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Fitzpatrick tops Rosen on second day of Dolphins quarterback competition

By Alex Butler
Fitzpatrick tops Rosen on second day of Dolphins quarterback competition
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick competed with Jameis Winston for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' starting job last season. Photo by Alex Butler/UPI

DAVIE, May 15 (UPI) -- Ryan Fitzpatrick appeared sharper than Josh Rosen at the start of the Miami Dolphins' quarterback competition on the second day of OTAs.

The veteran gunslinger did not have an interception or a fumble when facing the Dolphins' defense during the practice Tuesday in Davie, Fla. Rosen fumbled two snaps and threw an interception on the second day of the voluntary off-season workouts at the Dolphins' training facility.

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Rosen said he didn't know what type of first impression he made on Dolphins' coaches.

"[I was] just working at everything," Rosen said. "We're repping with one's, two's and three's, so you have different centers in there. I think we're getting better step by step. I'm trying to break down this offense so I can focus more on playing football than playing against myself. I think we're getting better."

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Rosen joined the Dolphins in a trade from the Arizona Cardinals during the second day of the 2019 NFL Draft. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft was brought in a month after the Dolphins signed Fitzpatrick in free agency.

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Dolphins coach Brian Flores and others on the staff have noted leadership as one of the main qualities they are looking for when deciding which quarterback will start for the team in Week 1 and beyond. Flores previously said if Fitzpatrick were to win the competition and is the "best man" he would be "good with" the veteran gunslinger starting every week until the end of the season.

"We're looking for leadership," Flores said Tuesday. "We're looking for accuracy. We're looking for an understanding of what we're trying to do offensively from a protection standpoint, from an alignment standpoint. We're looking for guys who can consistently move the ball down the field."

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When it comes to turnovers in the past, neither Fitzpatrick nor Rosen enters the competition particularly clean. Fitzpatrick's 148 interceptions are the sixth-most among active players. He had 16 turnovers in eight games while playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.

Rosen had 24 turnovers in 14 games for the Cardinals during his rookie campaign.

Fitzpatrick said he loves competition and has had to earn every opportunity he has gotten in his 14 previous NFL seasons. He has competed in quarterbacks rooms for multiple franchises before his stop with the Dolphins, often against top NFL Draft picks.

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He said he is the type of player who leads by example, if others (like Rosen) choose to follow that example, they can. Rosen and Fitzpatrick have side-by-side spots in the Dolphins locker room. Fitzpatrick said he has gotten to spent time with Rosen outside of the Dolphins' facility and his impression of the quarterback is "so far, so good."

Rosen reminds Fitzpatrick of former Harvard classmates, due to his level of intelligence. But the former UCLA Bruins quarterback said his head is "spinning" early on in his Dolphins tenure. Rosen is getting accustomed to the logistics of moving and uprooting his life. But he said when he steps on the field, he is able to let it all go and just play football.

He said former Cardinals teammate Larry Fitzgerald has been very helpful along the way during his transition. Rosen refers to the future Hall of Famer as "Uncle Larry" and called him a friend for the rest of his life.

"It's just about making progress. No matter how big, how small, it's just about making some progress each day so that a couple weeks or months down the road, you can look up and turn around and realize you've come a pretty far way," Rosen said.

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But don't be fooled by the good relationship blossoming between Rosen and Fitzpatrick. The two competitors and backup Jake Rudock can often be seen clapping and cheering each other on while they are taking reps, but there is a battle heating up on the already blistering-hot field in Davie, Fla.

Fitzpatrick said it's hard to say if the Dolphins adding Rosen before he joined the franchise would have affected his signing with the team. The 36-year-old quarterback will continue his battle with the 22-year-old Rosen on the third day of OTAs on Thursday in Davie. The Dolphins start mandatory minicamp June 4.

"I'm here because this was an opportunity that I would have a chance to play, to compete. It was a job that was open," Fitzpatrick said.

"I know that nothing is ever going to be handed to me. I enjoy it. I enjoy being out here. I enjoy days like this. I try to get better every single day. Throughout my career, I think every year I've done that and hopefully can continue to do that."

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