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Josh Rosen: Dolphins fans should temper expectations

The Miami Dolphins pulled off a draft-day trade with the Arizona Cardinals for second-year quarterback Josh Rosen. What should their fans expect from last year’s first-round pick?

The big picture: There is a lot to like about Rosen as a quarterback. Yet given a number of variables he’ll be up against in South Beach, Rosen could struggle once again in 2019 — assuming he even starts for the Fins.

Rosen’s disastrous rookie campaign: Rosen was facing perilously long odds to begin with.

  • He was subjected to a terrible offensive game plan.
  • Arizona’s offensive line was a train wreck (Rosen was sacked 45 times).
  • The Cardinals had little receiving talent outside of Larry Fitzgerald.

It’s hardly surprising that the rookie quarterback put up frightening stats in 14 games that led to the perception he’s a bust waiting to happen.

  • Rosen completed just 55.2% of his passes.
  • Rosen averaged just 5.8 yards per attempt.
  • Rosen averaged just 162.7 passing yards per game.
  • Rosen threw 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Yikes. Those numbers are just awful. Yet he’s far from the first rookie to have an abominable season to open his career. Many others have gone on to excel in the NFL.

Will Rosen start for the Dolphins? This is a question that will have quite a bit to do with his future with the franchise.

  • The Dolphins signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in free agency. He’s an up-and-down quarterback but has tons of experience and is among the league’s best when he’s hot.
  • Head coach Brian Flores has made it clear the job will not be handed to Rosen, saying Rosen has “got to compete for any type of role that he has here,” per Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.

Flores is a rookie head coach in the NFL and is looking to establish a new culture in Miami. Rosen is going to have to prove without a shadow of doubt he’s the Dolphins’ best chance of winning games in 2019.

However, given that Miami gave up a second-round pick to acquire Rosen, and that sometimes the Fitzmagic just isn’t there, we expect to see him at some point this season.

The supporting cast: Assuming Rosen does start for the Dolphins, the talent he will have surrounding him appears to be a bit better than it was for him last year in Arizona.

Here’s a look at what Rosen will have to work with at the skill positions:

  • Wide receiver: DeVante Parker (163 career catches and nine touchdowns)
  • Wide receiver: Kenny Stills (259 career catches and 32 touchdowns)
  • Wide receiver: Brice Butler (79 career catches and nine touchdowns)
  • Wide receiver: Albert Wilson (150 career catches and 11 touchdowns)
  • Wide receiver: Jakeem Grant (34 catches and four touchdowns)
  • Tight end: Mike Gesicki (22 catches as a rookie in 2018)
  • Tight end: Dwayne Allen (139 career catches and 20 touchdowns)
  • Running back: Kenyan Drake (2,120 yards and 15 touchdowns from scrimmage)
  • Running back: Kalen Ballage (247 yards and a touchdown from scrimmage in rookie season)
  • Running back: Myles Gaskin (talented rookie out of Washington)

The one word that we have to use with some caution here regarding the group above is “potential.”

Miami has been waiting for Parker to emerge as a viable top weapon since his rookie year. Stills is somewhat established and the team’s most consistent playmaker. Butler and Wilson are both up-and-down players, while Grant is a big-play machine in the right offense.

Gesicki could one day turn into a monster, and Allen has been a red-zone weapon in the past.

The running back group has the potential to be fantastic. However, that leads us to our next point, which is that the Dolphins’ offensive line is still a work in progress. It gave up 52 sacks a year ago but was very good in the run game. That’s great for the backs, but perhaps not so great for Rosen.

Coaching matters: A big question mark is rookie offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea.

  • He is long-time assistant in the NFL who was with New England for a decade before joining the Dolphins.
  • However, it remains to be seen if he will be good for Rosen, as his entire career has been spent coaching wide receivers.

Flores is a defensive-minded head coach, which could bode poorly for the development of Rosen, as well.

However, the one saving grace is that Miami’s quarterback coach is Jim Caldwell. He has a wealth of experience coaching some of the league’s top passers in the past couple of decades.

The bottom line: Rosen might just find some success as he continues his career in Miami. The Dolphins do have some pieces in place that could aid him in this pursuit.

But as for his immediate future, we’re not too high on Rosen having a strong sophomore campaign.

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