Josh Rosen vs Ryan Fitzpatrick: Miami Dolphins Camp Battles

Josh Rosen
DAVIE, FL - MAY 14: Josh Rosen #3 prepares to take the snap from Ryan Anderson #60 of the Miami Dolphins xx during the Miami Dolphins OTAs on May 14, 2019 at the Miami Dolphins training facility in Davie, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

The Miami Dolphins are starting anew. Gone are Adam Gase and Ryan Tannehill, replaced by Brian Flores and the duo of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. Quarterback is the most important position in football, and the battle between Fitzpatrick and Rosen will be at the center of the Miami Dolphins off-season. Based on what we know now, who has the edge to win the starting quarterback job?

Miami Dolphins Camp Battles: Josh Rosen vs Ryan Fitzpatrick

Josh Rosen

Let’s start off by breaking down Josh Rosen. Statistically speaking, Rosen had a terrible rookie season. The former Cardinals passer appeared in 14 games, completing just 55.2% of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. However, a deeper look at the film shows that Rosen actually has a chance to develop into a legitimate franchise quarterback.

Rosen had one of the worst coaching staffs, offensive lines, and receiving groups of any quarterback in the league. Rosen was sacked 42 times in 2018, tied for the seventh-most in the league. All six quarterbacks ahead of him played two more games than Rosen. When allotted a clean pocket, Rosen actually made quite a few NFL-caliber throws. These opportunities were few and far between, but by and large, Rosen made his throws when given an opportunity.

Additionally, Rosen demonstrated an impressive ability to make throws on the move. The Cardinals should have used more moving pocket concepts to mask their offensive line play, as Rosen didn’t struggle to make difficult throws on the move.

This isn’t to say Rosen was a perfect quarterback. The former 10th overall pick had some clear shortcomings, specifically with identifying pressure. Rosen took more sacks than he probably should have thanks in part to an inability to accurately diagnose and sense edge pressure. While some of this could be due to a poor offensive line, Rosen will need to show better awareness if he’s to develop into a true franchise quarterback.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

At this point in time, everybody knows what Ryan Fitzpatrick brings to the table. The Harvard product has bounced all around the NFL, sometimes looking like a top-10 quarterback but more often looking like a bottom-five passer. Fitzpatrick is capable of going supernova for a few weeks only to extinguish later on in the season.

Fitzpatrick lives and dies by the deep ball. According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Fitzpatrick led the league with 8.8 average completed air yards and finished second with 10.2 intended air yards per attempt. Fitzpatrick almost exclusively targets wide receivers and always looks for the big play. This tends to get him in trouble, as his 3.41% interception percentage since 2011 is easily the most among quarterbacks with 1,500 pass attempts.

Additionally, Fitzpatrick isn’t exactly built for this offense. His aggressive style of play requires a good group of wide receivers and a competent offensive line capable of giving him time to throw the ball. Right now, it doesn’t look like Miami will have either. Kenny Stills is a great deep threat, but that’s about it. Davante Parker isn’t anything special and Albert Wilson is best suited to work in the short portion of the field. As far as the offensive line goes, Laremy Tunsil is the only above-average projected starter. Chances are, Fitzpatrick won’t have the receivers or the blocking required to succeed.

Final Verdict

The Miami Dolphins owe it to themselves to see if Josh Rosen can be their quarterback of the future. Rosen had a rough rookie season, but most of that was due to poor coaching and a terrible supporting cast. Rosen is just one year removed from being a top-10 selection and demonstrated some of the traits which made him such an interesting prospect in 2018.

The coaching staff clearly wants competition so Rosen will have to beat out Fitzpatrick for the job. However, he should be able to win the competition. Fitzpatrick is a notoriously streaky passer and requires a specific supporting cast to produce. That cast does not exist in Miami, forcing Fitzpatrick to a backup role.

Committing to Josh Rosen in 2019 does not necessarily mean the Dolphins will stick with him in 2020 and beyond. However, they need to put him on the field and see if he can develop into Dan Marino’s long-awaited heir. If he can, then the Dolphins stole a franchise quarterback from the Cardinals. If he can’t, then Miami can draft one of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft.

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