Miami Gardens, FL (CBS4)- Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen?
That is the question that has dominated the story lines coming out of Dolphins training camp throughout the offseason. And, a little over one week prior to the team’s first game being played against the Baltimore Ravens, we still don’t have an answer.
It has looked for much of the preseason as if the veteran Fitzpatrick would get the starting nod, but Rosen’s performance in the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last week left head coach Brian Flores saying that the decision has gotten quite a bit more difficult. As the countdown to the season continues, the debate among fans and media members rages on.
“If you asked me, I would go with Josh Rosen. You have to find out what you have in this guy because going forward into next year’s draft you have to know whether you need a starting quarterback or not, ” said CBS4 sports anchor Mike Cugno. “Ryan Fitzpatrick you see what he can do in spurts but I don’t believe he is a long-term solution. He signed a two year deal. Really if you’re looking for that guy of the future and you asked me, I’d say you need to start Josh Rosen. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy like Brian Flores, a new head coach from the Patriots system, all he thinks about is winning games every week so I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes that route.”
Cugno’s thought process is one that seems to be generally popular heading into the season as the franchise did give up a 2nd and 5th round pick to acquire Rosen who was a Top 10 draft pick just last year. With the team currently holding the longest Super Bowl odds in the league, the logic is why not start the young quarterback who showed so much potential in college and took some lumps in a tough situation in Arizona last year?
Whoever the team does decide to go with, that quarterback will need better protection up front. Last season, the Dolphins front ranked second-to-last in the league in protecting the quarterback according to Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate metric. Dolphins quarterbacks were sacked 52 times on the season which tied for the fifth-most in the league. Heading into this season, the team added a pair of young linemen who are likely to start. Their development, Cugno says, is the biggest key to look for on the offensive side of the ball.
“No matter who is back there at quarterback, you have to protect that guy and right now it looks like they could be starting two rookies at guard in Michael Dieter and Shaq Calhoun,” said Cugno. “If they can sure up the middle of the offensive line with those guys and get them enough experience to go forward, you look at a guy at left tackle in Laremy Tunsil you have a solid offensive line there. But, those two guys really have to outperform what they are expected to do if they are going to start.”
If the offensive line is able to form some cohesion and keep the quarterback of choice upright, they will have some intriguing weapons to throw to on the perimeter as the receiver group is the part of the offense that Cugno thinks is its biggest strength.
“On the offensive side, they have some receivers with a lot of speed in Jakeem Grant and Albert Wilson,” said Cugno. “The only problem is, those guys have been injured the last year. If those guys can be on the field, down here they call them NASCAR on grass, if you can get them the ball, they are explosive guys who can make plays happen.”
“Then there is a newcomer in Preston Williams who went undrafted. Miami may have found a diamond in the rough there,” continued Cugno. “He is a big guy who could be a possessions receiver for you.”
Similarly, on the defensive side of the ball, Cugno likes the perimeter players that the Dolphins have. He believes the secondary could prove to be the team’s biggest strength this season.
“Xavien Howard and Reshad Jones are a pair of Pro Bowlers and then you have some experience with Bobby McCain, who is moving back and forth between corner and safety,” said Cugno. “And then you have Minkah Fitzpatrick, a kid out of Alabama who had a fantastic rookie year. He was top five on the team in tackles last season. He comes back and is such a versatile player like a Swiss Army knife they can move him all around the defense. I really like what they have in terms of the defensive backs.”
For more of Mike’s thoughts on the team heading into the season, check out the full video above. The Dolphins open up their 2019-20 season with a home game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday September 8th at 1:00 p.m. ET. The full team schedule is below.
9/8 vs. Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. ET
9/15 vs. New England Patriots, 1:00 p.m. ET
9/22 @ Dallas Cowboys, 1:00 p.m. ET
9/29 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1:00 p.m. ET
10/13 vs. Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. ET
10/20 @ Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET
10/28 @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m. ET
11/3 vs. New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET
11/10 @ Indianapolis Colts, 4:05 p.m. ET
11/17 vs. Buffalo Bills, 1:00 p.m. ET
11/24 @ Cleveland Browns, 1:00 p.m. ET
12/1 vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. ET
12/8 @ New York Jets, 1:00 p.m. ET
12/15 @ New York Giants, 1:00 p.m. ET
12/22 vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 p.m. ET
12/29 @ New England Patriots, 1:00 p.m. ET