Josh Rosen is a bright guy.
He knows a lot about a lot — the environment, politics, tennis. And yes, football.
And he definitely knows that during Dolphins OTAs, the object is to throw to the guys in the white jerseys, not the aqua ones.
And yet, two times in the three practices open to reporters, he has thrown a pass directly to linebacker Sam Eguavoen, a first-year player out of Texas Tech.
Now, there’s no reason to overreact. This is the time of the year for these sort of mistakes.
A lot can, and often does, go wrong when teams are learning a new offense. Maybe Rosen was thinking of a different call. Perhaps his intended target ran the wrong route.
And given the modified Patriots system Chad O’Shea has brought with him from New England, expect more of these type of errant throws before the problem gets fixed.
“It’s not an easy offense to learn,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said Wednesday.
“I think any quarterback in this system, this system puts a lot on us,” he continued. “We’re all in there working as hard as we can to get it down and figure things out. It’s an offense, as a quarterback, that you love to be in because there’s a lot on your plate.”
“You see Tom [Brady] at the line of scrimmage and he’s orchestrating traffic and he’s doing everything super fluidly because he’s been in the offense for so many years,” Rosen said. “You can only kind of hope to get somewhere close to that fluidity. But yeah, this offense puts a lot on the quarterback, and it’s a challenge that I enjoy.”
So what specifically? Think Brady barking protections to his linemen, signaling to his receivers to change their routes, identifying the middle linebacker and getting another play off before the defense has a chance to adjust.
That’s how it’s supposed to look.
And predictably, Rosen and Fitzpatrick are not there yet.
But it’s not from lack of effort.
After every practice, they watch the cutups of the work they did on the field. Each tries to use that film to improve in different ways.
“Something the last few years is my footwork and just knowing me and when I miss balls, why I’m missing the ball,” Fitzpatrick said. “Usually that’s stuff I can feel out here on a practice field. There are certain little drills and steps and things that I do to get a little better with my body placement for accuracy.”
And what does Rosen zero in on?
“Just recognizing defenses. Like I said, there’s a lot more on my plate so just operationally, getting more fluid, getting my Mike points done a little quicker, getting everyone set and calling out protections. The Mike points is definitely something new that I’ve had to learn and continue to get better at but just kind of operationally, playbook-wise right now.”
For now, Fitzpatrick remains ahead of his much younger teammate, but the gap might be closing. Fitzpatrick again got the first reps with the starters, but Rosen has been getting more and more work with the first string.
It’s at least the third time this decade that Fitzpatrick is part of a true quarterback competition. He won each of the previous two battles.
“I don’t know that this is much different than any year in that you just try to come out here and do your best and put the work in and hope to see the results on the field,” he said. “That’s what I’m trying to do and again, we have a lot of work that still needs to be put in, a lot of things that we need to get better at. Each practice is a nice reminder of that and we’re just going to continue to try to improve.”