitzpatrick) in our meeting room can break down a defense and how quickly he can make comments on where everyone is, where the ball should go, is pretty impressive and I think if I can kind of hedge that gunslinger attitude a little bit and put a little bit more thought into it, I think I could develop pretty nicely.”
It’s encouraging that Rosen recognizes the flaws in himself. He even goes as far as to admit he’s struggled with taking unnecessary risks throughout his entire football career. He’s learning when the best move is to give up on a play and try again on the next down, and when it’s okay to throw up a prayer. It’s something he’s been dealing with all through the offseason and training camp already.
Josh Rosen isn’t making excuses for himself, though he easily could have on Thursday. With the offensive line unable to protect for him, he didn’t have much time to think about what he was doing. But that’s moot. He made a mistake, and he knows it. He isn’t about to whine about something he feels has no bearing on his ability to make wise choices.
“I threw the pick in a completely clean pocket. So football is football.” He said. “You’re never going to have a completely clean pocket all of the time. When you get it, you’ve got to take advantage of it and when you don’t, you can’t make stupid mistakes by trying to play hero ball. I did kind of a little bit of everything, so I’ve got a lot of film to watch. Just because like good plays gained yards doesn’t mean that the way we got that was like a sustainable way to do that in the future. So I think that like I said at the beginning, there’s good, bad and everything in between.”
If Rosen can eliminate some of the bad, then he can easily take the starting job away from Ryan Fitzpatrick. If he eliminates the everything in between and keeps only the good, then Miami will finally have their franchise quarterback in Josh Rosen. The sooner he learns those lessons, the better off everyone will be.
“I think that’s what this time is for, that’s what training camp is for.” Flores said. “It’s to develop these guys, help develop them, help work on their techniques, fundamentals, consistency. That’s what training camp is for. That’s why I got into coaching, that’s what I love about coaching. We want to win, there’s no doubt about that. But we’re going to try to develop these players as best we can and try to win at the same time. And I think development of players is something that’s ongoing.”