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Miami Dolphins

Josh Rosen: What Must He Do To Be Considered The Dolphins’ Future?

Chris Kowalewski



The Miami Dolphins’ trade with the Arizona Cardinals to acquire Josh Rosen was perhaps the biggest story on the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Just a year earlier, the Cardinals had traded up in the first round to draft Rosen with the tenth overall pick and he was perceived to be Arizona’s future star. But Rosen’s debut season saw him struggle on a team devoid of talent, which earned the Cardinals the number 1 pick in April 2019.

Kliff Kingsbury stood by his word and drafted Kyler Murray, the diminutive but explosive QB phenomenon with the top overall spot, leaving Josh Rosen as surplus to requirements in the desert state.

Dolphins’ GM, Chris Grier, was widely praised for the trade which saw Rosen arrive in Miami – acquiring a further second round pick in 2020 from the New Orleans Saints before sending Miami’s 2019 second rounder and a 2020 fifth rounder to Arizona in exchange for the young and talented passer.


It is no secret that the Miami Dolphins are poised for a difficult season ahead, with many of the Cardinals’ fundamental issues from last year apparently set to plague the Dolphins as they forge ahead with their plan to rebuild for the future.

The circumstances are eerily similar. The 2018 Cardinals had a rookie Head Coach, a lacklustre offensive group (Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson aside), paper-thin protection for their new quarterback and cracks in the defense that no amount of Flex Seal products could resolve.

Whilst the trade for Josh Rosen may have him safely removed from a situation where he was never going to be given fair competition to compete against Arizona’s newest toy, it lands him in familiar and dangerous territory on a team which will have difficulty keeping the young quarterback on his feet behind a relatively inexperienced and/or talent-poor offensive line. 

For far too long in Miami, the offensive line has truly lived up to its name. At times it has been downright disgusting. It has seen coaches and players fired or embroiled in scandal, quarterbacks decimated, games lost and seasons disappear into worthlessness.

Dolphins fans don’t want to have to think about it any longer but the annual talk of the Dolphins’ underwhelming talent level among the group resurfaces, overshadowing the Pro Bowl caliber of Miami’s elite LT, Laremy Tunsil. The group will remain a workinprogress, about which fans can do nothing other than trust in yet another new regime to finally get it correct.

In 2018, Josh Rosen ended the season with a 3-10 record in 13 starts with 14 INTs (tied for 5th worst), 45 sacks (7th worst), 4 pick sixes, 10 fumbles and 11 TDs (tied for 30th). 

His 2278 yards ranked 29th in the league and his completion percentage of 55.2% (217/393) ranked 33rd behind the league’s worst offensive line.

The result was a 66.7 Quarterback Rating which was good enough for 34th in the NFL.

The Miami Dolphins did have a higher ranked offensive line in 2018, ending the year ranked 31st. The risk of history repeating itself is real and it will be up to a new group of coaches and co-ordinators to figure out how to get the most out of Josh Rosen, whilst simultaneously evaluating his potential as part of Miami’s future. 


The Dolphins do have a promising group of receivers – a rare combination of speedsters and powerful pass catchers. Whilst questions regarding injury and (in some cases) effort affect each and every one, the wide receiver room is a deep and talented bunch. They certainly have the talent to make plays on the NFL stage with Josh Rosen most notably showing promising chemistry with undrafted rookie sensation, Preston Williams.

After years of being placed on the back burner, tight end is evolving into a significant focus of the Dolphins offense under Brian Flores and a shifty yet powerful selection of young running backs look set to contribute heavily to the passing attack.

So focus returns to the quarterback position. Not so much to Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose veteran experience has been proven throughout his 16 years in the NFL – but to Rosen as the one who has the chance to establish himself as part of the Dolphins for years to come. Fitzpatrick will inevitably serve as an excellent mentor to Josh until he has proven he can take the lead and although that time is approaching, no one knows for sure when it will arrive.

In a close battle throughout training camp, it has been well reported that Fitzpatrick’s veteran savvy and awareness sees him placed ahead of the young buck, but Rosen has been gaining ground with a relatively impressive Dolphins debut in his first pre-season game which has seen Rosen begin to take more snaps with the starters in practice. 


However the year may play out, at the close of the season the Dolphins will have to make a decision regarding their QB spot heading into 2020.

The 2020 rookie class is likely to contain a number of attractive names worthy of the investment of a high first round pick and the Dolphins could find themselves with easy access to acquire another quarterback in the opening selections of Round 1.

Just to add extra pressure to Josh Rosen, the Dolphins have a multitude of draft picks which will help them to manoeuvre up and down the draft board together with a wide open wallet when it comes to cap space. It is therefore unlikely that they would be slow up to the Commissioner’s podium to hand in the card with any one of Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love or Jake Fromm’s names scribbled on it.

If Rosen wants to prove the Cardinals wrong in dealing him away, to show the Dolphins they were right to take a chance on him and quieten all the doubters, his time is NOW. The pressure is on and the clock is ticking.

So what does Josh Rosen have to do to get the Dolphins to look elsewhere at the top of the draft? What does he need to accomplish for the Dolphins to focus attention on other positions (perhaps even O-Line!) and seek to supplement the roster with other top-tier talent?

The first thing we will have to disregard for now is the offensive line. We all know it is a problem but Rosen must show flashes of ability to overcome some heavy team deficiencies.

The league’s top quarterbacks can still drive the offense behind broken protection. Russell Wilson has done it. Aaron Rodgers has done it. Andrew Luck has done it. Perhaps they have not always been able to drag their team to victory, but they have proved through their own performance and determination that they possess a winning combination of mental awareness and on-field talent to hide weaknesses and demonstrate capacity to lead which sees them constantly discussed as NFL elites.


Quarterback in the NFL is often considered the most difficult position in all of sports. Memorising the playbook. Knowing exactly what the other 10 players on your team are doing on every snap.  Commanding the offense, reading the defense and delivering the ball with accuracy and drive, whilst avoiding some of the world’s best athletes on defense and all under the pressure of the stadium lights, TV cameras and eyes of fans around the world. It’s an unenviable task.

Many try and many fail. Many set narratives from their rookie year which stick with them throughout their career. 

But there are some who break away from the early narrative and raise their game above and beyond expectations.

A quick flick back through history and the rookie seasons of some notable names prove evidence of the same:

Terry Bradshaw, Hall of Farmer, 4x Super Bowl Champion and 2x Super Bowl MVP and the top overall pick for the Steelers in 1970 threw a record setting 24 INTS in 13 games (8 starts) with 6 TDs and a miserable 30.4 quarterback rating.

In 1979, his first year as a Dallas Cowboy, Troy Aikman threw for only 1749 yards with 18 INTs and 9 TDs.

Peyton Manning threw 28 INTs and finished with a 3-13 record in his rookie year (but still managed to put up 26 TDs and 3739 yards).

His brother, Eli Manning (again a first overall pick) threw for a lowly 48.2% completion rate, 6 TDs 9 INTs and 1043 yards in 7 games (1-6) as a starter.

Even, John Elway, first overall selection in 1983, future Hall of Famer, 9x Pro Bowler, 2x Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP and all-round NFL icon started his career with a 4-6 record, 47.5% completion, 7 TDs 14 INTs and 6 fumbles.

Of course, these players constitute a small handful of rare exceptions and the number of quarterbacks who ultimately fail rather than succeed is much larger.

But Josh Rosen does have the smarts. He does have the talent. He definitely has the self-confidence. He just needs to put everything together, something that only time will show us whether it can be done.


I understand that placing figures and imaginary statistics on a player at this stage is an entirely arbitrary process. The evaluation of Josh Rosen will absolutely be an ‘eyeball test’ rather than a simple review of the numbers. But I do consider there to be some benchmarks which he needs to meet (and hopefully exceed) before the Dolphins can properly consider Rosen as a promising prospect for the future to the extent that they can justifiably avoid taking a quarterback at the top of the 2020 draft.

Those key benchmarks are:

– Winning the training camp battle outright and being named starter before Week 1

– Showing continued growth in decision making, accuracy and vocal leadership

– Dragging the team to a .500+ record

– Throwing 26+ TDs with fewer than 10-12 INTs

– Throwing a 65%+ completion percentage

– Throwing for 4200+ yards

Those stats may even be a little too generous to Rosen and could even appear Tannehill-esque. But they would place him squarely in the top half of NFL rankings (compared to 2018 numbers) and be achieved on a roster with room for improvement.

I don’t for one minute mean that if Rosen achieves these numbers that the Dolphins have their quarterback of the future. Rather I set these numbers at a level to be met before I think the Dolphins could look elsewhere.

One of the fundamental criticisms of Ryan Tannehill was that he seemingly couldn’t elevate the players around him. He needed protection and the focused concentration of all those around him before he could fire on an impressive level. But not since 1972 has anything in the NFL been perfect and Josh Rosen has to show that he doesn’t need it to be in order to succeed. 

Brian Flores already talked about Josh Rosen’s body language needing to improve. He has made clear statements about Fitzpatrick’s higher level of understanding of the offense. Most importantly, he has confirmed that the best player will ultimately play. If Rosen wants to avoid a repeat of 2018, it is on his shoulders to put the Dolphins out of reach of the number 1 draft pick by the end of the season. 

Rosen knows himself that he has to put the work in, has to seize control of the offense and become a leader. He is battling not only against Ryan Fitzpatrick, but also against himself for starting quarterback position for 2019 and beyond. 

Playing behind 2018’s 31st-ranked offensive (and one which is projected to continue to dredge the bottom of the rankings) Rosen has to demonstrate a considerable step-up in playmaking from a mental and physical aspect. The change in team, teammates, playbook and coaches simply adds to the inconsistency and adversity faced in his young career but he has to demonstrate that he can overcome those hurdles to be not just a ‘good’ player but show that he has the traits of a special player for the Dolphins to avoid taking a QB in 2020.

With his salary virtually fully paid by the Cardinals for another 3 years the Dolphins had nothing to lose by taking on Rosen. But they aren’t looking at him as the franchise’s saviour. Not yet, and most definitely not without proper evaluation.

The likelihood is that the Dolphins won’t be put off the top names of the 2020 or 2021 quarterback classes by anything Rosen does in 2019. Competition and depth at quarterback is key to development and continued success – something the Dolphins haven’t had for decades.

The time is now for to Josh Rosen to make the most of his opportunity to join a small but resilient group of quarterbacks who have battled through the pains of their rookie year and taken steps towards NFL stardom.

Physically located across the pond, but mentally always in Miami. A qualified lawyer, NFL sponge, aspiring writer and self-proclaimed IKEA furniture construction expert, he’s looking ahead to a brighter future for the Dolphins after decades of wading in the depths of mediocrity. Always on the search for any excuse to talk all-things Dolphins.



  1. Avatar

    bob mac

    August 16, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Ughh… Of course the QB will be under attack with this O Line. Rosen is better than Fitzy. The offensive line is the problem.

    • Avatar


      August 16, 2019 at 12:12 pm

      Troy Aikman’s, rookie year was in 1989 not 1979.

  2. Avatar


    August 16, 2019 at 4:39 am

    Rosen has to actually beat out FitzMagic for the starting job FIRST. If he can’t do that, he’s definitely NOT our future.


    I root for Miami and anybody that plays the cheats, Jets and the Crimson Tide!

  3. Avatar

    Mark Doyle

    August 16, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Miami should design the protection first and use the remaining players to attack the defense. They may need 7 OLs to get off a pass. I expect quick passes this year with a lot of runs. The most important thing is evaluate talent and develop for next year.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Sign Tight End Michael Roberts

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins are beginning to bulk up the depth of their roster as they head into free agency.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Dolphins have signed tight end Michael Roberts. The exact terms of the contract are currently unknown.

Originally a 4th-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Roberts has served mostly as a backup tight end; accumulating 146 yards on 13 receptions in 23 active games between 2017-2018.

Roberts was placed on injured-reserve towards the end of the 2018 season with a shoulder injury, and was traded to the New England Patriots for a conditional 2020 7th-round pick prior to the 2019 season. Due to medical reasons, the trade was voided a couple of days later.

The Green Bay Packers claimed Roberts off of waivers, but he was subsequently released by the Packers two days later for failing a physical. Roberts was not active for any games in 2019.

Signing Roberts doesn’t necessarily mean the Dolphins aren’t going to pursue tight ends in free agency or in the draft. Mike Gesicki is the only “lock” to make the 2020 roster, as Durham Smythe‘s blocking ability might not survive if the Dolphins find themselves in an advantageous situation at the position.

Look at this as a way for Miami to get ahead of evaluations.

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Miami Dolphins

A second Dolphins mock draft from someone who doesn’t watch football

Shawn Digity



J.K. Dobbins 2020 NFL Draft
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports

(Locked On Dolphins) – Last week, Person A dazzled us with their blind mock draft, and now we’re back with the next entry in the series.

Person B is ready to go with their mock.

Keep in mind that all the blind mock draft contributors have little to no knowledge of the NFL.

I had all the contributors standardize their boards and the process so that everyone was on an even playing field.

They all used The Draft Network’s mock draft simulator with seven rounds, the predictive board, and had to choose the players manually.

Without further ado, here’s Person B’s mock draft.

(1) 5. Tua Tagovailoa – QB, Alabama
(1) 18. J.K. Dobbins – RB, Ohio State
(1) 26. Terrell Lewis – Edge, Alabama
(2) 39. Lloyd Cushenberry III – iOL, LSU
(2) 56. Xavier McKinney – S, Alabama
(3) 70. Rashard Lawrence – iDL, LSU
(5) 135. Chase Claypool – WR, Notre Dame
(5) 144. Justin Herron – OT, Wake Forest
(5) 147. Terrell Burgess – S, Utah
(6) 165. Lamar Jackson – CB, Nebraska
(6) 177. Jacob Breeland – TE, Oregon
(7) 223. David Reese II – LB, Florida

As I did with Person A, I reached out to Person B to get their reasoning behind the selections.

Me: “I noticed that you took Tua [Tagovailoa]. What led you to that decision with the fifth pick?”

Person B: “I knew the Dolphins wanted to get a QB, and Tua has been talked about so much that I just went with him.”

Me: “Which of your other selections did you feel particularly good about?”

Person B: “I need you to send me the link to my draft. I forgot who I picked since it took five attempts.”

[resends mock draft to Person B]

“I like my J.K. Dobbins pick. O-H-. And Rashard Lawrence. Because I figure he’s pretty good since LSU was really good this year.”

Me: “Your picks are really good. I’d put yours ahead of Person A. But it’s almost suspiciously good. Did you put your thumb on the scale somewhere along the line?”

Person B: “Well, by my 5th attempt (1 and 2: I didn’t select manual mode, 3: I didn’t pick 7 rounds from the drop-down menu, 4: I completed, but the site froze, and I lost everything), I figured out that I should probably pick from the top of the list first because if you don’t then those players just go like hotcakes.

So, I just matched up the positions the Dolphins needed to fill with the players highest on the list, and if I recognized a name or team, I would select them over someone I had never heard of.”

Me: “OK, well, we’re all out of time. Do you have any parting messages for Dolphins fans?”

Person B: “Well, I think the Dolphins are on the right track, and I hope that all of the true blue fans who have hung in with them for all these years will get to see another Super Bowl in the near future. GO FINS!”

And that wraps things up with Person B.

What are your thoughts on Person B’s mock draft? Leave a comment or tweet your thoughts at me directly on Twitter (@DIGITYnodoubt).

Tune in next time for Person C’s mock…

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Miami Dolphins

Top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019

Jason Hrina



Image Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins weren’t supposed to be a productive team in 2019.

A team meant to lose every game somehow ended up with a 5-11 record; simultaneously sabotaging their draft status and leaving us with a promising future at the same time.

Brian Flores, the former scout, scoured the transaction wire every day in an attempt to uncover potential “acorns” – as one former general manager infamously put it. And with a keen eye for development, his constant shuffling and retooling paid off for him.

You might think a 5-11 team wouldn’t have too many options for a Top 5 list, but the Dolphins were littered with productive “surprises”. Most have promising futures, while some have already solidified themselves as perennial starters.

Take a look at our top 5 Miami Dolphins of 2019 down below. If you’d like to see who made our list of top 5 most disappointing players of 2019, click here.

5) Davon Godchaux

After two elite seasons, we’ve come to expect nothing less out of Davon Godchaux.

Starting 16 games for the second year in a row, Godchaux has continued to ascend as one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. If the Dolphins weren’t so busy staying out of the lime light, Godchaux would be a household name across the nation.

His 52 solo tackles were tied for the most in the NFL among interior defensive linemen. His 2 sacks, 75 total tackles and 7 QB hits are all improvements over his 2018 campaign, which already had fans clamoring to extend the young, former 5th-round pick.

Though some might point to Miami’s overall defensive rushing numbers as a sign that Godchaux (and Christian Wilkins) weren’t good at their jobs, that’s wildly misleading. Godchaux was stout in the middle of the defensive line; inadvertently tasked with absorbing double teams and giving players like Vince Biegel or Jerome Baker room to blitz.

It’s quite possible that Godchaux is lower than he should be on this list, simply because we take his performance for granted.

4) Mike Gesicki

I’m going to hold my hand up high and admit that I thought Mike Gesicki was going to be an absolute bust for the Miami Dolphins.

More-notorious for not staying on his feet than Brian Hartline, Gesicki overcame a (very) rough rookie season and turned into a reliable seam threat for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Gesicki finished the year with 51 receptions, 570 receiving yards (an 11.2 yards-per-reception average) and five touchdowns – the first of his career. He proved to be a mismatch against linebackers; and whether he lines up in the slot or on the outside, the Dolphins are going to take advantage each time they see him 1-on-1 against an LB.

Athletic and deceptively quicker than we might realize, Gesicki honed his route running and displayed a much better catch radius than what we saw his rookie year. The image of Brent Grimes wide-eyed after Gesicki went up for a touchdown says more than a thousand words – but if nothing else, it tells us that the Miami Dolphins have a legitimate tight end.

3) Vince Biegel

Vince Biegel came to Miami as a complete afterthought.

The Dolphins traded incumbent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the New Orleans Saints in an effort to alleviate cap space in 2020. In return, they received a little-known, former 4th-round pick who was about to play for his third team in 3 years.

For all the grief we’ve given Chris Grier over his scouting, we have to give him a ton of credit for this one. Saying the Saints got fleeced is an understatement.

In 13 games (4 starts) with the Saints, Alonso recorded 31 tackles, 0 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss (TFL) and 2 QB Hits.

In 15 games (10 starts), Biegel accumulated 57 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 7 TFL, 13 QB Hits and an interception to boot.

Biegel was such a force at linebacker, that Dolphins fans forgot he was going to be a free agent this offseason and just assumed they had him for years to come. Most of us hope the Dolphins find a way to keep Biegel around at a reasonable (yet worthy) price.

The growth he, Raekwon McMillan and Jerome Baker can make with another year together could all together eliminate the need to use assets on a linebacker in the near-future. Especially when the team will get Andrew Van Ginkel back for a full, healthy season.

2) Jerome Baker

Arguably Chris Grier’s best draft pick, Jerome Baker has evolved into one of the best all-around linebackers in the league. You can consider that an overstatement, but his versatility, durability and play-making ability make him a prime candidate to burst into the national spotlight in 2020.

Baker and Eric Rowe were the only players who logged over 1,000 snaps last season (1,079 for Baker, 1,071 for Rowe).

After a rookie season that showed a ton of promise, Baker’s sophomore season ended with 124 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 QB hits, 2 forced fumbles, 4 passes defended and 1 interception. Versatile in coverage, as a spy, diagnosing the run, and when he blitzes, Baker may be the real Swiss-Army knife of this Dolphins’ defense.

The biggest question we now have to ask is: what do the Miami Dolphins do with Jerome Baker? He’s still two years away from free agency, but if his 2020 season is any improvement over what we’ve seen, Baker is going to command A LOT of money when he enters the final year of his rookie deal.

Don’t let Baker turn into another Olivier Vernon, Jarvis Landry or Lamar Miller. Pay the talent you successfully scouted and maintain a sense of culture and camaraderie.

Honorable Mentions:

Christian Wilkins:

Christian Wilkins came to the Miami Dolphins with a ton of charisma and a jovial personality unmatched by any top draft pick that came before him.

From the moment the 315lbs linebacker did a split after Clemson won their national championship in 2018, to the time he had Roger Goodell go up for a chest bump after he was drafted, Wilkins was a beloved figure.

But personality can only take you so far, and when the season started Wilkins needed to back up his charity work and infectious smile with the brutality necessary to win at the line of scrimmage. And boy did he live up to it.

Wilkins may not have finished with the most-gaudy numbers, but they’re still impressive nonetheless. For his rookie season, Wilkins totaled 56 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 passes defended. He’s caught every pass ever thrown to him (1), and it even resulted in a touchdown.

His 888 total snaps (between defense, special teams and the 2 he accumulated on offense) are noteworthy for a rookie defensive tackle.

The other 1st-round defensive linemen drafted in 2019 finished with:

  • Quinnen Williams (3rd-overall): 577 total snaps
  • Clelin Ferrell (4th): 716 snaps
  • Ed Oliver (9th): 572 snaps
  • Wilkins (13th): 888 snaps
  • Brian Burns (16th): 609 snaps
  • Dexter Lawrence (17th): 866 snaps
  • Jeffery Simmons (19th): 368 snaps
  • Montez Sweat (26th): 817 snaps
  • Jerry Tillery (28th): 436 snaps

The 2019 draft class was stacked on the defensive line, and yet, the Dolphins may have managed to draft the best one of the bunch midway through the round.

Nik Needham:

The Miami Dolphins signed Nik Needham as an undrafted free agent with the hope that he would provide depth for a position group that already featured plenty of expensive and starting-caliber players within it.

Instead, the Dolphins add another commodity to that list.

Competing for playing time with players like Xavien Howard, Eric Rowe, Bobby McCain, Minkah Fitzpatrick and a plethora of other roster invitees, Needham had an excellent camp, but found himself just missing the final 53-man roster.

That didn’t stop him from honing his craft and earning a promotion from the practice squad one day before the Dolphins were set to take on the Washington Redskins in Week 6.

Needham went on to start the final 11 games of the season, and ended the year with 2 interceptions, 11 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 sack and 54 total tackles.

As a rookie cornerback, you’re expected to be picked on, but Needham was bullied by the refs more than he was by opposing quarterbacks. Questionable calls against Needham towards the end of the year put a slight damper on his otherwise stellar season.

Though in the eyes of some Dolphins fans, that erroneous (non-existent) pass interference penalty that was overturned on the final drive during the New York Jets loss was a blessing in disguise.

1) DeVante Parker

It may have taken slightly longer than we originally hoped, but Ryan Fitzpatrick’s aggressive style highlighted just how elite DeVante Parker can be when you just throw him the damn ball.

Previously marred by the occasional health concern and offensive schemes that didn’t cater to his skillset, Parker was deemed a “bust” by most Dolphins fans. Drafted 14th-overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Parker was expected to transcend the offense. Instead, bubble screens became the focal point for an offense that was littered with deep threat specialists (Parker, Kenny Stills and Jakeem Grant).

Parker’s recent 4-year, $40m extension is a reward not only for the production Parker put up in 2019, but for the potential Parker still has left in him.

In 16 games this past season (the first time he’s been active for 16 games his entire career), Parker caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns. In his four years prior to 2019, Parker caught a combined 163 passes for 2,217 yards and 9 TDs.

As long as he can stay healthy, and the Dolphins don’t revert back to a scared, anemic offense, you can expect annual 1,000 yard seasons from the team’s #1 receiver.

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