The Miami Dolphins are making a quarterback change, the team announced on Wednesday. After benching Ryan Fitzpatrick in favor of Josh Rosen heading into Week 3, the team will reverse that decision as they prepare for their Week 7 game at the Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick replaced Rosen in the fourth quarter of the team’s game last week against the Washington Redskins, directing two touchdown scoring drives, the first two scores for the Dolphins in the second half of a game this season.
“We kind of came to that conclusion really over the last couple of days,” head coach Brian Flores said in announcing the change. “We decided that we feel like that was the best thing for this team and give us an opportunity – the best opportunity – for this team to go up into a tough environment and try to pull out a win; and we do that on a weekly basis. What’s the best way, what’s the best grouping, set of players – offense, defense, kicking game – to help us try to win the game? We felt that that was the case this week.”
This season, Fitzpatrick is 39-for-70 (60 percent) for 435 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He started in Weeks 1 and 2.
Rosen, who started Weeks 3, 4, and 6, around Miami’s Week 5 bye, is 58-for-109 (53.2 percent) for 567 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.
“We need to be more productive on offense,” Flores said of if players respond to Fitzpatrick in the huddle. “We really need to be more productive everywhere; but offensively, we need more production. We got that out of Ryan the other day for a quarter, and we just felt like as we – this game and this week – that was the best chance for us to be productive. We’ll see how it goes. This is a tough team. That’s an extremely tough defense. It’ll be a tough crowd. We know that. It’ll be a tough environment so it’ll be a major challenge, but we felt like given all those obstacles, that Ryan gave us the best chance to be productive offensively.”
The Dolphins traded for Rosen during this year’s Draft, acquiring the 2018 tenth overall pick from the Arizona Cardinals. After three starts, however, he is heading back to the bench. “Josh, we have a lot of confidence in Josh or else we wouldn’t have played him,” Flores said of what the move means for Rosen. “I think for him, it’s got to be a day-to-day improve, get better and continue his development, and that was the conversation I had with him. I think he’s still a young player – a young, talented player – and there’s still a lot of room for development with him. We’ll continue to develop him in practice; but at the end of the day, we’re looking for production at all positions and we felt like playing ‘Fitz’ would be in the best interest of this team.”
When asked what changed in Rosen that led to the team’s decision to go back to Fitzpatrick, Flores explained, “I would say his production in the game, pretty much. I think the way we played at the end of the game, along with some other – there’s a myriad of reasons – but at the end of the day, I felt like we moved the ball better with Ryan in the game and I think we need to stay with that. That’s really what changed. It’s not a knock on Josh. I think he’s improving. I do, and he’ll continue to improve; but at the end of the day, we’ve got to do what’s best for this team or what we feel is best for this team.”
The Dolphins will face Buffalo, for whom Fitzpatrick played from 2009 through 2012, on Sunday in Orchard Park, New York. Kickoff is set for 1pm ET.