Josh Rosen, wearing flip flops and a smile during his first meet-and-greet as a Miami Dolphin, obviously realizes this is a great chance to make everything new again.
“Very rarely do you get a second chance to make a first impression so [I’m] trying to get off to the right foot with all these guys here, meet my teammates, trying to break down this playbook as quickly as you can,” the Dolphins newest quarterback said Monday, “and, like I said, just get off on the right foot.“
Rosen’s already off on the right foot. He referred to franchise immortal Dan Marino as “Mr. Marino.” He paraphrased Brian Flores’s message about competition and making no assumptions about starters — which is great because the quarterback and head coach always have to be on the same page and delivering the same message.
And he didn’t say anything that’s making his new coaches cringe or roll eyes. Oh, reporters tried to bait him. That happened. But it didn’t work.
Last year, after he was selected No. 10 overall behind Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen, Rosen said “there were nine mistakes made ahead of me, and I’m going to make sure, over the next decade or so, that they know they made a mistake.”
A year later, Rosen is the only one of those first 10 that has been replaced by his original team.
But that doesn’t matter with the Dolphins. That’s history no one in the Miami personnel or coaching staff cares about.
They’re giving Josh Rosen a blank slate.
He can author his own story.
And, so far, he’s declining to step on any press conference landmines.
“I would like to give you the quote that you want,” Rosen said when asked about his mindset now relative to his nine mistakes quote of a year ago. “But for the most part I’m going day by day.”
And this is where we agree that one day and one press conference mean nothing. The Josh Rosen experience — great, terrible or somewhere in between — is going to be a one-year tryout.
It won’t be a press conference on Day 2 evaluation.
The Dolphins admit this privately, if not publicly.
Since the moment Rosen arrived at the team’s facility Sunday evening until Draft Day 2020, Rosen is going to be judged on and off the field. His work in meetings as well as in the huddle will be scrutinized. His ability to lift teammates and step on opponents will be judged.
And if it goes well, he’ll stick.
And if it doesn’t, he’ll be replaced when the Dolphins draft another quarterback early in next year’s draft. Just like the Cardinals did.
My advice to Dolphins fans is be patient. Wait before deciding on Rosen.
Don’t crown him if one game goes well. Don’t abandon him if one month is a mess.
The Dolphins paid a steep price in giving up a second- and a fifth-round pick for Rosen when no other team was willing to trade that. But that premium price buys Miami a year to decide on Rosen.
Give yourself the same amount of time.
We won’t know about Rosen’s chances on the field until the games and violence begin. We’ll likely know about his makeup, personality and that cloud that’s hovered over him about his disposition much sooner.
A man’s reputation in the locker room is easy to gauge. We knew pretty quickly that Ndamukong Suh alienated people in the building in 2015. We knew Ryan Tannehill didn’t inspire teammates as much as Matt Moore — even though one was the undisputed starter and the other was the backup.
So we’ll know if Rosen is really the guy multiple league sources say is not a leader. Or we’ll know if the whispers — which Rosen is clearly aware exist — need to be muted.
“I was thrown in the spotlight pretty quickly at UCLA,” Rosen said when asked why his reputation has endured so many sacks. “I was pretty young. I didn’t really have all my answers as perfectly crafted as I do now. I kind of said some things off the cuff about all different kinds of things and people misconstrued them certain kinds of ways.
“I think the core root of it came from when I said I don’t need football. The frame of reference was I saw, walked in on a couple of teammates sleeping in the players lounge. That kind of struck me. Getting to know those guys and the background they came from, it was the frame of reference that, ‘If football is taken away from me, I don’t need to go to the streets and start selling drugs. I have a good support system.
“That, ‘I don’t need football’ kind of got misconstrued a little bit. I think some people saw that as me being entitled. Like I said, over the test of time, being consistent and try to be a really good teammate every day and that narrative straightened out a little bit.”
Well, it sort of straightened out. But it persists.
The Dolphins don’t care about that history. They care about what happens next, how Rosen handles his business in Davie.
This is not UCLA. Or Phoenix.
“I think I’m a really good teammate,” Rosen said. “That’s not really up to me to judge. I think I had a little bit of a bad perception at first, but what I tried to do was not say or do anything extra and just be me, keep my head down and the story will straighten out. I think it has for the most part. But like I said, it’s another thing out of my control.
“What is in my control is what I can do every day and basically just be consistent, be the same guy, put the same kind of energy every day I step in the locker room, the facility, so all of my teammates know what kind of guy they’re getting. I think time and consistency are the best ways to cure that narrative.”
He gets about one year to do it.