Setting Realistic Expectations for Miami Dolphins’ Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen
DAVIE, FL - APRIL 29: Quarterback Josh Rosen speaks at a press conference where he was introduced by the Miami Dolphins at Baptist Health Training Facility at Nova Southern University on April 29, 2019 in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

While they didn’t select a quarterback in the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins managed to get a promising young passer in Josh Rosen. Initially selected 10th overall by the Arizona Cardinals, Rosen struggled during his rookie year and new head coach Kliff Kingsbury effectively replaced him with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray. Now in Miami, what should Dolphins fans expect from the UCLA passer?

What to Expect From Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen had a miserable 2018 season with the 3-13 Arizona Cardinals. Appearing in 14 games, Rosen completed 55.2% of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. These numbers obviously weren’t great, and the on-field product wasn’t much better. However, it’s hard to blame Rosen for the offensive ineptitude of the 2018 Cardinals. The offensive line was one of the worst in the league, offensive coordinator Mike McCoy was fired halfway through the season, head coach Steve Wilks got the boot after one season, and general manager Steve Keim built one of the most talent-barren rosters in the league.

All of this is to say that Rosen was in an unwinnable situation. The best way to get a gage on Rosen’s ability is by looking back to his college tape. Coming out of UCLA, Rosen boasted fantastic throwing mechanics with unmatched accuracy. While he doesn’t have the arm talent of a guy like Patrick Mahomes, he’s able to throw receivers open when he has time to throw. Additionally, he’s a cerebral quarterback who excels at diagnosing defenses and winning before the snap.

Rosen’s Downsides

The biggest concerns with Rosen were durability and attitude. Several scouts around the league didn’t know if Rosen could survive a full 16-game schedule, but Rosen put that question to rest in 2018. The UCLA product started the season on the bench but appeared in all 14 games after taking the starting job from Sam Bradford. Rosen was pummeled on a weekly basis and still managed to get up after each hit. Every NFL player is injury-prone, but Rosen demonstrated the durability needed to survive in the NFL.

The attitude concerns around Rosen were always pretty dumb. Rosen is something of an open book and some in the NFL think that his brain is something of a curse. Being too smart is a good problem for a quarterback to have, but Rosen demonstrated an ability to keep his mouth shut and work while in Arizona. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Rosen was a fantastic teammate and Arizona Republic reporter Kent Somers said that Rosen’s worth ethic wasn’t a concern.

As far as on-field play goes, the biggest problem with Rosen is his arm. While he can make NFL-caliber throws, his arm is relatively weak when compared to other top quarterbacks around the league. That said, his elite accuracy tended to make up for any deficiency in arm strength. He won’t complete 80-yard bombs like Aaron Rodgers, but he still has the tools to be a starting NFL quarterback.

How Rosen Fits Miami’s System

Rosen’s pinpoint accuracy and smart decision-making make him a perfect fit for offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea’s style of offense. While O’Shea has never operated his own offense, it’s safe to assume that his offensive scheme will look similar to that of the New England Patriots. New England’s offense is all about efficiently tearing apart the short and intermediate portions of the field with quick, precise passes. In order to avoid being too predictable, the Patriots offense also takes just enough deep shots to keep defenses honest.

Josh Rosen is no Tom Brady, but Miami has the pieces to run a poor mans’ version of this offense. Rosen’s strengths lie in getting the ball out quickly to the right guy, so he’s theoretically a good fit for this scheme. Additionally, Albert Wilson should be back for the start of the 2019 season. Wilson is at his best out of the slot and offers big-play potential after the catch. DeVante Parker earned a fresh start with new head coach Brian Flores and should work as Miami’s primary intermediate threat. Kenny Stills can still take the top off the defense and should seamlessly fill that role in Miami’s offense.

Like any quarterback, Josh Rosen needs protection if he is to succeed. While Miami’s line still doesn’t look good on paper, they’ve added a few pieces in the 2019 NFL Draft. Michael Deiter has a good chance to start the season at right guard while Isaiah Prince could be the top swing tackle. It’s not much, but it should be an improvement from 2018.

Last Word on Josh Rosen in Miami

Josh Rosen is now a Dolphin and should earn the starting job sooner rather than later. Rosen has untapped potential and could develop into Miami’s quarterback of the future. However, Rosen isn’t scheme-proof and won’t immediately turn the Dolphins into Super Bowl contenders.

Rosen is at his best when he’s able to win before the snap and get the ball out quick. His pinpoint accuracy is his best asset, as he’s able to throw receivers open and put the ball right where he wants it. While he doesn’t have the strongest arm in the league, he’s capable of making throws that NFL quarterbacks need to make.

At first glance, Rosen appears to be a good fit for Miami’s offense. Chad O’Shea’s scheme should be predicated on winning before the snap and getting the ball out early. Rosen thrives at this and has the weapons to make this scheme work. Albert Wilson is a strong option from the slot, while Devante Parker and Kenny Stills can capably fill their respective roles in the offense. The offensive line is still a big question mark, but Michael Deiter and Isaiah Prince can’t possibly make the situation worse.

Rosen won’t be the best quarterback in the league, but he can be a solid starter for Miami. Don’t be surprised if Rosen is a top-15 quarterback with borderline top-10 upside.

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