The Miami Dolphins quarterback with the best arm is in the worst situation right now.
And if there was any doubt of that after the team brought back Ryan Fitzpatrick as its incumbent starter and drafted Tua Tagovailoa as its quarterback of the future, then it has become more clear in practice the past couple of days.
In those most recent Dolphins practices, Josh Rosen has gotten fewer repetitions and fewer throws and fewer opportunities than either Fitzpatrick or Tagovailoa.
And as the regular-season nears and preparations for it begin to take shape, Rosen seems to be looking more like the third-man in a three-man action plan.
Everyone sees it. Including Rosen.
“It’s definitely not injury-related,” Rosen said Tuesday, dismissing a possible reason he’s not getting as many throws as the other two. “I’m all healthy out here. But I don’t know, that’s not really up to me. I’m just trying to control what I can control. I think I’ve played pretty well.
“Definitely a couple mistakes that I’m trying to fix here and there, but I’m just trying to put the best product of Josh Rosen on the field that I can. It doesn’t really do well to focus on much else.”
Rosen has no choice, really. He’s caught in a vice grip between the present and the future — between Fitzpatrick today and Tagovailoa tomorrow.
It’s an uncomfortable situation. And Rosen musters talk about taking care of what he can while trying to ease into whatever small niche on the team he can find.
But Rosen seems to understand he’s facing a losing situation that offers only the most unlikely of last-minute comeback possibilities with the Dolphins.
“Maybe my mindset will change at some point in the future but I’m not really focused as much on winning a job as I am just getting better,” Rosen said. “Because I feel like I’ve bounced around a little bit at this point in my career. And when you focus on this [raising one hand], you kind of forget about this [raising the other hand].
“I’m not saying I forgot about one or the other, but my peace right now is in my development as a quarterback, and I feel like that’s been going in a positive direction and that’s why I feel good about where I am right now.
“I was drafted in the first round and I think around the league, people still think I can play to a certain extent. And just whenever that opportunity comes, wherever it comes, I just want to be prepared for it because they’re few and far between, and I didn’t do great with the two that I already had [in Arizona and Miami]. Not many people get third chances, so I’m definitely going to seize the opportunity when it comes.”
Interesting, isn’t it? Rosen already understands Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter. And he can read between lines as well as read defenses, so he gets the Tagovailoa dynamic.
All that’s left for him to do with the Dolphins is make himself as good as he can so when he’s somewhere else, he doesn’t blow that opportunity.
“I guess the reason that I’m sort of positive outside of this situation is because, really, all I can control is my development, and I think that’s going in a good direction and I’m pretty — I don’t know the kind of word to pick here — but I’m doing well,” Rosen said.
“I’ve just got to come out and try as hard as I can and compete as hard as I can every day and hopefully get the nod at some point in the future. Right now, I’m just focusing on improving every day. Fitz is an awesome guy to learn from and I’m sort of trying to continue that progress I had near the end of last year. I think I’m doing a pretty good job of it and we’ll see what the future holds.”
Rosen, about to start his third NFL season, must improve now, on a team where his chances are fading, to perhaps make a mark someday on a team where he’s in the immediate plans. So he’s addressing some areas of his game that must be better.
“Defenses — not just watching film, but being able to apply information from the film room onto the field and what that means for my particular play,” Rosen said, going through the list of issues he’s concentrating on. “So I think I’ve been able to — more so than I ever have in my career — been able to eliminate guys pre-snap and start to zero in a little bit quicker on who I want to throw [to].
“And that’s helping me get the ball out quicker than I ever have and make fast decisions and not make my offensive line look bad by holding onto the ball.”
Rosen is smiling. And he doesn’t sound bitter. That’s good.
It has to please coach Brian Flores because the coach insists — no, really! — that the quarterback competition continues despite all appearances to the contrary.
“Like all of the quarterbacks, he’s had some good moments, some bad moments,” Flores said of Rosen. “All in all, I think he’s competing. “...Of all the quarterbacks, he’s probably got the biggest arm. He’s made some incredible throws. Consistency – I would say we need to always be more consistent at every position, specifically the quarterback.
“There’s a lot of competition there from Fitz to Tua to Josh. But he’s a talented player. He’s been competing ... I think he’s going to fit in and his role is going to be what he makes it, just like we say with every player at every position.”