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Rosen’s Fate Inextricably Tied To This Year’s Offensive Line

Miami Dolphins Training Camp Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Well, it was certainly not a good week in Dolphinland for the ‘Rose-A-Maniacs’ of the team’s fan base. Not only did first year head coach Brian Flores tell us that fellow Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is considerably further ahead than Josh Rosen -- something that, in and of itself, means very little at this juncture -- Flores also fired offensive line coach Pat Flaherty and proclaimed OL assistant Dave DeGuglielmo offensive line coach.

So, you ask, why is this important and what does it have to do with draft day trade acquisition Josh Rosen? After all, the fate of every quarterback in the National Football League is tied to his offensive line, not just Rosen’s. Ordinarily, Rosen’s situation wouldn’t be any different than what any other quarterback faces. If his line gives him enough time to throw, he’ll complete passes, if he’s any good, and if his blockers don’t give him sufficient time to throw, then he won’t.

Ah, but this is no ordinary situation, and as I’ve said many times, this is no ordinary year for the Miami Dolphins. Anyone who tells you that this a season like any of the previous 53 seasons the team has been through either hasn’t been paying attention to the off-season developments with this franchise or is in advanced stages of denial. Team owner Stephen Ross and general manager Chris Grier decided at the end of the 2018 season that they weren’t going to go all out to try and win those extra two or three games that most teams with more talented rosters than Miami has had recently try to win. Ross essentially told us as much at his season ending press conference. But, being the gung ho fans that we are, and there’s nothing wrong with that, many of us chose to ignore or dismiss what Ross said.

But back to Rosen. 2019 represents a one season, one year, one shot opportunity for Josh Rosen to demonstrate that he can be the franchise quarterback the Dolphins have been pining for since Dan Marino hung up his cleats after the 1999 season, twenty long, arduous years ago. And make no mistake -- that’s all it represents. I have to chuckle a little when people say things like, “It’ll be a failure if Rosen doesn’t win the starting job, look how much we gave up for him...”, etc. What the Dolphins gave up was a pick at the end of the second round, and a late round pick. As the Rose-A-Maniacs will surely, and repeatedly tell you, Rosen was the tenth overall pick of the draft just fifteen months ago. What they conveniently leave out is that, besides being the tenth overall pick, he was also the fourth quarterback selected. Meaning that three other teams who wanted to take a QB in the 2018 draft decided to select someone other than Josh Rosen to line up under center for them. Now, you might think that, after having said all this, I don’t like Josh Rosen, and I must not be very optimistic about his chances of winning the starting quarterback job for the Dolphins. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love the kid, I love his moxie and I really love the fact that he speaks his mind without sugar coating his words. Heck, in that regard, he kind of reminds me of me, only more polished and much better looking.

Guys, I want to see the Dolphins find a real, honest to goodness gun slinging franchise QB as much as anyone, but here’s how it is, according to Cranehead: when it’s all said and done, when the dust clears, Miami is still going to have the first or second, maybe there’s an outside shot at the third pick, in next year’s draft, and they are still going to use that pick to select a quarterback. Not doing so would be untenable, from a public relations standpoint. Now, if Rosen ends up eventually beating that guy out, great, but he isn’t going to go out there this season and set the league on fire behind the offensive line that the Dolphins currently have. And, no, the waiver wire acquisitions the team figures to add later this Summer aren’t going to appreciably move the needle from ‘downright awful’ to merely ‘bad’ for that offensive line. I don’t blame Brian Flores one bit for sending Flaherty packing. Flores isn’t dumb; he watched the OL at practice for a few days -- against quite possibly the worst set of pass rushers in the NFL, on the Dolphins’ defense -- and decided that someone had to be fired. I genuinely wish Joshua Ballinger Lippincott Rosen the very best with the Dolphins, and I hope his stay with the team is a long and very successful one, but I’m also a realist. And folks, I apologize if this comes across as being negative or pessimistic; that’s really not what I want you to take away from this. All I’m asking is that you try to take the long view here, maybe sort of look at the 2019 and 2020 off-season and regular seasons as a single entity, the two of them together in one package. It might save you a lot of pain. That’s the wrap for today, have a great week, everybody.