Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

Dolphins Bench Fitzpatrick, Will Start Rosen

The Miami Dolphins are off to the worst start in DVOA history. Now they are benching Ryan Fitzpatrick, the worst quarterback so far this season. In his place they will start Josh Rosen, who is fresh off the worst single-season passing DYAR on record. (Postseason adjustments nudged him past David Carr's 2002 for that title.)

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9 comments, Last at 22 Sep 2019, 12:29am

3 Right move. Timing wise,…

Right move. Timing wise, maybe they should have waited until the Washington game to make the change, skipping the Dallas and San Diego games, but whatever. The thinking might be "we can't win the next two, but get Rosen some reps and maybe we take the Washington game".

This assumes the coaching staff wants to win a game sometime this year, which I'm absolutely sure they do. For all the talk here (and elsewhere) about the fish tank, there is absolutely no way Brian Flores wants to go 0-for in his first season as a head coach.

Or maybe the thinking is, if Rosen looks good, we can trade him for more draft picks. Not that I see any way Rosen could look good if they run out the same set of receivers they fielded against NE.

4 I've been wondering if the…

I've been wondering if the quality of Miami's O-line was bad enough that it would make sense for Rosen to demand a trade to protect his health (he already had two concussions in college.)  Theoretically starting him is a way to preemptively shut down such a trade request.

7 Not only is there no way…

Not only is there no way Flores and the players want to go 0-16 or even lose a single game, but the very fact Rosen is in the roster sticks out like a sore thumb against the tanking theories. If the goal were to go 0-16, the last thing you want to do is bring in a talented young QB who could turn out to be good. I mean, you trade a young struggling DB to safeguard the tank but you hang on to a top-10 pick QB who a lot of people like? Not that draft position hasn't factored in the trades, it surely has. But most people agree the Dolphins have won each of those trades. I think they were made because they were too good to pass up, not because 0-16 is the goal.

9 Dynamic situation

I think you're on top of this, good job!  In particular, no one associated with the Fins wants to lose every game, and the trades were good in isolation. 

What I don't understand is why the Dolphins traded for Rosen and then started Fitzpatrick.  IMO the Rosen trade was not made to nudge the team to lose (you nailed it) was made to gain a low cost chance to see whether the team needed to try to Tank For Tua at all or rather whether Rosen could be the long term solution at QB at a lower cost than a high first round pick.  To implement that plan, you need to start Rosen.  Perhaps management decided to take a short peek at whether they actually could compete for a playoff spot by starting Fitzpatrick and hoping for his up cycle, and now has seen the results after two weeks and decided to get on with the Rosen Experiment.  That move was accelerated by the Other Fitzpatrick's trade demand and the Too Good To Pass Up offer for Tunsil.

I admit that part of me wants to see the Dolphins fail as karmic payback for Flores' public taunting of Kenny Stills by playing eight Jay-Z songs in a row.  If the Dolphins lose their first eight games, the team should play Beck's "Loser" eight times in a row.