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The Book on Josh Rosen’s 2018 Rookie Campaign

Travis Wingfield

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The internet’s most detailed, comprehensive scouting report on new Miami Dolphins Quarterback Josh Rosen’s Rookie Season

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The Final Report (2018 Cumulative Data)
Week 4 vs. Seattle
Week 5 at San Francisco
Week 6 at Minnesota
Week 7 vs. Denver
Week 8 vs. San Francisco
Week 10 at Kansas City
Week 11 vs. Oakland
Week 12 at LA Chargers
Week 13 at Green Bay
Week 14 vs. Detroit
Week 15 at Atlanta
Week 16 vs. LA Rams
Week 17 at Seattle

The 20th time’s a charm — at least that’s the hope for Josh Rosen among a Dolphins fan base starved for a solution at quarterback. Miami acquired the baby-faced, misunderstood UCLA product as a result of some clever draft-day dealings, and he now assumes that unenviable task that 20 others before him have failed to do — to replace Dan Marino.

Day-two of the 2019 NFL Draft began with a rumor that the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals were finalizing a deal that would send the embattled 13-game starter of 2018’s worst team, to 2019’s projected last place finisher.

The value of that initial, reported trade was dubious, but General Manager Chris Grier orchestrated the deal of the weekend by extracting Rosen from the desert while acquiring future assets in the process. Part of a two-trade operation, Miami wound up spending the 62nd-pick, and a 2020 fifth-round pick, to acquire Rosen along with a 2020 second-rounder from the New Orleans Saints.

Conflating the value of multiple trades into one culminating dividend isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but the end result is difficult to ignore. Grier, and his newly restructured front office, continues to maximize the remaining value of the previous regimes wrongdoings.

After years of offseason championships, met with criticism from the majority of national publications, the 2019 Dolphins ushered in a new era with unanimous approval.

Josh Rosen’s 16-game audition will ultimately decide the winner-loser-dynamic of the trade. The beauty of the NFL comes via its unpredictable nature. Extenuating circumstances bring validity to either side of the Great Tannehill Rosen Debate. Volume statistics paint an ominous forecast for Rosen in the aqua and orange; while the precarious situation in Arizona did little to mitigate Rosen’s own shortcomings.

Regardless of Rosen’s 2019 performance, the Dolphins have three years of club control, on a top-10 pick, for a fraction of the current market value for said asset. A worst-case scenario would result in a backup quarterback playing on a contract far more team-friendly than the current going-rate for clipboard-holder services.

Professionals far more intelligent than you or I insist that past performance is not indicative of future results. In this line of work, however, all we have to work on is the previous evidence.

Without further ado, this is the evidence Josh Rosen gave us in 2018:

The Analytical Data

The term charting refers to much more than plotting the passes on a football-field-style-graph. In addition to that aspect of the project, I chart personnel groupings, field/boundary throws, pressure metrics, play-action numbers — the entire gamut.

Those numbers are not kind to Josh Rosen’s rookie season.

Depth splits (does not include throwaways, clock plays, or no-plays via penalty):

Portion of the Field Accurate Pass/Number of Passes
20+ yards 13/37 (35.1%)
11-19 yards 42/80 (52.5%)
0-10 yards (or behind LOS) 170/231 (73.6%)
Total 225/348 (64.7%)

 

Personnel Grouping Splits:

Personnel Snaps Statistics
11 338 186/278 (66.9%) 1,707 yards, 6 TDs, 12 INTs, 72.6 rating
12 54 27/49 (55.1%) 421 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 100.8 rating
21 11 6/11 (54.5%) 50 yards
13 6 4/6 (66.7%) 88 yards
20 2 1/2, 11 yards
22 1 1/1, 1 yard
23 1 0/1

 

Conversion Numbers:

Situational Drop Backs Conversion Rate
3rd and 4th Down 39/138 (28.3%)
All Downs 116/413 (28.1%)
Red Zone 11/22 accuracy (4 TDs, 0 INTs)

 

Advanced contested, play-action and pressure numbers:

Situational Drop Backs Statistics
Contested Throws 39/123 (31.7%) 545 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs, 36.1 rating
Play Action 44/86 (51.2%) 655 yards, 5 TDs, 2 INTs, 86.1 rating
Under Pressure 48/114 (42.1%) 513 yards, 1 TD, 5 INTs, 40.6 rating

 

Additional Pressure Numbers:

Situational Drop Backs Statistics
Drop Back Pressure % 40.1% of drop backs
Sacks 44
Hits 75
Hurries 40
Average Snap-to-Pressure Time 2.29 seconds

 

Josh Rosen 2018 Air Yards Average 8.20 Air Yards Per Throw

 

The All-22 Strengths

Mechanics, spin, and drive – Rosen arrived on the campus at UCLA with the moniker “The Chosen One” because of his mechanical refinement. A five-star recruit, raised in an environment of passing camps and year-round training, Rosen’s astute mechanics begin with his foundation – the feet.

Rosen displays active feet in the pocket with hips hardwired to his eyes (allows him to maintain a threatening position as he scans through his progressions). He squares up to his target and typically transfers his weight seamlessly and successfully (except in one, unique instance that we’ll cover in the weaknesses portion).

Through these qualities, Rosen has developed a penchant for driving the ball to the field-side of the formation on deeper routes (comebacks, out-breaking routes, back-shoulder throws). He also displays the requisite spin to strategically get the ball over the top of underneath defenders, but with enough torque and spin to drop it in underneath the deep defender.

Variety of throws in the tool bag, and the knowledge for when to use each one – Different routes require different throws. Different defensive leverage can alter the appropriate times for said throws, and Rosen has an innate knowledge for when to use those different throws.

The wheel is a great example of one route that can require varying types of throws. If the deep safety rolls coverage away from the wheel, the QB can use touch and trajectory to drop the ball in deep down the field. If that window is tighter, however, the QB needs to stick the ball on the target with pinpoint accuracy and velocity (see Rosen’s TD pass at KC in Week 10).

Rosen showcases this skill on seam throws as well. These throws often come against bracket coverage that features a linebacker in trail technique with a safety over the top in cover-1, 2, 3, and 4. Rosen can effectively throw his target open despite the tight coverage in these instances.

Subtle movement to create clean platforms – The Arizona pass protection became so dire that Rosen began to anticipate breakdowns. Rosen could often find, and get to, clean areas of the pocket after failed protection, and deliver the ball on time.

Keeps eyes downfield under the rush – A byproduct of the above skill, Rosen doesn’t succumb to the same pitfalls that can consume young quarterbacks. He had plenty of opportunities to evade the rush immediately upon getting to the top of his drop. Rosen inherently looks to climb, opposed to escaping out the front-side or back-side, and has the required choppy footwork, and crossover step, to effectively get to cleaner platforms.

Even when presented with green grass ahead, after stepping up through the pressure, Rosen works laterally to survey his progressions. This combination of traits allows Rosen to effectively deliver the football under the face of pressure.

Post-snap defensive manipulation and ball-handling – One of Rosen’s biggest strengths comes from passing off of play-action. One way to force linebackers to overcommit to the dummy-run, is the validity of the ball fake from the quarterback. Rosen is trained in extending the football to imitate the same mechanics of a handoff.

But it’s Rosen’s work to displace zone coverage that stands out above all. He often uses pump fakes, subtle upper-body movement (shoulder shakes), and his eyes to keep the defense where he wants it.

Windows close as fast as they open at this level. Finding space in the hook zones often requires the QB to hold a safety with his eyes, or move a linebacker with that subtle body movement. Rosen showcased this ability in his very first start.

Gamer (third and long, fourth quarter) – On multiple occasions Rosen was having a difficult start to games during his rookie season. Then, when the Cards were behind on the scoreboard and the down-and-distance, Rosen’s play improved. Typically, he was at his best on third-and-long or in the fourth quarter with the game in the balance.

This trait tracks back to his final year at UCLA when he engineered one of college football’s greatest all-time comebacks against Texas A&M. These are unteachable traits that are either embedded in the player or not. It was not with Tannehill — it is with Rosen.

The All-22 Weaknesses

Accuracy in the short-intermediate areas – A trend developed over the course of 2018. Rosen would often sail passes in the short areas, in either direction, but more frequently to the left. On top of throwing the ball high, Rosen was culpable for miss-placing the football on the wrong hip/shoulder on basic flat routes, stick routes, and speed-outs preventing his target from creating after the catch — or worse – -resulting in drops.

The primary culprit for this flaw is a mechanical one. Rosen’s weight-transfer and gait is often very astute, but the quick set-ups (shotgun catch-rock-throw, or three-step drops from under-center) will see Rosen pull his front shoulder open because of the lead foot misdirecting his lead hip, and thus taking his upper-body of course. Again, it all starts with the foundation.

This mechanical flaw results in the arm-angle dropping, which causes the football to go high. Rosen works tirelessly on off-platform throws so this could improve with repetition.

Timing and anticipation – These are perhaps the two most crucial traits for NFL quarterbacks. Trusting the eyes, trusting the read, and throwing based on leverage and anticipation are qualities found in all the best QBs. Often times, Rosen is late to see the development of the route and pulls the trigger after the receiver has moved from the top (the stem) of the route.

This allows the defensive back to drive on throws and contest what would otherwise be an open window. Sprint rollouts, hitch and curl routes, and even throwing down the field with built-in shot plays showcased a shortcoming in this area for Rosen.

Athleticism – Rosen isn’t going to threaten the defense with his scrambling ability. What’s more, he can get heavy-footed when these two events occur simultaneously: 1.) The pass rush closes in and, 2.) Coverage is tight. Rosen had a propensity to double and triple hitch during his climb up the pocket, and his feet go dead when indecision sets it. Most quarterbacks are going to get beat in this area. Few show the ability to escape these treacherous waters — Rosen is not one of those few.

There are instances where Rosen had an escape route, and attempted to flee accordingly, but was caught from behind by the pursuit. Designed runs are not an option with Rosen at the controls.

Making plays off script – A byproduct of the above trait, if Rosen has to evade a rush and make a play on a broken route, it’s not likely to happen. There are moments when Rosen does find the big play off-script, it’s just not a common occurrence — especially compared to some of his counterparts at the position — including the guy replacing him in Arizona.

Decision making – Rosen is normally adept at identifying pre-snap disguise, but he shows a penchant for panicking when things go off-schedule. A lot of young quarterbacks will press the issue in these situations and Rosen is no exception. A fair number of his interceptions came from failing to identify a robber or combination coverages.

Ball security – Rosen fumbled the ball 10 times on 438 drop backs. He doesn’t demonstrate a strong grip on the football amidst a pass rush that’s closing-in, and tends to get loose with the ball when attempting to evade pressure. Rosen was solely to blame for several sacks turning into turnovers last season.

Failing to take what the defense gives – As evidence by the lofty air-yards-per-throw figure, Rosen often plays for keeps on the deep pass. Multiple times, in 2018, Rosen had check downs available, yet still forced the football down the field into coverage. This is another easily correctable trait and one that the Dolphins Staff will certainly drill into the 22-year-old’s knowledge database.

How to Set Rosen up for Success

Line of scrimmage autonomy – Former NFL Quarterback, and current renowned QB analyst, Trent Dilfer has been raving about the fit for Rosen in Offensive Coordinator Chad O’Shea’s system. As Dilfer describes it, it’s an academic scheme that challenges the quarterback by empowering him as the most important player on the field.

From the Inside the Film Room piece from February, we learned the nuances of the new scheme coming from Foxboro to South Florida. Concise phrases that gives the quarterback full control over his pre-snap conditions will give the astute Rosen the keys to the offense.

12 personnel, play action heavy game – Miami made some considerable hay last year working with 12-personnel packages featuring the High-Five Bros, Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant. That pairing provides Rosen with speed on the edges, but the personnel grouping will accentuate his prowess attacking down the seams and throwing against matchup based looks, despite his less-than-stellar statistics in these areas.

The 12-personnel package’s (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR) primary objective is to keep the base defense on the field. Picture it this way, if you will. The Patriots run 12-personnel against the Dolphins because they knew it would often put Rob Gronkowski on Reshad Jones, and James White on Kiko Alonso.

Rosen excels at attacking linebackers in coverage with his refined ball placement on throws to larger targets in contested windows.

Attempt to develop a rhythm early – Rosen was extremely streaky in 2018. When he heated up, there wasn’t a throw he couldn’t make. Frequent three-and-out’s and limited success in the run led to far-too-many possessions where Rosen had one opportunity to make a play.

Using the backs in the swing/flat game. Using the electric, game-breaking wide outs on tunnel, bubble and slip screens can help Rosen mitigate those cold streaks and develop his rhythm early in games.

Identify match-ups and go after them – That’s the crux of the entire offense and it plays into the strengths of the new Miami quarterback. Running backs in the passing game, linebackers chasing tight ends up the seam after re-route attempts, and dictating deep safety help with the speed on the perimeter, Rosen has a cupboard stocked full of matchup nightmares — the Dolphins would be wise to use them…unlike the previous staff.

What Rosen Must Do to Prevent the Dolphins from Drafting his Replacement

Develop a trusting relationship with Chad O’Shea – Although it’s probably trauma inducing, think back to the game in Indianapolis this past season. Adam Gase showed Dolphins fans his exact feelings about the quarterback position when he took the ball out of Ryan Tannehill’s hands in crunch time.

Chad O’Shea and Josh Rosen need to be a perfect pairing from the word go. The way they communicate, the mutual respect between the two, getting comfortable with the uncomfortable, these two men must challenge each other in ways that bring the best out of one another.

This isn’t something we can’t quantify as fans, or even journalists. It’s an organic development that will either occur — or not — behind closed doors. When Miami is up against it in a crucial spot on any given Sunday this fall, that’s when we’ll know how the relationship has developed and progressed.

Elevate the play of his teammates – Strengths have a way of mitigating weaknesses in sports. Yes, a team is often only as strong as its weakest links, but therein lies opportunities to minimize the peril of weak spots on a football team. By the same token, there are opportunities to put the onus on the play makers in the offense. Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant, Kenny Stills, Kenyan Drake; all proven big-play threats at this level. Rosen would be wise to take on the role of distributor and let these play makers do what they do best.

Demonstrate growth from opening day to week 17 – Mistakes are inevitable just as impressionable throws are certain to excite the fan base. What Rosen needs to do, to prove to the coaching staff that he’s an ascending player, is to limit the mistakes as the year goes along and show growth in the positive areas from the beginning to the end of the season.

It sounds obvious, but there needs to be a discernible difference between the Rosen we see in September, and the Rosen we see in December. Unless, of course, he comes out like an MVP from day-one — in that case, who cares?

The Upshot

Football fandom has undergone an evolution in the social media age. Victory is rivaled by the fan’s own individual nefarious purpose, i.e. hitting for a high average on the proverbial hot take machine.

Fans would be wise to put aside their preconceived notions with this 22-year-old quarterback. If Rosen is in fact the chosen one, the Dolphins will enter the 2020 offseason flush with resources, and a solution at the most important position in sports.

If Rosen is in fact the answer to the two-decade long search, Miami goes from bottom-barrel, tanking-accused, to offseason darling with unlimited upside in the span of one year — a turnaround that bests even the 2008 Miami Dolphins.

After nearly 20 years of torture, and living in the glow of division rival New England, which Dolphins fan wouldn’t want that?

@WingfieldNFL

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Daniel

    May 21, 2019 at 11:35 am

    Good article Travis. You have done a stellar job in breaking down Rosen’s games and skills. Keep up the good work! Fins up!

  2. Avatar

    Richard

    May 21, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Great work and very educational. Thanks!!

  3. Avatar

    David aka Bumrush

    May 21, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Great stuff. You should forward this to someone on the Dolphins staff.

  4. Avatar

    Joe M.

    May 21, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Maybe I’m in the minority, and although this is a solid article/well detailed, who really and honestly cares about what he did last year? And while being a member on the absolute worst team in the NFL?

    We’ve already dissected every step he took and every word spoken. The fact is, he’s given a great opportunity to latch onto a team that desperately has needed a franchise QB for years and years! And the overriding hope is, that they’ve been FORTUNATE enough to land one at an easy-to-afford/absorb salary. Now let him go get it and lets let go of the maybes and right/wrong or good play/decision or bad play/decision.

    Because why? I think we all get it! So, stop trying to convince us we got a good deal and YET we still need to worry because he did not have a favorable rookie season under fire, and on a team in flux moreso than MIA, and yes that includes and not limited to the AZ GM comment/non-call garb. Some stuff is simply fodder to make the media s***pot spin for a week or 2 or 3 or 20!

    And so I end with diatribe with this – if you read this or hear about it –> Good luck, Josh! Have a great season! Prove the doubters and perpetual haters/doubters wrong.

  5. Avatar

    Whatsupdolfans

    May 22, 2019 at 12:28 am

    Great article Travis. You put in a lot work. It would help if you include the touchdown at KC week 10 in your articles. It looks like the dolphins could have found the future QB with some good coaching up and play calling/scheming. I hope so. Go fins.

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Miami Dolphins

Dolphins Waive TE Michael Roberts

Chris Kowalewski

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As the doors of the Dolphins’ training facility open to the newly signed rookie class, they close for another former Miami-hopeful after an active weekend of roster moves.

The Miami Dolphins have today waived TE Michael Roberts.

Roberts began his NFL career in 2017 out of Toledo as a 4th round pick of the Detroit Lions, possessing ideal measurements (6’5”, 265lb) for a playmaking TE.

A shoulder injury in December 2018 cut short Roberts’ time in Detroit and he was waived by the Lions following a failed physical as part of an attempted trade with the New England Patriots and subsequently waived quickly again after being picked up by the Green Bay Packers.

Roberts underwent reconstruction of the injured left shoulder in August 2019, having struggled both physically and mentally as his career path veered away from his dreams. Signed by the Dolphins in February 2020, it was hoped that Roberts could revive his NFL career in Miami’s TE room, competing with Durham Smythe for the TE2 spot behind Mike Gesicki.

At only 26 years old, it remains to be seen whether the young TE will be able to regain full health and return to the game, but the craziness of 2020 only puts further hurdles in his path as training camp rosters are reduced across the league to 80 players in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Don’t expect Brian Flores and his staff to sit on their hands when it comes to competition – 2019 highlighted on a regularly churning roster of names being given a chance to succeed – and this approach is expected to continue at certain positions. As such, Saturday’s news that former Chicago Bears’ TE Adam Shaheen had been acquired by the Dolphins ensures that healthy competition can continue to spread through the roster, and proves the willingness of the front office to give chances to promising players who may not have achieved during their first NFL stop.

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Miami Dolphins

In A Perfect World, Tua Tagovailoa Doesn’t Start a Single Game

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

If everything goes right, Tua Tagovailoa isn’t going to start a single game for the Miami Dolphins in 2020.

Nope, you didn’t misread that last sentence. Tua Tagovailoa riding the bench is the best thing that could happen to the Miami Dolphins this season, and if you think otherwise, then you haven’t been paying attention to what Brian Flores has been preaching since his arrival.

The obvious factor everyone is taking into consideration is the health of Tua’s hip. And while that definitely plays a part, it has minimal affect on his playing time. You see, barring a trade, Tua is the third-best quarterback on the roster right now.

Combine his inexperience, a COVID-restricted offseason, and that pesky hip injury, and it’s safe to say our questions have already been answered.

The Better Player Plays

With this team, it’s no secret that playing time is awarded based on a player’s performance both in games and during practice. It doesn’t matter where you were drafted or how much money you’re making, if you aren’t better than the athlete next to you, you aren’t playing.

In fact, didn’t we just go through a very similar situation last year when the Dolphins acquired Josh Rosen from the Arizona Cardinals for a 2nd-round draft pick?

We all assumed that Ryan Fitzpatrick was keeping the seat warm until Rosen – a top-10 draft pick one season prior – was ready, but when Flores had the opportunity to simultaneously give a young quarterback experience and tank for Tua, he did neither. Instead, opting to (nearly) sabotage the opportunity to draft Tagovailoa and win as many games as possible with Fitzpatrick.

Rosen has much more upside than Fitzpatrick, but he couldn’t muster more than 197 snaps under center last season.

Just like that, the culture was set. Flores wasn’t fucking around – it was win at all costs, and the players bought in. One season later, that mantra certainly hasn’t changed.

Tua has more talent and better quarterback traits than Fitzpatrick and Rosen (probably combined), so there’s no arguing which quarterback we want to build a franchise around, but who is going to win the team more games this season?

I don’t doubt that Tua is a football genius that will pick up a playbook quickly, but knowing your plays and executing against an NFL defense are two completely different things.

Fitzpatrick has been in the league for 15 years while Tua has been in the league for 14 weeks; there is A LOT Tua has to learn before he can make the kind of reads Fitzpatrick can instinctively make after 139 starts in the NFL.

Josh Rosen may not evolve into an elite, franchise-saving quarterback, but he’s not terrible either. Two years of experience and a season-worth of starts (16) under his belt gives him an instant edge over Tua. The only thing that levels Rosen with Tagovailoa is they’re both learning Chan Gailey‘s offense for the first time – and for Rosen, this would be his 4th different offense in the past 4 years.

Otherwise, Rosen already has a rapport with the coaching staff, the medical staff, all of the workers in the building, and the receivers on this roster. In other words, he’s comfortable in his surroundings while Tua is trying to get acclimated to a brand new life.

There are going to be growing pains and a learning curve – two things we admittedly need Tua to experience in order to evolve. But the question becomes, when can Miami afford to experience those “opportunities”? Certainly not if they believe they are…

Playoff Bound

The Miami Dolphins – and most importantly, Brian Flores – believe they are in a position to make a legitimate playoff run.

Scoff however much you’d like at the notion that this team, one year removed from being “the worst team in the NFL”, is on a cusp of making a playoff appearance, but don’t tell anyone in the Dolphins’ organization that you think that.

A remastered secondary, a veteran presence among the front-7, an entirely new offensive line, and real, productive running backs means the Dolphins are all-but-guaranteed to improve on their 5-11 record.

In fact, the only thing holding them back from a legitimate playoff run is the quarterback position.

Ryan Fitzpatrick has won more than 6 games as a starter just once in his career, and Rosen only has 3 wins to his name (none as a Dolphin). If the team falters, it’s because these two quarterbacks couldn’t carry a well-built football team to the playoffs.

And that’s where the disappointment of another lost season is met with hope for the future. It won’t be until the Dolphins are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs that the team will trot Tua Tagovailoa out onto the field.

Waiting until so late in the season checks off every single box you need. It gives him time to:

  • Learn his way around the NFL
  • Understand the playbook better
  • Observe the game from the sideline
  • Gain chemistry with his receivers

Oh, and it also helps ensure that his hip is healthy, because…

I’m Sure He’s Healthy…

Being stuck inside during an international pandemic may have made it seem like a lifetime ago, but it’s only been three short months since we all clamored to a 14 minute video of Tua Tagovailoa throwing scripted passes; our eyes inexplicably glued to a man’s hips, unscientifically judging whether or not he was healthy. Try explaining that one to your significant other.

While we are all thrilled with recent medical reports and first-hand accounts from the quarterback himself, it would be downright idiotic to mess around with a hip injury.

The only reason Tua Tagovailoa was available at the 5th-overall pick was because of the uncertainty surrounding his hip, those concerns don’t suddenly disappear just because he’s on your roster and we’re excited to see our prized possession play.

Let his hip heal and let him practice against a secondary that includes Xavien Howard, Byron Jones, Bobby McCain, Brandon Jones, Noah Igbinoghene, and Eric Rowe. He’s going to learn just how quickly throwing lanes close and how tight they are to begin with.

Don’t convince yourself that Tua has to start games this rookie season to be the elite quarterback he’s projected to be. Patrick Mahomes started one game his rookie year. Aaron Rodgers didn’t start until his forth season in the NFL. If all of the hype is real, then his career will be just fine.

The plan isn’t to count moral victories, but to win football games – and Tua Tagovailoa gives the Miami Dolphins the best chance to do that for the foreseeable future. But for now, Ryan Fitzpatrick is your starting quarterback, and until Josh Rosen relinquishes the job as backup, it won’t be Tua’s until 2021. Mission Accomplished.

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Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins Trade for Tight End Adam Shaheen

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

After a breakout 2019 campaign, it looks like Mike Gesicki will have some competition.

According to Pro Football Talk, the Miami Dolphins have traded a 2021 6th-round pick to the Chicago Bears for tight end Adam Shaheen.

A former 2nd-round pick (2017) out of Ashland University (Division II), Shaheen excelled during the combine, which led to an increase in his draft stock. The Bears jumped at the opportunity of molding a raw prospect, and selected Shaheen with the 45th pick in the draft. He was the 5th tight end taken in the draft that year, well above where he was originally projected when he declared for the NFL.

Though the Bears were optimistic, it seems Shaheen hasn’t lived up to his draft status. After three seasons, Shaheen has 26 receptions for 249 yards and 4 touchdowns. His playtime has diminished from 239 offensive snaps in 2017, to 160 in 2018 and 174 in 2019; with injuries playing a part the past two seasons. For comparisons sake, Durham Smythe had 482 offensive snaps last season alone (Shaheen has 573 for his career).

Shaheen became expendable after the Bears drafted Cole Kmet in the 2nd-round of the 2020 draft and signed Jimmy Graham to a 2-year contract earlier this offseason. With 8 tight ends on the Chicago Bears roster, you know something had to give. And from the perspective of a Bears’ fan, receiving any compensation for a likely roster cut is rewarding enough.

Trading a 6th-round pick means Shaheen is a favorite to win one of the backup tight end spots, should the Dolphins keep 3 on their roster.

It’s unlikely that Shaheen is a possible replacement for Smythe, as Shaheen is meant to be a receiving threat more than an in-line blocker, but there is so much untapped potential with Shaheen that it’s hard to guess what the Dolphins will receive from him.

We assume Mike Gesicki will continue to grow, but behind him, the cupboard is pretty barren. Shaheen adds much-needed depth to a tight end room that currently includes Smythe, Michael Roberts, Chris Myarick and undrafted rookie Bryce Sterk.

 

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