Miami Dolphins’ Twitter was buzzing on Tuesday as the New England Patriots, whom Miami will face in Week 1, named Mac Jones their starting quarterback. Assuming that the first-year player remains under center for the Patriots all season, then five of Miami’s seventeen contests could be played against rookie quarterbacks.
There are a lot of story lines surrounding this decision by Bill Belichick and company. The news of former starter Cam Newton’s release was a shock around the league, and the Patriots signed former Dolphins’ WR/QB Malcolm Perry off of waivers in order to gain a competitive advantage in Week 1.
But the biggest story comes from the quarterback matchup. Jones and Dolphins’ quarterback Tua Tagovailoa are both University of Alabama products, and were teammates during the 2018 season. Jones went as far as saying that he would stand in the mirror and try to emulate Tagovailoa’s throwing motion, and that there is a reason that he was the backup.
The Miami Dolphins could play five games against rookie quarterbacks this upcoming season. Coach Brian Flores will be ready.
For Dolphins fans, the news that the Patriots will be starting a rookie quarterback should be music to the ears. Going up against a Brian Flores-led defense is difficult for almost any quarterback, but especially so for a rookie, and even more so for a rookie playing in his first regular season game. Flores and company are masters of blitz schemes and disguising formations in order to confuse signal callers, something that will likely provide Jones with a good amount of trouble while under center.
A rookie quarterback in the division means that your team will play against a first-year starter in at least two games, and the Dolphins have double the luck this coming season. With Jones winning the starting job in New England, he’ll be the second QB in the AFC East that is making his NFL debut. Zach Wilson was the #2 overall pick by the New York Jets, and will be the Week 1 starter after an up-and-down showing during training camp. If both Jones and Wilson are able to hold on to their starting jobs and remain healthy throughout the season, then the Miami Dolphins will have four games against division opponents with first-year QBs at the helm.
But wait, it gets better. In Week 6, the Dolphins will face off against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who themselves have a rookie signal caller. Trevor Lawrence was the first overall pick in the 2021 Draft, and has been named the starter despite his own up-and-down showing in the preseason. The Jags coach is an NFL rookie as well.
Miami’s defense will be licking its chops for all five of the matchups with rookie quarterbacks. They played against just one first year QB last year, Justin Herbert, who wound up winning the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. But the Dolphins forced Herbert in to one of his worst games all season, holding him under 200 passing yards for the only time all year. While it is Bill Belichick who is known for defeating rookie quarterbacks, Brian Flores had a big hand in designing those Patriot defenses for a few years.
Cleveland @ Kansas City will likely be the marquee Sunday afternoon matchup during Week 1, but the story lines around the Dolphins @ Patriots game will force fans to keep an eye on that game as well.