DAVIE, Fla. — It’s Josh Rosen time in Miami.
Dolphins coach Brian Flores decided to make a quarterback switch ahead of Sunday’s game at the Dallas Cowboys, naming Rosen his starting quarterback, a league source confirmed. The move sends veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the team’s first two games, to the bench.
Rosen will be the 21st quarterback to start for the Dolphins since Dan Marino retired in 2000. Only Cleveland (29) and Chicago (23) have had more QBs to start a game for them during that span.
The Dolphins have also claimed defensive end Taco Charlton off waivers from the Cowboys.
Charlton, a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2017, was waived by Dallas on Wednesday after asking for his trade or release. Miami claiming him saves Dallas from having to pay out $1.6 million in guaranteed base salary in 2019 and 2020.
Both the Rosen and Charlton moves fall in line with the Dolphins’ plans to collect lower-priced assets to evaluate whether they can play a long-term role for the team as it rebuilds.
Flores was asked every day he spoke this week about his starting quarterback, and he reiterated that Fitzpatrick was his starter “right now.” That contingency showed the team was deliberating on an eventual change after scoring just 10 combined points over its first two games.
Rosen split starter reps with Fitzpatrick this week in practice. He also appeared in garbage time in both of the Dolphins’ blowout losses to start the season, completing just 38.1% of his pass attempts (8 of 21) for 102 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The quarterback switch seemed imminent; it was just unclear when Miami would make the final decision.
Nothing is more important for the Dolphins over the next 7 ½ months than figuring out their long-term quarterback plan. Rosen, despite extremely tough circumstances, now has a chance to make his case to the coaching staff and front office that he can be the answer.
Rosen has received praise from the Miami coaching staff for how he has performed in practice over the past few weeks as a backup. His biggest hindrance was familiarity and comfort in the offense, and he appears to have closed the gap in that area enough to be named the starter.
Massive struggles from the NFL’s worst-ranked offense and four interceptions (including two pick-sixes) from Fitzpatrick helped make the decision easier for Miami. It’s a youth movement for the Dolphins, and now the changes are at quarterback, too.
NFL Network was the first to report Rosen starting Sunday.
Rosen, a 2018 first-round pick, was traded from Arizona to Miami during 2019 draft weekend for a late second-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick after the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray at No. 1 in the 2019 draft.
Rosen went 3-10 in 13 starts last season, completing 55% of his passes for 2,278 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He played behind a struggling offensive line and a one-and-done coaching staff. Circumstances for Miami’s offensive talent after the ongoing roster teardown won’t be much better.
Rosen hoped Miami would give him a “second chance to make a first impression,” as he said earlier this spring. Although Fitzpatrick won the initial QB job, Rosen has the starting job now.
Charlton has four career sacks in 27 games (seven starts), but he couldn’t find a role in Dallas’ defensive line rotation this season, leaving him inactive for the first two games. He was waived to make room for defensive end Robert Quinn, who was activated after a two-game suspension. After picking up Charlton, Miami waived offensive lineman Bryan Witzmann in a corresponding move.
The Dolphins also claimed defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche, a 2016 first-round pick cut by Arizona this summer, as a reclamation projection. He is on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from his ACL surgery.
The moves — particularly the quarterback change — bring a burst for energy for a Dolphins team that has been outscored 102-10 over the first two weeks.