Josh Rosen appears to once again be the odd man out when it comes to his team’s QB plans.
To say that Josh Rosen’s luck hasn’t been great the last 6 years is a gross understatement. After being recruited to UCLA, Rosen spent his three years in college watching as his coaching staff was turned over each year. Despite that, Rosen completed nearly 61 percent of his passes and put up a more than 2:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
His reward for his perseverance was to be drafted by the Arizona Cardinals 10th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. Things should be good, right? Not so fast.
Under a rookie head coach (Steve Keim) and a rookie offensive coordinator (Byron Leftwich), and standing behind a terrible offensive line, Rosen went 3-10 as a rookie and Arizona ended up with the number one overall pick.
Kliff Kingsbury was soon hired as the head coach in Arizona primarily because ownership wanted to take Heisman winner Kyler Murray first overall in the 2019 draft. Rosen is no longer the ‘future of the franchise’ so Arizona trades him to an equally desolate franchise; the Miami Dolphins.
Like Arizona, the Dolphins hired a first-time head coach and offensive coordinator because the team was in the process of its own franchise rebuild; trading/cutting any veterans that had value in favor of young guys. The lone exception was the signing of 36-year old Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency.
After the team got decimated in the first two games of the season with Fitzpatrick behind center, Dolphins head coach Brian Flores decided to give Rosen three starts against the Cowboys, Chargers, and Washington.
When the team didn’t improve at that point, (how could they when the team was still signing players on a Tuesday and playing them that Sunday) Flores seemingly gave up on the “Josh Rosen experiment” and Rosen never got another start in 2019.
Some people believed that Rosen might get a chance to compete for the starting role in 2020. But, like the Cardinals in 2019, the Dolphins drafted their “shiny, new quarterback” Tua Tagovailoa 5th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Did I forget to mention that the Dolphins brought in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey; who already has history coaching incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick.
So not only does Josh Rosen have to learn his sixth offensive system in the last 6 years but he’s competing against a veteran who already knows the system and the highly touted rookie the Dolphins hope will be “the next great thing”.
Doesn’t leave much hope for Rosen, does it?
What role can Josh Rosen carve out for himself in 2020?
Due to lack of opportunities, and average results when he’s played, there is very little in the way of a trade market for Josh Rosen. With the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the preseason, there goes Rosen’s chance to audition for other teams.
Because first-round quarterbacks are considered valued commodities, the Dolphins won’t simply cut Rosen; besides he’s still under a team-friendly contract for the next two years.
For Rosen to see the field, it would take a “nightmare scenario” for the Dolphins. Fitzpatrick would need to either get injured or look terrible to start the season and then Tagovailoa would also have to suffer an injury (or at least an unforeseen setback in his hip rehab). If both of those things happen, maybe Rosen gets his ‘big break’ and goes on a run with the Dolphins in 2020.
Barring injuries, the best advice for Josh Rosen is to keep his head down in 2020, continue to learn from Fitzpatrick, and hope that some other team suffers an unexpected injury to their starter. It’s even possible that the pandemic turns out to help Rosen if the virus quickly spreads through a team’s QB room.
It’s a pretty depressing evaluation, I realize, but not every player’s story can be filled with ‘sunshine and rainbows’.