The Miami Dolphins may be hearing the outside noise more than the Washington Redskins this week.
The Redskins are 0-5, just fired their coach Jay Gruden, and may not have expected to be in this position where they could reset their franchise heading into their Week 6 matchup against the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.
Sunday’s battle between winless teams has been considered as a must-lose game for the Dolphins, who are in the midst of an extensive rebuilding process, where drafting a first-round quarterback, seems like the end-goal.
The Dolphins may not have expected this much competition for the prize they ultimately covet: The No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL draft, where Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is the presumed favorite to be selected first overall.
In the interim, both teams already have quarterbacks in tow with untapped potential.
Whether they get a chance to truly live up to it is another story.
The Dolphins may or may not get to see Redskins rookie Dwayne Haskins, the quarterback who Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and coach Brian Flores passed over in the 2019 NFL draft, during Sunday’s game.
“He’s gonna be ready. Who knows? You never know,” Redskins interim coach Bill Callahan said of Haskins during a conference call Wednesday shortly before the NFL Network reported veteran quarterback Case Keenum is expected to return to his starting role.
Instead of drafting Haskins, who was considered the second-best quarterback in the draft behind Arizona Cardinals’ top pick Kyler Murray, the Dolphins went in another direction.
Miami used their No. 13 pick to select defensive tackle Christian Wilkins to fortify their defense. Haskins fell two spots later to Washington. And the Dolphins traded for second-year quarterback Josh Rosen, who was no longer needed in Arizona.
The Dolphins may be 0-4 and off to one of the worst starts in NFL history, but they have begun a thorough evaluation of Rosen’s potential in the second year of his NFL career.
He just hopes it will be worth his while, despite Miami’s intentions to create future competition at the quarterback position.
“I don’t think about it too much but I’m aware of it and the way that I’m sort of approaching this year is I feel like I’m really just trying out for the team,” Rosen said on Wednesday.
“I feel like I’m auditioning and I’m trying to put my best foot forward and prove to everyone upstairs and coach Flo and Mr. Grier that I’m the man moving forward.
Rosen will start his third straight game for the Dolphins, after seizing the job from 15-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick after Miami’s 0-2 start. He helped Miami score their second touchdown of the season against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4, giving the Dolphins their first lead of the season.
But his statistics overall have not been ideal, on par with the Dolphins’ season.
Rosen has completed just 51.2% of his passes for 482 yards. He has three interceptions. He’s been sacked 11 times. And is now 3-12 as a starter in the NFL.
“I like where Josh is,” Flores said. “I think he’s improving on a week-to-week basis. I think he’s a young talented player, and I think he needs to get in there and develop, get reps and just improve.”
There were concerns about Haskins – who threw 50 touchdowns and completed 70% of his passes last year at Ohio State – being able reach the potential he showed during his first season as a starter in college in the NFL.
That was one aspect of Haskins’ profile that concerned the Dolphins among other NFL teams, resulting to his draft position and landing in Washington.
There were also reports of differing stances within the Redskins organization on Haskins where some personnel members preferred New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, who was surprisingly taken with the sixth overall pick.
Even Gruden had his concerns, refusing to play Haskins early this season because he felt the rookie quarterback was not yet ready to handle the NFL stage.
Haskins’ debut could have been an indication, as he finished 9 of 17 for 107 yards with three interceptions after being thrust into action replacing Keenum, who suffered a foot injury in the second quarter against the Giants on Sept. 29.
“He’s just adapting to the pro game. I think he’s going through that adaptation process,” Callahan said of Haskins. “He’s making strides. It’s going to take some time. We’re not in a rush to put him on the field.”
Added Flores on Haskins: “(He’s) very talented, big arm, gifted. He had a great year a year ago. He’s just a talented player, a very talented player. I watched a lot of his film. We may not see him this week. We’re trying to get ready for everyone, but I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him.”
If the Redskins ultimately go back to Keenum or former Texas standout Colt McCoy, who started last week, Haskins could be the odd man out for Sunday’s game in Miami.
It could save the Dolphins from getting a first-hand account of what they missed out on, or were lucky to avoid if they drafted Haskins last April.
But only time will truly tell whether the Dolphins made the right decision, basically choosing Rosen over Haskins, or another future quarterback over the both of them.
Rosen is trying to make the most of his opportunity to prove himself – while it lasts.
“It’s a different circumstance than what other quarterbacks are put in, but it’s the one I’ve been given and I’m taking it in full stride,” Rosen said. “I’m excited to hopefully prove over these next 12 more weeks that I’m their guy moving forward.”
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