Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Breaking down the 2020 roster: Quarterbacks

As we head towards camp the Dolphins Quarterbacks, like every other position, will see a lot of scrutiny. However, for the Dolphins the position carries extra emphasis this season after drafting Tua Tagovailoa.

The QB room is one of the more important to watch this season in Miami as the fate of Josh Rosen will be realised, and the development, and health, of Tua, will be closely examined. Incumbent Ryan Fitzpatrick is on the downside of his career, and the final year of his contract, so eyes will be on him to see if he extends beyond the 2020 season.

Dolphins 2020 Quarterbacks : Ryan Fitzpatrick

Despite the drafting of Alabama phenom Tua Tagovailoa, there is no doubt that Fitzpatrick will enter camp in 2020 as the starter. He beat out Josh Rosen for the job last year, and with less time to learn, and an injury to rehab, Tua doesn’t have enough time to prize the role away.

2020 Quarterbacks: starter Ryan Fitzpatrick © Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
2020 Quarterbacks: starter Ryan Fitzpatrick © Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The first few weeks of the 2019 season saw Fitzpatrick looking all of his 36 years. Through the first eight weeks, four as a starter, Fitzpatrick failed to throw more TD’s than interceptions in all but one game and broke 200 yards in a single game.

Throwing for 907 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions Fitzpatrick struggled mightily early doors. He did, however, show glimpses of what was to come in his relief appearance against the skins.

Going 12/18-132-1-0, Fitzpatrick almost brought the Dolphins back from the dead and cemented his place as the started for the remainder of the season.

Fitz would go one something of a tear in the last 9 games of the season, winning 5 games, and throwing 15 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. It was a good ending to the season, but the season as a whole summed up his career: He will have stretches of really good play, and stretches of really bad.

Ryan isn’t the future of the position for the Dolphins, but he is an adequate pair of hands to go into the 2020 season with. And he will be an excellent teacher for Tua to sit behind for a year.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which this isn’t Ryan Fitzpatrick’s last NFL season, but he plays with such joy and enthusiasm he is a pleasure to watch even though he’s not the most reliable of quarterbacks. Even if he will never lead you to the promised land.

2020 Quartbacks back-up: Tua Tagovailoa

2020 Quarterbacks: Tua is the franchise quarterback of the future
2020 Quarterbacks: Tua is the franchise quarterback of the future

We’ve already written a load on Tua backing up Fitzpatrick this season, so we won’t rehash everything here. Suffice to say Tagovailoa is the future for the Dolphins, not the present.

While medically cleared to play, Tua will be eased into his game time with the fins this season, and the staff would ideally like to see him sit the whole campaign.

Despite limited time to learn the offence, and his new teammates, Tagovailoa’s skillset, attitude, and work ethic will see him oust Josh Rosen for the number two spot on the roster.

There may be times when we will see Tua on the field in 2020 in relief of Fitzpatrick in garbage time, and maybe when the Dolphins are blowing someone out (I can dream). But the only reason we should expect to see Tua on the field for any decent time will be if there’s an injury to Fitzpatrick.

2020 Quarterbacks developmental: Josh Rosen & Jake Rudock

Of all the quarterbacks on the roster, Josh Rosen is still the most baffling. Now entering his third year in the league Rosen has not been given a good place to develop given his skill set.

Never the most mobile quarterback, Josh has played his first two seasons behind horrible lines and hasn’t helped himself by holding on to the ball too long. While this is a trait many rookie quarterbacks have, it is one that has killed Josh Rosen.

2020 Quarterbacks: Josh Rosen will have to settle for being third string © Mark Brown/Getty Images
2020 Quarterbacks: Josh Rosen will have to settle for being third string © Mark Brown/Getty Images

At times last season, Rosen looked promising in relief appearances, slinging the long ball against the Cowboys was one of his highlights. While he did suffer a lot of drops in his limited appearances, his confidence waned with each passing snap, until he was finally hooked for good against the Redskins.

Despite all of this Rosen remains a promising developmental quarterback with considerable upside. Whether that will be with the Dolphins is probably mostly down to Rosen himself. If he is happy to accept the backup role, Miami may decide his reasonable salary, just $2.1 million this season, and upside makes him worth keeping.

It’s fair to say at this point his trade value is basically zero, and there’s no real need to cut him as his dead cap figure is higher than his salary. All that said, it really is dependent on Rosen continuing to put in the work, and being happy to sit as a third-string quarterback this season, and the backup in future years.

While Rosen is the most intriguing of the quarterbacks Jake Rudock looks to be the camp arm. Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by the Detroit Lions, Rudock has seen action in only three regular-season games, throwing just five passes.

He appeared in three preseason games for the Dolphins in 2019 posting a 34/48-366-3-1 line. Rudock was released in the final round of cuts and signed to the practice squad.

Jake Ruddock has seen very limited action in the NFL © Miami Herald
Jake Rudock has seen very limited action in the NFL © Miami Herald

At this point, it is hard to see Rudock pushing Rosen for the third-string role unless Rosen is unhappy in that position, or the staff want to move Rosen on. As a developmental quarterback, Rudock has some value in camp, but that value likely won’t be enough for him to stick with the team as the chances of carrying four quarterbacks are almost non-existent.

Stayed tuned for a breakdown of the running backs in the coming days.

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