The South Florida sun was shining especially bright Tuesday morning in Davie in a scorcher of a practice. As the days before Week 1 dwindle, the interest level of this Miami Dolphins team has only spiked. With a team that has so many new faces, added veterans and rookies are combining for nearly half the roster.
The full Week 1 roster will be comprised of a slew of former top 50 NFL draft picks, and a handful of undrafted free agents and/or castaways slash overlooked players, who are ready to make a case for themselves as viable NFL contributors.
Leading off the presser was case-in-point third year quarterback and second year Dolphin, Josh Rosen. The former Cardinal was acquired by Miami in the 2018 Draft in a deal with Arizona. A rocky 2019, and a battle lost to Ryan Fitzpatrick, sent Rosen on an off-season of soul searching in addition to improving his craft. "I did a mirror reality check," after his benching last season he said.
He added, "I am a lot more comfortable behind center this year than I was last year." Rosen talks about his preparation and study, saying “I am walking up to the line of scrimmage with a plan.”
He attributes that to an intellectual and experienced quarterback room to go with the talent. "You have to treasure the moments that you are with a 16-17-year vet with Fitz." He spoke about the overall knowledge of coordinator Chan Gailey and quarterbacks coach Robby Brown saying, "it's a really awesome Atmosphere; I have learned a ton. I think its been working."
When asked about the obvious, being the drafting of Tua Tagovailoa, Rosen was spot-on. "I mean it is what it is...I have to come out and compete as hard as I can,” he said with palpable awareness. "Hopefully, I get the nod in the future." Rosen was saying everything correct, and it seems the young signal-caller took a quantum leap over the winter, especially in the mental aspects of this game.
To add to his credit, when asked about his reasoning on moving forward and not reacting to the Tua drafting with a trade demand, Rosen was diplomatic once again. His answer said a lot more than the words held, which is a very good thing if you are rooting for him to succeed.
"Hopefully, I get a shot to play; I am just focusing on preparing for that shot,” he stated.
"We'll see what the future holds. I am focused on my development."
Following Rosen was free agent offensive lineman Ereck Flowers, who was a former 9th overall pick by the New York Giants in 2015. Flowers spent three plus seasons in New York until the Jacksonville Jaguars acquired him mid-season in 2018. After a 16-game started season for Washington in 2019, Flowers brings his five years of experience to an offensive line that is desperate for mentorship and more importantly, consistency.
Flowers has been a noticeable leader for the Dolphins and has been a valuable resource for the rookie offensive line trio of Austin Jackson, Solomon Kindley and Robert Hunt. Discussing the rookies in the room, Flowers said, “It’s kinda crazy man.…it’s crazy looking at this young guys.” He adds, “it’s been cool. All of them are open-minded all are trying to get better; I am just doing what I can.”
Flowers certainly has the size, at 6-6 343 lbs. the Miami Norland High School standout and Hurricane to boot, is a hometown hero and back in his comfortable surroundings in South Florida. Talking about his return and coming full circle, Flowers says, “Yea, it’s crazy because down here, I grew up going to the Dolphins camps.”
He adds, “I grew up around it the whole time, from UM football to the Dolphins. It’s pretty crazy being able to play all three levels where you are from. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.”
Next up was wide-receiver Jakeem Grant, who was as engaging as he was confident in his ability to do whatever is needed for this team. A receiver first, as he preached above being a return man, regardless of what he is called on to do he will inevitably run with it. He said, “"I am ready to take on any role they have for me."
Grant, who can play in multiple areas on the field as a pass catcher, could be a slot-role candidate for this team with the opting out of Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson. “I’ve played the slot my whole life,” Grant said with bravado.
Whether he is running across the middle or outside of the numbers, Grant is as likable as he is lightning. Speaking of lightning, that component of the Miami backfield in newly acquired Matt Breida, may have competition for the “Fastest Fin” title.
“I’m gonna say it every single time…I am,” Grant said. "If he want to race, it's nothing."
The likability and laughs continued as Grant shed some family feud info on faux-uncle DeVante Parker. The duo seem to enjoy joking about their weigh-ins, as “Nephew,” is closing in on the Mendoza line. “I am definitely not 200…I am close to 200 though man, I am getting there."
Back-tracking to “The Race,” in which there is responsibility on this website to promote and egg-on, I leave you with Jakeem’s challenge to Breida.
“You’re not gonna beat me bro...just telling you.”
You can follow Jason on Twitter @OrangeAquaman and on YouTube on The Fin Addicts Network