The return of football is always a welcome sight, perhaps now more than ever before. An arduous offseason is in the books and everyone's favorite time of year is on the precipice. August in Miami means heat, humidity, hitting and hard decisions made in order to trim the roster down to 53 in time for Week 1.
In this training camp preview, we're going position-by-position giving you a glimpse into every member of the Miami Dolphins roster. We'll cover all the angles including who the players are on the field and off of it.
On today's docket, the quarterbacks, in order of jersey number.
Tua Tagovailoa – Rookie
Opening Day Age: 22
By now, we know all about Tua Tagovailoa’s collegiate successes. The national champion, Heisman Trophy runner-up and the most efficient passer in the history of the NCAA arrives in Miami to continue the theme of a quarterback room chock full of talent, leadership and plenty of fanfare.
Excelling under three different offensive coordinators in college, Tagovailoa helped transform the Crimson Tide from a classic smashmouth outfit to an aerial display the likes of which college football had not seen before. He's deadly accurate, anticipates receivers opening up and processes the pass rush and potential leaks with urgency and purpose.
"[Tagovailoa] fit a lot of the criteria we talk about at the quarterback position," Head Coach Brain Flores said at his post-draft press conference. "Good player, good person, leadership qualities. We're very happy with the pick."
Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban dropped by the Drive Time Podcast to talk about his former quarterback.
The veteran of the room, Ryan Fitzpatrick, offered up his excitement for what Tagovailoa brings and his wisdom to the rookie and the rest of the quarterback room.
"I'm an open book and try to make sure that they know and are comfortable with coming to me with questions," Fitzpatrick said in May. "I'm also going to express my opinions and thoughts on plays that we are watching and 2-minute drives. We've been going over some of that stuff, and my mind and the process and how I think through it, right or wrong, just to provide some perspective. I'm excited for him to be here. I loved watching him play in college. I think he's going to be an awesome addition to the team for a long time."
Josh Rosen – 2 accrued seasons (2nd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 23
The Dolphins quarterback room features a little bit of everything. Josh Rosen gives Miami another top 10 pick under the age of 25, as well as a cerebral student of the game. The 2019 season was one of progress and development for the young quarterback.
"[Rosen] is expected to come in, learn the offense and develop the way he has developed over the latter part of the season," Flores said as his media availability at this year's NFL Scouting Combine. "He'll get an opportunity to compete and get better every day."
Whether it was his debut in Dallas or last year's training camp, tangible progress was apparent. Regardless of the offensive success on any given play or series, Rosen provided encouragement and leadership. He attacked downfield with aggressiveness and accuracy, showcasing the traits that made him the 10th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Rosen's workmanlike demeanor last season earned the respect of the most experienced veteran in the quarterback room in Ryan Fitzpatrick.
"He's always here before 6 o'clock and he's always here late when we're watching film and whatever else," Fitzpatrick said. "Josh is putting in the time and I think right now, too, he's doing a lot of listening and a lot of observing and I think that's really important at this point; but part of it is just immersing himself in it and being around early morning, late at night, and he's doing a nice job of being in here and really showing that he wants to be in here. He wants to learn. He wants to do all the right things."
Ryan Fitzpatrick – 15 accrued seasons (2nd in MIA)
Opening Day Age: 37
Fitzpatrick told South Florida media that he felt he was playing the best ball of his career prior to the start of the 2019 season. The statistics from 2018 confirm his assertion while the 2019 film and metrics corroborate the veteran's claim.
After rejoining the lineup in Week 6 against Washington, Fitzpatrick was the 10th-highest graded quarterback according to Pro Football Focus. Over that time, thegalvanizing leader of the Dolphins offense threw for 181 first downs – second most in the league. His 3,226 passing yards during that period ranked third behind only Jameis Winston and Dak Prescott.
Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing and scored on scramble plays four times. PFF credited Fitzpatrick with 35 non-designed QB runs, tied for most over that 12-week period (Gardner Minshew and Deshaun Watson). He consistently made plays outside of the structure of the offense extending plays and creating an exciting highlight reel punctuated by must-see celebrations.
"I think [Fitzpatrick] did a good job, a really good job last year," Flores said at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine. "His leadership was something that really helped us a year ago."
That leadership is beneficial both on the field and in a mentor role for the younger quarterbacks on the roster. Fitzpatrick spoke about his position as the elder statesman in the room during a virtual press conference in May.
"I'm an open book and try to make sure that [the other quarterbacks] know and are comfortable with coming to me with questions," Fitzpatrick said. "I'm also going to express my opinions and thoughts on plays that we are watching and 2-minute drives. We've been going over some of that stuff, and my mind and the process and how I think through it, right or wrong, just to provide some perspective."
Fitzpatrick's performance wasn't exclusive to making plays off-script. He delivered dime after dime by recognizing the defensive look and where the soft spot was to attack. Accordingly, Fitzpatrick would often throw the football to a spot and rely on his play makers to finish the job. Per PFF, the Dolphins quarterback completed 67.1 percent of throws when the ball came out in under 2.5 seconds with 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, to boot.
Fitzpatrick, in his illustrious 15-year career, has thrown for 32,886 yards and 210 touchdowns.