Football

Dave Hyde: Dolphins have smart QB plan (and, let’s be real, it’s the Rosen’s job to keep)

Miami Dolphins new quarterback Josh Rosen says he's still adjusting to life in Miami after moving cross country from Arizona.

Here was the welcome sight Tuesday at Dolphins camp: Young quarterback Josh Rosen, veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and apprentice Jake Rudock going through drills with former Super Bowl coach and veteran offensive mind Jim Caldwell.

That's it. That's the welcome snapshot of good plan now in motion. Dolphins owner Steve Ross told his football people at the end of last season to do whatever it takes to solve the quarterback position. Just solve it.

The big, public question turns now to this quarterback competition. Something could be made of Fitzpatrick looking good with the first team on Tuesday and Rosen working with the second team. As if it matters in May. As if anything really matters beyond players getting in some work.

The Dolphins' new regime is smart enough to say it's a quarterback competition, without winking, to set their standards from the start. It's also must be smart enough to know it desperately wants Rosen to win this job. I mean, we can talk about this like adults, right?

This really is the Chosen Rosen's job to keep. You don't trade a second-round pick for a 22-year-old Rosen in a rebuilding year only to play a 37-year-old Fitzpatrick unless something goes uncomfortably wrong. The prime purpose of this season is to get an answer on Rosen before sizing up the quarterback-rich 2020 draft.

If Rosen can't beat out Fitzpatrick, there's your answer that points to drafting Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa. If Rosen is great this coming season, the next draft pick can be used to fill out a starving roster.

If, as more likely, Rosen in somewhere between those polar extremes, that's where general manager Chris Grier makes his money. But that's getting far ahead of a mid-May practice. The point here is the Dolphins have constructed a quarterback biosphere to applaud for once.

Look at this room. There's the veteran coaching Caldwell and the successful system O'Shea brings that leans heavily on New England's playbook. There's the hope of tomorrow in Rosen (and maybe Ruddock) mixed with a good pro in Fitzpatrick, who can play, guide or merely direct people as needed. And you'd be surprised right now.

"I'm walking in the receiver room, thinking it's the bathroom," Rosen said.

In Denver, veteran Joe Flacco has gone out of his way to say it's not his job to help rookie Drew Lock. Flacco said the same about rookie Lamar Jackson in Baltimore last year. That's a common veteran's view, too. It's just not the 15-year-veteran Fitzpatrick's idea.

"I think the way that I've done it throughout my career, whether I'm the guy or not the guy, is I try to prepare the best way I can prepare and do the things that have gotten me where I am in my career, and if guys choose to view that as an example and follow it, they can," Fitzpatrick said.

All of it points to a good plan, unlike other years. Most recently, former coach Adam Gase was the media-anointed "Quarterback Whisperer" whose answer was to ride-or-die with Ryan Tannehill without any backup idea. Unless Jay Cutler counted as that. Gase had all the answers, you see, until he had none.

Before Tannehill, Chad Henne was gift-wrapped the job for a few years. That went nowhere. The magical year of Chad Pennington in a distant 2008 reminds everyone of one thing: Solve the quarterback position and you solve a lot of other supposed problems.

So Ross made an order that's being smartly followed. For years, I've quoted the Bill Walsh line about, "Organizations make quarterbacks." The Dolphins finally are trying to make one as an organization. We'll see where it goes.

On Tuesday, Rosen considered all the change since his trade and said, "My head is swimming. But I think a lot of that is just trying to weather the storm as much as you can. It'll get better a little bit each day. It's just about making progress, no matter how small or how big."

There's time. It's mid-May. The important view Tuesday was of a good quarterback plan in motion, for once. Veteran coaches. Veteran quarterback. Young hope. And, backing it all up, just in case, there's the next draft out on the horizon.

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