Rosen and Fitzpatrick are locker room neighbors, so the questions and random conversations don’t stop flying once they leave the Miami Dolphins practice fields and meeting rooms.
“Some of the stuff he talks about reminds of some classmates I had in college a little bit, some of those topics,” Fitzpatrick said. “Sometimes not necessarily things that I want to be talking about, but he’s definitely an interesting guy.”
Rosen said he’s been trying to convince Fitzpatrick to adopt his environmental Adidas cleats made from recycled ocean plastic, but he hasn’t won him over yet. Rosen enjoys picking the brains of his teammates, and Fitzpatrick is no exception.
Even if the Dolphins quarterbacks click this offseason, the nature of their position battle means competitive tension will stay in that room until a Week 1 starter is named.
In our first glimpse of that battle during Tuesday’s organized team activities, Fitzpatrick looks like the early leader as he took most of the first-team reps and had the better day. Rosen, meanwhile, struggled early on.
There is a 14-year age difference between Fitzpatrick and Rosen, so it’s natural to wonder whether the veteran will mentor the second-year quarterback. It doesn’t seem like that responsibility will be pushed on Fitzpatrick.
“I try to prepare the best way I can prepare and do things that have gotten me where I’m at in my career, and if guys choose to view that as an example and follow it, they can,” Fitzpatrick said. “If they don’t, they can do whatever they want.”
Dolphins coach Brian Flores added: “I expect Ryan to compete for the starting position. I expect him to lead from the quarterback room, but really the entire offense. Obviously he has a wealth of knowledge and a lot of experience. Again, there is competition but at the same time, we’re trying to build a team.”
Rosen admitted he’s playing catch-up after moving from Arizona to Florida a few weeks ago. He’s learning a new playbook and other nuances — like finding the bathroom at the Dolphins facility.
It’s also been a hectic offseason for Rosen, who said Tuesday on the “Rich Eisen Show” that Cardinals general manager Steve Keim didn’t speak to him for months leading up to the draft and hasn’t reached out since the trade to Miami. Rosen also said he didn’t know the Cardinals’ draft plans until Arizona coach Kliff Kingsbury called him one minute before the pick to let him know they were selecting Kyler Murray.
The first Fitzpatrick vs. Rosen evaluation open to the media took place on Tuesday, which was a steady mix of 7-on-7 drills and smaller position-group sessions. Flores acknowledged it is way too early to make a starting quarterback decision, but he listed a few key traits that will ultimately decide the winner.
“We’re looking for leadership. We’re looking for accuracy,” Flores said. “We’re looking for an understanding of what we’re trying to do offensively from a protection standpoint, from an alignment standpoint. We’re looking for guys who can consistently move the ball down the field.”
This is a battle that will likely last deep into the summer, but early signs indicate Rosen will need his talent and upside to rise above Fitzpatrick’s experience and command.
Fitzpatrick ran the starting offense and manned that role throughout practice. He looked in control and showed consistent accuracy, particularly in the short and intermediate areas of the field.
Fitzpatrick acknowledged he signed with the Dolphins primarily because of the opportunity to start, yet he’s embracing the competition from Rosen.
Rosen’s day didn’t go as smoothly. It began with three mishandled under-center snaps, in a short span, between he and undrafted free agent center Ryan Anderson. Coaches made Rosen and Anderson run to a nearby wall before returning to drills as a form of discipline for the poor plays. They eventually cleaned up their mistakes.
As the Dolphins transitioned to 7-on-7 drills, Rosen threw the first interception of the day to linebacker Sam Eguavoen. The young quarterback made a handful of inaccurate passes, but was hurt by some bad routes and drops.
It wasn’t all bad for Rosen, who improved as practice went on. He flashed his arm talent with some quick-trigger passes and a couple of deep balls, and showed some nifty pocket presence when pressure got to him.
The Dolphins kicked off Week 1 of OTAs on Monday, and they have another session on Thursday. There are three Dolphins practice sessions every week concluding with mandatory minicamp, June 4-6.