Dolphins turn to Josh Rosen to right the sinking ship

Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen will start at quarterback for the Dolphins on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys as Miami tries to turn around a historically bad start.

The inept Miami Dolphins are making a change at quarterback this week in an attempt to turn around their fledgling season.

Josh Rosen becomes the 21st different quarterback to start since Marino’s retirement

Head coach Brian Flores has decided to start Josh Rosen against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started the first two games. Rosen will be the 21st different quarterback to start for Miami since Dan Marino’s retirement after the 1999 season.

It’s already been a historical season for the Dolphins for all the wrong reasons. In Week 1 against the Ravens, they gave up 59 points and lost by 49, both franchise records. Then they suffered a 43-0 shutout against the Patriots last week. Not since the 1973 New Orleans Saints has a team begun the season with a -92 point differential through the first two games.

Miami has managed to do it in an 0-2 start, with both losses coming at home, no less. No team since the 1970 merger had lost back-to-back games by 40 or more points. Only three (those Saints, the 1970 Oilers and 1990 Browns) even had two such losses over an entire season.

Josh Rosen and Dolphins continue to make history for all the wrong reasons

The NFL record for worst point differential in a season is -287 by the notoriously bad 1976 Buccaneers, who finished 0-14. Miami is already nearly a third of the way to that record after two weeks.

The performance at quarterback is one of the reasons why. Fitzpatrick is completing 50 percent of his passes so far this season and ranks last among 33 qualified quarterbacks with a 39.9 passer rating. On Sunday against New England, he threw for just 89 yards and three interceptions before being replaced by Rosen with nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. One of those turnovers, however, wasn’t his fault. The ball hit running back Kalen Ballage right in the hands before he bobbled it into the arms of Patriots linebacker Jamie Collins, who ran it back for a touchdown.

Rosen was little better, completing 7-18 passes in mop-up duty on Sunday. He also turned the ball over on the game’s final play after he was hit while attempting a pass and it landed in the arms of Collins once again. But after the game, Flores did something he was reluctant to do in training camp: he paid his young quarterback a complement.

Josh Rosen focused on driving ball down the field during Sunday’s final moments

“I thought we could have helped him out by catching a couple of those passes,” Flores said on Monday. “And look, he turned it over at the end. He could have thrown that ball away that he got dinged on. But overall when you’re in the game in that situation, it’s pass, pass, pass. You’re not really managing the game. You’re just trying to push the ball downfield to create some plays, and I thought he did a good job of that.”

Flores made the change on Thursday, but it won’t matter who calls the plays in the Dolphins huddle if the rest of the team doesn’t start playing better. The offensive line gave up seven sacks on Sunday, a consequence of the front office trading away their best tackle, Laremy Tunsil, right before the season started. The defense has allowed 102 points, last in the league, and forced only one turnover. They also got worse this week when they traded away arguably their best defensive back, Minkah Fitzpatrick.

The Dolphins are already installed as 21.5-point underdogs to the Cowboys. Rosen starting the game won’t significantly change that line. The Dolphins are in full-on tank mode, and neither quarterback is in any position to succeed. The only good news in South Florida is that the team has three first-round picks in next year’s draft and two more in the second round. They also have two first-rounders in 2021. By then, the roster will look drastically different than it does now.