Dolphins QB Fitzpatrick is named to first squad over Rosen
Josh Rosen’s strong play in Saturday’s pseudo scrimmage ultimately made no appreciable difference Monday in allocation of snaps in practice or Rosen’s standing on the depth chart.
Rosen has been the better quarterback since coach Brian Flores disclosed last Tuesday that Ryan Fitzpatrick was leading the race to be the starter. Rosen was perhaps slightly better than Fitzpatrick in Monday’s practice, certainly no worse.
But asked before Monday’s practice whether Rosen’s play in recent days has changed the dynamics of the quarterback race, Flores said he stands by his comments of a week ago, that Fitzpatrick is leading, while noting Rosen has improved.
And Flores’ comments were reinforced in practice, when Fitzpatrick — for the 10th time in 10 training camp practices — opened as the starter. Rosen worked mostly with backups, throwing a terrific deep ball to Preston Williams for a touchdown.
“I’ve seen a lot [of improvement],” Flores said of Rosen. “He’s got a long way to go. By no means are we anointing him. He’s strung a couple good days together… He needs to keep stringing them together.”
After talking about the importance of leadership at the position, Flores was asked if there’s anything about Rosen holding him back.
“Too early to tell,” Flores said. “If you work hard and put the team first, he’s leading [showing leadership skills]. Do you have to be vocal and jump up and down? I don’t think anyone has to be that. Nobody is in better shape than him. I don’t think there’s anything about Josh that’s holding him back.”
Fitzpatrick was pretty good Monday, throwing a long touchdown pass to DeVante Parker.
Preseason games, beginning Thursday at home against Atlanta, will go a long way toward determining the starting QB.
“Both guys are doing well,” Flores said. “This is a good QB competition.”
THIS AND THAT
Flores was noncommittal about whether safety Reshad Jones (wearing a boot on his right foot) will be ready for the regular-season opener.
“He’s making progress,” Flores said. “He’s doing everything possible to get back. He’s made that clear to myself and the staff. Hopefully we see it soon.”
▪ Linebacker Jerome Baker walked gingerly off the field and into the locker room after being shaken up on a play but returned to the sidelines afterward, with Kiko Alonso and Maryland rookie Tre’ Watson replacing him. Baker’s injury appeared to be a groin.
Running back Mark Walton left the field briefly with an injury but returned to the sideline.
▪ Beyond Jones, others who missed practice were receiver Jakeem Grant (groin), defensive end Jonathan Woodard, linebackers Chase Allen and Mike Hull (who’s out for the year), offensive tackle Zach Sterup and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley and Eric Rowe.
▪ With Jones out and T.J. McDonald being used with the second team Monday, the Dolphins opened with Minkah Fitzpatrick and McCain at safety, and McCain sees that pairing as being adept at “patrolling the middle of the field, patrolling the deep part of the field. You’ve got guys back there that can go get the football, judge the football well.”
▪ Though the depth chart listed Jordan Mills as the first-team right tackle, Jesse Davis remained the first-team right tackle for a fifth consecutive day in practice, with rookies Michael Deiter and Shaq Calhoun remaining the starting guards…. Isaiah Ford, who has had a good camp, got a lot of first-team slot receiver snaps Monday, as Albert Wilson continues to be held out of team drills in the wake of his hip injury last season. Williams also got some first-team work.
▪ Though Raekwon McMillan and Kiko Alonso were listed as first-team linebackers on the depth chart, Sam Eguavoen again opened with the starters in a nickel package, paired with Baker. Alonso was involved in 11 on 11 work, but McMillan (working back from a minor injury) did not.
▪ Rowe, who has consistently with the starters opposite Xavien Howard when healthy, has missed two days of team drills, and undrafted UTEP rookie Nik Needham has been the first-team corner both of those days. He played well both of those days, including terrific coverage on a Fitzpatrick throw to Parker on Monday.
“He’s smart, he’s a good player, works his tail off, doesn’t say much,” McCain said of Needham. “He does what he’s supposed to do and that’s why he’s getting work with the ones. They don’t care where you come from, where you were drafted or undrafted. If you can play, you’re going to play.”
Needham’s only FBS offer was from UTEP. “I’ve always felt like the underdog,” he said.
Needham said he has shopped at the Walmart in El Paso where a gunman killed 22 people on Saturday. He said he “checked in on people” he knows in El Paso and all were fine.
▪ Cornerback Jomal Wiltz got some first-team snaps in the defensive backfield and was beaten on Parker’s long touchdown. Torry McTyer and Cornell Armstrong were the second-team boundary corners.
▪ The first-team defensive line remained the same: Charles Harris and Tank Carradine at end, Christian Wilkins and Davon Godchaux at tackle. Flores assured Monday, overall, “we will get the best 11 guys out there, trust me on that. If you practice well and play well in games, we’ll find a role for you.”