Once upon a time, Josh Rosen was hailed as the savior of a franchise. That was two years ago but feels like 30.
The former Arizona Cardinals first-round pick, traded to Miami last year after the selection of Kyler Murray, is now buried deep on the depth chart behind an aged, wise magician in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and another top-5, wunderkind quarterback destined to take over soon in Tua Tagovailoa.
Stuck as the caboose in a three-man train, Rosen’s prospects of seeing the field in Miami this year are thinner than deli-cut prosciutto. Yet instead of seeking a trade, wallowing in his ill-cast lot, or leaning on clichés, the former No. 10 overall pick is embracing his circumstances.
“I was drafted in the first round and I think around the league, people still think I can play to a certain extent,” he said in his first comments since Dec. 20, via the Palm Beach Post. “And just whenever that opportunity comes, where it comes, I just want to be prepared for it because they’re few and far between, and I didn’t do great with the two that I already had.
“Not many people get third chances, so I’m definitely going to seize the opportunity when it comes.”
Rosen’s first two chances didn’t come in optimal circumstances. First, in Arizona, behind a woeful offensive line and a floundering team. Then last year with a Miami squad that was stripping down the boats for spare parts. In neither case, however, did Rosen raise his play to match the difficult circumstances, improving those around him. Instead, he sunk.
The low point came last year when Dolphins head coach Brian Flores benched him for good in favor of journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick. Rosen looked lost in the offense, heaved prayers more than concise passes, allowed pressure to discombobulate throws, and couldn’t move the ball. Few, if any, questioned the move to stick with Fitzpatrick.
Now, with Tua set to take over for the future, Rosen’s prospects of ever getting a chance in Miami are seemingly over. The 23-year-old, however, is focusing only on what he can control.
“Maybe my mindset will change at some point in the future,” he said. “But I’m not really focused as much on winning a job as I am just getting better, because I feel like I’ve bounced around a little bit at this point in my career.”
According to Rosen, learning his third offense in three years has helped him adapt quicker and become a better player.
“That’s helping me get the ball out quicker than I ever have and make fast decisions and not make my offensive line look bad by holding onto the ball,” he said.
Rosen taking ownership that perhaps some of his past struggles were on him, not his surroundings, is a step in the right direction. But it’s hard to prove yourself when you’re buried so far on the depth chart during a pandemic that the reps come few and far between.
If it weren’t for the fact that he’s a former first-round pick wallowing as a third-stringer, this post wouldn’t exist. People rarely care about the third quarterback. And no one hopes he plays.
For Rosen, all he can do is improve himself daily and work on what he can do to perhaps finally hold onto the reins if he’s ever given a chance to guide another football team.
“You kind of have to treasure the moments that you’re with a 16-, 17-maybe-year vet with Fitz and a coordinator like Chan (Gailey), who’s been around the game for a long time,” Rosen said. “So I don’t really know when or where. Hopefully this year, here, I’ll get a shot to play.”
The Dolphins hope Rosen doesn’t need to see the field this year — that would mean serious injuries took place or perhaps a bevy of positive COVID-19 cases. A trade could open the door for Rosen to play elsewhere, but if it hasn’t happened by now, he shouldn’t hold his breath. Perhaps down the road, and maybe next year, circumstances will change. Rosen can only be ready this time when it does.
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