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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen Inside the Film Room

Travis Wingfield

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Assessing Miami’s Acquisiton of Josh Rosen

After passing up Dwayne Haskins on Thursday night, the Dolphins found the quarterback of their liking on the draft’s second day.

Maneuvering down the board 14 spots in the second round, Miami eventually sent pick-62, along with a 5th-rounder in 2020, to the Arizona Cardinals for the embattled quarterback.

Josh Rosen was a five-star recruit out of high school earning the nickname “The Chosen One.” But his UCLA career was spoiled by losing seasons, multiple injuries, and performances that would challenge the validity of the “Chosen One” alias.

Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller reported, via a story on FanSided.com, that Rosen was deemed “uncoachable” and a “prick that thinks he’s smarter than everyone,” according to an anonymous NFL Executive.

The debate over Rosen’s personality, locker room presence, and overall work ethic falls into the category of he-said-she-said. Instead of exploring that further, we’ll turn on the tape and evaluate Rosen’s game between the lines.

Before we dive into the tape, some housekeeping. The rumors of New England’s infatuation with Rosen a year ago appear to be confirmed by this move. With a pair of former Patriots now calling the shots in Miami — Offensive Coordinator Chad O’Shea (former Pats Wide Receivers Coach) and Quarterbacks Assistant Coach Jerry Schuplinski (former Pats QB Assistant) — Rosen will need to display sharp mental processing and short-area accuracy to prevent the Phins from drafting his replacement in 2020.

Financial considerations in this deal are significant. Arizona are already on the hook for the majority of Rosen’s rookie contract. Miami picks up three years of Rosen’s deal, with a fifth-year option, for the cost of a mid-second-round pick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was signed to a two-year deal in March worth $11 million. Fitzpatrick carries a $7 million cap figure in 2019, but that number drastically reduced to $1.5 million in 2020. If Miami retains the Harvard grad in 2020, the contract will carry a $5.5 million cap hit.

The psychological battle occurring between the ears of Rosen is perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this deal. Rosen, dumped by his first NFL employer after one trip around the sun, now moves on with a chance to make the Cardinals pay. On the other hand, if Rosen doesn’t convince the Dolphins that he is the unequivocal, long-term solution for Miami at quarterback, Chris Grier is loaded with draft capital in 2020.

Rosen’s college resume was a mixed bag. He started all 13 games his freshman year, but missed seven games in 2016 and two more in 2017 — this includes two separate concussions. Below, his college statistics and scouting report via NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah.

His less than stellar rookie year in Arizona, along with the worst possible head coach/best available QB in the draft combination, put Rosen on the outs.

When Josh Rosen laces it up for OTAs in May, he’s going to impress everyone in attendance. When he has a clean pocket and no threat of pressure, he’s something to behold. He can rip the football with heat, finesse, touch, and everything in between. Not only does he feature every pitch in the tool bag, he understands when to utilize the different type of throws required at this level.

His time as a tennis player is evident, as the quick, choppy feet allow him to step away from pressure, quickly reset, and put himself in a position to threaten the defense. He’s not going to peel out of trouble and run for first downs the way the modern quarterbacks are trending, but he has enough mobility to mitigate some pressure.

That’s not to say Rosen won’t succumb to pressure. A habit has developed where Rosen will anticipate pressure and suddenly go flat-footed. Then, throwing from an awkward platform, the ball can sail or get picked off because of the coverage closing in as he locks onto a receiver.

Rosen’s guilty of staring down his targets and failing to account for robbers and disguised coverage. A lot of his interceptions came from poor reads that allowed defenders to squat and drive on his throws.

Of Rosen’s 14 interceptions in 2018, this is how I attributed the blame:

 

Cause of Interception Number of INTs
Tipped Passed 3
His Fault (Read) 6
His Fault (Accuracy) 2
WR’s Fault 1
Screen Pass 1
Miscommunication 1
Total 14

 

The most impressive aspect of Rosen’s game, and surely the reason he was acquired, is the ability to manipulate the defense post snap. He can displace defenders with his eyes, as well as body language to sell fakes, before he drills the ball into a tight window

Miami acquired two tight ends in free agency, in addition to an in-season add in Nick O’Leary, AFTER the team spent second and fourth-round picks on the position in last year’s draft.

Rosen had a lot of success in three areas last season:

1.) Working in heavy personnel packages (2 and 3 TEs)
2.) Working off of play action
3.) Throwing into contested areas

With that in mind, Miami has the ability to condense the formation, thus sacrificing some separation in the passing game in order to create better pass protection, which allows Rosen to thread the needle as he is won’t to do.

Coming into this study with rather disparaging feelings on Josh Rosen, I’m at least willing to hear the Dolphins out. I like the coaching staff that was put in place this offseason and if they think they’ve got something, then I’ll buy in.

The pause, for me, comes from the fact that all the physical traits and wow plays are shrouded by head scratching decisions and killer turnovers — and that didn’t just begin this last year in the professional ranks. Maybe Rosen can grow out of that, but I’m just not thrilled about jumping back into a relationship like that after leaving a very similar love affair with Ryan Tannehill.

@WingfieldNFL

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    garn79

    April 29, 2019 at 9:22 am

    Travis, listen to podcast daily, usually find myself agreeing with most of your opinions,

    Couldn’t disagree more on starting Rosen day1. After a dismal rook season and being cut loose from team who drafted him 1st rd, he needs time to get his feet underneath him. New team, new coach, new system. Too many unknowns especially with our oline.

    Give our oline a chance to gel, entire offense needs time to get the new system. We don’t need to throw Rosen into the fire day one like we did Tannehill, that’s not how you develop young QBs. We don’t need to try to win asap with Rosen. Let him sit, give him time to adjust, learn new sys behind Fitzmagic. What needs to happen is we need to find out exactly what we have in Rosen heading into 2020. Can we accomplish and is it Rosens best chance for success starting day1? Highly doubtful. We can still accomplish this by putting Rosen in somewhere between wks 7-9.

    All due respect we need to groom him, give him the best chance for success not ruin him behind a makeshift oline that hasn’t played much together with all offensive positions learning new system.

    garn79

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Miami Dolphins

Taco Charlton: New Acquisition Analysis

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins go back to the 2017 first round defensive end well, claim Charlton from waivers

The 2017 Dolphins were, sadly, one of the more anticipated teams this organization has assembled in recent memory. Fresh off a surprise 10-win season, heading into year-two of the new system, and bevy of players returning from injury had fans feeling optimistic.

Patching up the perceived holes on the roster — like the defensive end position — started with an atrocious Andre Branch extension, and ended on the draft’s opening night with a handful of edge rusher prospects ripe for picking.

Derek Barnett came off the board before Miami could pluck the future Super Bowl hero, but everyone else was available. Jonathan Allen was selected five picks ahead of the Dolphins, but he was billed more as a three and five-technique inside player, not a true edge rusher.

That left Charles Harris, Taco Charlton, Tak McKinley and T.J. Watt. Two of those players are off to sterling starts in their young careers — the other two are nearing their respective last legs, and both are now Miami Dolphins.

Charlton received his release from the Cowboys earlier this week after an under-whelming 34-game stay in Big D. Taco’s snap count is revealing of the feeling about the player among the Dallas staff.

 

Year Taco Charlton Defensive Snaps Played (% of Cowboys’ Defensive Snaps)
2017 399 (38.2%)
2018 401 (39.2%)
2019 0

 

A 40-percent snap-taker is typically indicative of one of two things for an edge player. He’s either a situational savant — whether that’s to support the run game or pin his ears back and get after the quarterback — or that he’s the second option in the rotation, A.K.A. a backup.

Charlton’s production suggests that he was the latter, and only because of his draft status. His descent into a game day inactive signaled the end of his time with the club that drafted him.

Rumors of a trade were speculated as the reason Charlton was a healthy scratch for the season’s first two games, but Head Coach Jason Garrett referred to the numbers game. “We have 10 guys on the active roster on the defensive line and we dressed eight for the game. It felt like the guys we had up there gave us the best chance,” Garrett said via a report from Bloggin’ The Boys.

Still, we have 800 reps to look at to figure out where it went wrong for Charlton, and if he possesses a legitimate shot to fit this scheme and carve out spot in the future plans of the NFL’s most steadfast rebuild operation.

First, let’s start with the type of player Charlton was supposed to be coming out of Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program.

The Dolphins are a team that adheres strongly to prototypes all over the field, but particularly in the trenches. Explosive metrics aren’t nearly as important as length, strength, read-and-react skillsets, intelligence to process and execute a variety of roles (stunts, twists, slants, picks), and most importantly, playing with heavy hands.

His fit begins with his build. At 6’6’’, 270-pounds with 34.5-inch arms, Charlton looks like plenty of defensive ends in a Brian Flores (Bill Belichick defense) before him. Charlton doesn’t check off all those boxes from the previous paragraph, but he hits enough of the buzz words to justify a flier.

This from Lance Zierlein of NFL Media.

That immediate get-off and quickness would’ve suited him better in Miami’s wide-9 alignment under Matt Burke. The length will benefit him, especially as he forces tackles to quickly get into their pass sets. The challenge will be developing a secondary move to work back inside and underneath the tackle.

The glowing praise for his twist, bend, and lower-body control will serve him well in a defense that will stunt, stunt, and stunt some more.

Most of all, the length will help him excel in this scheme as a run defender. To lock out and hold the point of attack are keys, and those are areas that put Charlton on the map as a first-round prospect.

The weaknesses from that blurb are alarming. Getting washed out of his gap by power and allowing blockers into his frame will earn him a quick ticket right out of town — those are the departments where the surprise cuts in Nate Orchard and Dewayne Hendrix struggled.

Lack of consistency, takes plays off, needs a coach that will push him — those are the final takeaways from Zierlein’s conversation with an anonymous AFC Executive.

If there’s any one thing you can point to with Flores as far as his football acumen — this excludes leadership and communication — it’s his ability to coach football (novel idea, huh?) This feels like a Flores pet project.

Let’s get into some of Charlton’s Dallas tenure, starting with his metrics from Pro Football Focus.

Charlton has 38 total pressures in his two years as a pro (4 sacks, 8 hits, 26 hurries). He compiled those numbers on 464 pass rush reps, a pressure on 8.2% of his pass rush snaps — not good. His 4.1 weighted pass rush productivity mark in 2018 ranked 132ndamong all edge rushers.

Charlton missed four tackles on 34 opportunities — an 11.8 missed tackle percentage, also not good. He made 23 run-stops on 346 snaps against the ground game. That mark — 6.6% — landed Charlton at 73rd among edge defenders in 2018, and 143rd in 2017.

The majority of Charlton’s work came from the right side of the defensive line (position vacated by Robert Quinn, currently held by a cast of many in Miami). Charlton lined up for pass rushing situations on the right side for 67.3% of his total reps.

Now, for the tape.

If Charlton can piece together the finer points of his game and develop a better arsenal or rush moves, he’ll stick as a building block. The decreased workload this year, his lack of production dating back to college, and inconsistencies makes one wonder about the drive and work habits.

We’ll quickly find out about the character of Charlton. If he embraces this opportunity, it’s a great landing spot for him. If not, he’ll be back on the unemployment line in short order.

@WingfieldNFL

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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen Named Starting QB vs Cowboys; Claim DE Taco Charlton

Chris Kowalewski

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Only minutes after the Miami Dolphins’ Week 2 loss against the Patriots, Head Coach Brian Flores maintained that Ryan Fitzpatrick was the starting quarterback… “Right now”.

By Thursday afternoon, it became clear that “right now” had passed as Josh Rosen was announced to take over the starting QB position ahead of Miami’s first road trip this Sunday against the Cowboys.

Fans had caught intermittent glimpses of Rosen’s abilities through the preseason and he has seen the field during replacement duty in Weeks 1 and 2, so far completing 8/21 passes for 102 yards, 2 INTs and a 38.1% completion percentage.

While Rosen has not yet led the Dolphins to regular season points, the second year passer will find his opportunity to do so in Dallas and the Dolphins will be able to make further evaluation of 2018’s tenth overall pick.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s veteran standing and experience had given him the early advantage, but the time has arrived in for the Dolphins to see what the future may bring – if anything – for Josh Rosen in Miami.

Whilst the national attention seems to be focused on Chris Grier’s rebuild of the roster, the Dolphins have claimed former first round pick, DE Taco Charlton, released by the Cowboys on Wednesday.

Charlton was the Dallas Cowboys’ first round selection in 2017, having played in 27 games (7 starts) and registered 4.0 sacks and 47 combined tackles.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Cowboys Week Three Preview

Travis Wingfield

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Dolphins Search to Stop the Bleeding in Big D

Who: Dolphins (0-2) at Cowboys (2-0)
When: Sunday September 22, 1:00 PM East
Where: AT&T Stadium — Arlington, TX
Weather: Dome
Vegas Slant: Dolphins +21

The hits keep coming for Miami. Another prominent fixture of the roster has been jettisoned, and another loaded team is on the docket for the downtrodden Dolphins.

This current iteration of the Dallas Cowboys is akin to what Miami hopes to build in a couple years’ time — stout trench play, emerging young quarterback, and star-studded skill positions.

Three touchdown underdogs for the second consecutive week, the Dolphins are introducing college point-spreads into the National Football League. Miami’s 19-point home handicap last week was the biggest such spread for a host team since the 2007 season, and the Dolphins are now channeling the 2013 Broncos-Jaguars game that climbed up over 25 points before betting closed.

The Dolphins were far more competitive last week, even if the scoreboard didn’t show it. Contributions from star Cornerback Xavien Howard, upstart Linebacker Jerome Baker, and surprising recent addition Vince Biegel were the silver linings in the 43-point thrashing; we’re looking for more of those in Dallas.

The Scheme:

Offense:

The switch from Scott Linehan to Kellen Moore might’ve been the biggest upgrade in the NFL this offseason. Moore, a coach’s son that made it to the NFL for his cerebral prowess at the quarterback position, is dressing up Dallas’ offense with disguise, misdirection, and tendency breakers.

Dallas varies it’s running scheme, but the talent to execute simple gap-schemes and power concepts allows Moore to get creative with the play action game. Cowboys players praise Moore for his nuance and emphasis on getting players in position to exhibit their best traits.

Scheming chunk-plays in the passing game, running the football to keep the offense on schedule, and devising red zone concepts to free up pass catchers in the condensed area already has Moore’s name circulating as the next hot head coaching candidate.

Defense:

On top of impeccable front-seven talent, the Cowboys borrow concepts from some of the most accomplished, revolutionary defensive schemes in the history of the league. Rod Marinelli still carries the title of Defensive Coordinator, but it’s a co-op with he and the up-and-coming Kris Richard.

With elements of the Tampa-2 from Marinelli’s days with the Bucs — and more recently in Chicago — fused with Richard’s rendition of the wildly popular scheme originated by Pete Carroll, Dallas is successful in a multitude of packages and pre-snap disguises.

Creating one-on-one rush opportunities from their elite pass rushers, while playing a variety of cover-3, 2, and 1 on the back-end, the Cowboys can apply pressure while dropping seven — the ultimate goal of every NFL defense.

Look for Chad O’Shea to attack this defense with more in-breaking routes. That means high-low and drive concepts (designed to displace zone coverage and attack the middle of cover-1 and Tampa-2 defenses) and seam shots with the Cowboys drop two deep.

The Players:

Offense:

Dak Prescott is off to an MVP-caliber beginning to his 2019 season. Prescott handles pressure in two ways — the type of pressure applied by ferocious fronts, and the pressure of big moments. He’s accurate, creates opportunities off-script, and allows Kellen Moore to utilize designed runs.

Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Then there’s Zeke Elliot, who’s just getting rolling. Zeke, behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line with the healthy Travis Frederic, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La’El Collins, Dallas can line up and push teams off the football.

The Dolphins must get big showings from Davon Godchaux and Christian Wilkins to hold the point-of-attack and free up Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan to meet Zeke in the hole.

Amari Cooper is one of the game’s best route runners, and he pairs that with size and speed. He’ll be a tough matchup for Miami, unless Xavien Howard wants to travel with the Cowboys play maker. That opens up another bag of worms, especially as Miami will be working in a new safety alongside corner-convert, Bobby McCain.

Jason Witten is back, but he serves mostly as an additional lineman and the forgotten man in the red zone (as far as the defense is concerned, Witten has two touchdowns already on plays that schemed him wide open). Michael Gallup will miss this game while the resurgent Randal Cobb will help keep the Miami defense honest horizontally in the misdirection game.

Defense:

Jaylon Smith leads the defense with his instinctive, urgent playing style that pairs well with uncommon physical traits. He and Leighton Vander Esch set the tone in the middle of the Dallas defense, and a lot of the scheme is designed to free these two up to wreak havoc. Smith’s athleticism allows Marinelli to keep the Tampa-2 concept alive.

Demarcus Lawrence is set to have a field day. Miami haven’t been able to block anybody this year, and now will have to handle one of the game’s best pass rushers against deafening crowd noise.

Byron Jones has fallen out of favor in Dallas. The dependable Jeff Heath, and the underrated Xavier Woods make it so, while Chidobe Awuzie locks down the opposition’s number one receiver. Dallas’ vulnerability in this position group from the perimeter corner position opposite Awuzie. Jones has been playing corner to pair with slot specialist Jourdan Lewis and Awuzie.

If Miami can create one-on-one passing opportunities into the boundary, look for O’Shea to attack vertically and hope to steal some points — the best bet here is likely Preston Williams.

The Medical:

The Concerns:

Quite literally all over the football field. Dallas can line up with power and milk the Dolphins defense dry. They can attack vertically, or in the controlled passing game with well-timed shot plays built into the offense, all on top of exceptional red zone production in the early going of 2019.

Demarcus Lawrence leads the team in pressures, but he’s only pulled the quarterback down once — that ties the team lead. This Cowboys pass rush is going to be champing at the bit to pad those stats, and there’s no reason to think Miami can handle the relentless pressure, even without blitzing.

The Opportunities:

Special teams might be the one area Miami can spark some magic. The Dolphins are off to a slow start in this department as well, but Jakeem Grant’s big-play ability will be needed if Miami are to pull the miracle upset.

Finding vertical shots — whether it’s Mike Gesicki splitting the Tampa-2, Preston Williams winning an outside release into the boundary without safety help, or getting a fly-by from Grant, Miami needs some fireworks.

The Projected Outcome:

The game plan came together defensively in the first half against the Patriots, but it’s a challenge for even the league’s best stop-units to carry a lifeless offense. Unless the Dolphins can finally sustain some drives and convert in the red zone, this game will get out of hand. It’s doubtful Miami can do that, so look for an aggressive offense that tries to hit the big play.

Dallas just has too much star power and excellent coordinators for Miami to pick them off — or even cover.

Dolphins 6
Cowboys 31

@WingfieldNFL

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