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Miami Dolphins

The Value of Acquiring Josh Rosen

Jason Hrina

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Image Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

If Day 1 of the NFL draft taught us patience, Day 2 taught us both hope and bewilderment.

After initially trading down in the 2nd-round (originally 48th-overall), allowing the Miami Dolphins to obtain an additional 2nd-round pick in 2020 from the New Orleans Saints, the team went ahead and shipped that new 2nd-round pick (62nd-overall) along with their 5th-round pick in 2019 to the Arizona Cardinals for former first-round quarterback Josh Rosen.

There are so many aspects that play into this acquisition. What would have been an exciting draft night if Rosen was acquired last year turned into a somber occasion for some fans, and a reason to celebrate for others.

I guess it depends on how you personally view Rosen and how strongly you feel about the quarterback position. There are so many aspects that play into this trade, that I don’t think we’ll be able to judge if it’s successful or not for a few years.

Check out everything that goes into this acquisition down below:

History of Ineptitude, Future of Prosperity

Before we tackle the amazing value Miami received in this trade, let’s remind ourselves just how lost we’ve been as a franchise since Dan Marino.

I’m not going to list every incompetent quarterback this team has marched out there, but we are all aware that the only reason Miami has been mediocre the past two decades is due to the most prominent position on their roster being average at best.

It wasn’t too long ago that we were all clamoring for Miami to do whatever it took to solve the quarterback position. We were all done with Ryan Tannehill, fed up with the pathetic plug-and-plays like Jay Cutler, Trent Green and Joey Harrington, and tired of hoping our backup (Matt Moore mainly) could supplant our starter.

So Chris Grier went ahead and did something about it…and now there’s a large contingency of fans that are upset?

This is where our inept history clashes with our hope for a prosperous future.

Without taking into account the 2020 QB class and the potential roster you need around them, acquiring Rosen can only be a good thing for Miami.

A former first-round pick who is projected to be a better player than most of the quarterbacks that came out in 2019, Rosen doesn’t have the shiny aura brand new draftees have, but unless previous scouting reports across the board are completely wrong, Rosen, on the surface, appears like the better player.

Add in a year of NFL experience along with a humbling journey from becoming widely desired (Arizona traded up to get him in 2018) to being largely unwanted, and you have a quarterback that is looking to instantly succeed so they can prove every doubter wrong.

We just wonder if Miami will even have the chance to properly evaluate him….

Playing with Players That Make Plays or “Playmakers”?

Out from all the dry heat in Arizona to the sunny and boisterous Miami beach, Rosen certainly upgraded his surroundings from yesterday morning to yesterday evening.

But other than beautiful beaches and a wild nightlife, did Rosen really step into a better situation?

After a rookie season worse than all the other 1st-round picks from the 2018 quarterback class, most excused Rosen’s performance due to the team that was built around him.

  • “No playmakers!”
  • “How can he succeed with a porous offensive line!?”
  • “There’s no way you can get a clear read on him after last season!”

So we all clamor to potential and hope while ignoring the evidence before us.

I don’t want to discredit his lack of playmakers and porous offensive line affecting his play, but what exactly is Rosen getting into when he comes to Miami?

We have no idea who will be stationed where on the right side of the offensive line. Daniel Kilgore is returning from tearing his triceps at the age of 31 and was average at his best before that. Michael Deiter can provide the Dolphins with a solid starter at left guard, but we have absolutely no idea how he’ll perform.

At best, we have two starters on the left side and one starter roaming the right side of the line (Jesse Davis). And you’re only confident in one of those 4 players anyway (Laremy Tunsil).

From a porous offensive line to a leaky offensive line, it already seems like we have to institute the same “he has no OL” excuse in 2019.

Playmakers?

Kenyan Drake is a pretty good running back, but David Johnson is better.

Larry Fitzgerald is 35 years old, yet he is still a better receiver than anyone on the Dolphins roster.

Miami has:

  • Virtually no tight ends
  • One reliable speed receiver (Kenny Stills)
  • An unreliable big man (DeVante Parker)

And a whole lot of hope with the other positions (mainly Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant being able to return from their injuries without missing a step).

We can claim we have the better receiving options – and overall that is true – but going from one of the worst receiving rooms to a below-average receiving room may not be enough of an upgrade to benefit Rosen.

If Rosen threw for just 2278 yards and a 55.2 completion percentage last season, it better damn well be because of that offensive line, because Ryan Tannehill threw for 3294 yards and a 58.3 completion percentage his rookie year, and his best receiving options were Davone Bess and Brian Hartline.

Josh Rosen also had 3 college seasons under his belt while Tannehill had just one.

Each quarterback and each situation is different, but you can’t harp on Tannehill’s performance while excusing Rosen’s simply because one player offers hope and the other has already given us an answer.

My main reason for being skeptical of this trade centers around the same insane cycle we’ve been on throughout the Tannehill tenure.

What was our annual excuse with Tannehill? We couldn’t properly read the quarterback after 7 seasons because he never had more than 3 seconds to make a decision behind an anemic offensive line.

How are we going to properly evaluate Rosen after 1 season when he’s in the same boat Tannehill was in? How can you convince me we will be able to properly evaluate Rosen to the point that we can either skip on a QB in 2020 or confidently take one in next year’s draft?

Value

This is where the Dolphins won the trade. A former 1st-round quarterback obtained for a very low 2nd-round pick and a 5th-round pick the following year? I’ll make that trade nearly every time I want a potential franchise QB!

By trading those two picks, Miami obtained:

  • Potential franchise QB
  • (if not a franchise QB) Very good backup for cheap
  • Future trade chip

Getting a potential franchise quarterback is the perfect reason to make the trade, but even when you take into account the “worst” outcome of this trade, it really isn’t all that dismal.

Teddy Bridgewater was traded to the Saints for a 3rd-round pick last year, and that was after he failed to play meaningful NFL snaps for 2 full seasons. Sam Bradford continued to receive $20m contracts based off of potential alone. Guys like Matt Flynn and Mike Glennon make out like bandits – all because teams “hope” they found the right quarterback.

If Miami sits Rosen on the bench behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, his value seemingly grows. You have teams that will wonder “what if Rosen’s potential isn’t tapped” and try and make a play for a quarterback they know Miami doesn’t need.

So you traded a 2nd-round pick and a 5th-round pick for, say, a 4th-round pick in 2020? That’s not a win, but that’s not a terrible result either.

Where you have to weigh Rosen’s value is on how it affects the rest of the roster. Did Miami just screw themselves over by failing to put a “team” around Rosen?

Personally, I wanted to build the offensive line before getting ourselves a new quarterback.

I know that’s counter-productive to setting your franchise up for success (I did just post an article about Miami doubling-down in 2019 and 2020, so this fits right up that alley), but how successful can this franchise be with a “potential” quarterback when they can’t keep him upright long enough to complete more than a bubble screen?

This is the kind of logic that nets us Jake Long instead of Matt Ryan, but Josh Rosen isn’t anywhere near what Matt Ryan was coming out of college.

I’m getting flashbacks of Ryan Tannehill’s uncertainty all over again, except this time it comes at the expense of potential OL or DE solutions in round 2.

On the surface, the Miami Dolphins obtained Josh Rosen for PHENOMENAL value, but how valuable is a franchise quarterback without a team to protect him? We’re going to certainly find out this season…

What Does it Mean for 2020?

The fear most of us (that didn’t want Rosen) currently have is that acquiring Josh Rosen eliminates the opportunity to draft a quarterback in 2020.

While it does “hurt” that idea somewhat, it doesn’t eliminate Miami from taking a new QB in next year’s draft.

With a treasure trove of draft picks (counting for compensatory picks, Miami is up to 13 picks in 2020), the Dolphins should have the ability to trade up and select a quarterback – assuming they find a trade partner willing to give up the chance to draft one of those quarterback prospects. Not the safest of assumptions.

If they do find a trade partner, or find themselves drafting high enough to begin with, you’re right back to where you started with the plan 48 hours ago. Except now you have a potential franchise quarterback (2020 pick) with a phenomenal backup in tow.

What you don’t have is a team around that 2020 quarterback – and that’s where things can get interesting. How many of those 2020 draft picks did they have to give up to move up for their QB?

I assume they’ll be able to build their roster next year, but if 6 of those 13 picks go to the new team in 2020, what kind of roster are we going to build?

Did we not only waste Rosen’s 1 year trying to settle down the rest of our lineup, but the rookie year of our new franchise quarterback as well?

There are so many questions heading into the 2019 season. Most of us feared we would be in for a boring ride; instead, we’re all biting our fingernails hoping the Dolphins have a legitimate plan to get out of this mediocrity. For now, that plan starts with rooting for Josh Rosen.

Growing up a passionate Dolphins fan in Jets territory, Jason learned from an early age that life as a Dolphins fan wasn’t going to be easy. Previously the Sports Editor for his university newspaper, Jason has experience writing columns, creating game recaps and conducting interviews with Hall of Fame athletes (Harry Carson and Yogi Berra are two of his proudest interviews). When he’s not dissecting the latest sports news, you can find him perplexed over the Dolphins offensive line woes or involuntarily introducing music to his neighbors.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

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    Bob

    April 27, 2019 at 10:36 am

    I have read all kinds of comments about Rosen. What I have not seen are comments about two NE coaches who have developed A quick pass offence which depends on two things that the QB needs to do: reading the defence & quick release. Grant, Drake and Wilson can turn a 5 yard pass into 20 yards. If Rosen has the ability to read a defence and reach in 1,5 seconds and then throw the pigskin into the 7th row, Then you don’t even need to worry about the right side of the OL! bA weak rght OL sets up screens to that side because you have a bunch of angry, ignored, frustrated rushers who forget their roles!

    • Jason Hrina

      Jason Hrina

      May 1, 2019 at 11:20 am

      That’s a fair point, Bob. New England did thrive off of a quick-passing attack. My only concern with that is Miami also attempted to be a quick-passing offense under Adam Gase and it worked with moderate success. If we take those first 3 games (a healthy Ryan Tannehill and a somewhat decent OL) as the proper trend, Miami seemed to have pretty good success with it. If the rest of the season means more, it may show that it wasn’t as successful as we would have liked with these players. But new staff means new ideas, and it’s possible they productively utilize the quick-passing attack more. I’m hoping Wilson and Grant can come back 100% healthy as well – that would make for an exciting offense.

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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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