You won’t find it on any team social media account, but here’s the up-to-the minute, four-months-left-before-the-start-of-the-football-season, Dolphins’ unofficial quarterback depth chart:
1. Ryan Fitzpatrick.
2. Josh Rosen.
3. Jake Rudock.
And after the first open organized team activities practice of the summer, that’s how it should be.
Fitzpatrick deservedly got the first reps in both 7-on-7 and team drills Tuesday, and was the sharpest of the three.
He was in command, pitching passes on point with near-perfection.
Nothing was easy for Rosen on Tuesday, however.
Not the center-quarterback exchange, with at least three botches.
Not passes across the middle, with first-year linebacker Sam Eguavoen jumping one route for a pick-six.
And not even on-target deep balls, with DeVante Parker dropping a would-be touchdown on Rosen’s finest pass of the day.
Put another way: Fitzpatrick looked every part a 15-year vet and Rosen looked every part a guy who has been in town for about 15 minutes.
“Yeah, my head is swimming,” Rosen said after practice. “But I think a lot of that is just trying to weather the storm as much as you can. It’ll get better a lit bit each day. It’s just about making progress, no matter how small, how big. It’s just about making some progress each day, so in a couple of weeks when it’s down the road, you can look up, turn around and realize you’ve come pretty far.”
Expect Rosen to figure it out sooner than later.
Fitzpatrick famously went to Harvard, but Rosen plays second fiddle to no player when it comes to smarts.
“I mean, some of the stuff he talks about reminds me of some classmates I had in college a little bit, you know?” Fitzpatrick joked. “Some of those topics — sometimes not necessarily things that I want to be talking about. But he’s definitely an interesting guy.”
Interesting, no question. And a very real threat to Fitzpatrick’s place as a starter.
This young vs. old dynamic is one playing out in several NFL cities.
Like in Denver, where new Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco caused a stir recently by saying he doesn’t believe it’s his job to develop rookie Drew Lock.
Fitzpatrick, however, has a different mind-set.
“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. “If they don’t, they can do whatever they want, but I’m a guy that’s going to work hard and try to lead by example and if people want to follow, they can.”
Rosen seemed eager to do just that, insisting the chemistry in Miami’s all-new quarterback room is good.
But even Fitzpatrick had to concede the dynamic is different in that room now than it was when he signed with the Dolphins two months ago.
Then, he was the clear starter. Now, he has to beat out the 10th pick of the 2018 draft.
Would Fitzpatrick have still signed with the Dolphins had they traded for Rosen before he was offered a contract? Fitzpatrick wouldn’t go there Tuesday.
But he didn’t seem to have any regrets about coming to Miami, either.
“I’m here because this was an opportunity that I would have a chance to play, to compete,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was a job that was open, and I know that nothing is ever going to be handed to me. So I enjoy it. I enjoy being out here, I enjoy days like this, and I just try to get better every single day and throughout my career. I think every year I’ve done that and can continue to do that.”
The gap between the quarterbacks was noticeable Tuesday. But that will surely shrink in the final three weeks of spring ball.
“We’re looking for leadership,” Dolphins coach Brian Flores said. “We’re looking for accuracy. We’re looking for an understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively from a protection standpoint, from an alignment standpoint. We’re looking for guys who can consistently move the ball down the field.”
And one more Flores forgot to mention: They’re looking for improvement.
There’s plenty of room for that.