When and where: August 16, 2019, Raymond Jones Stadium, Tampa, FL, 7:30 PM ET
The Miami Dolphins will try to make it two straight preseason wins when visiting their Florida brethren Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday. After seeing quarterback Josh Rosen take most of the snaps in the opener, it could be time for the Dolphins to roll out veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Buccaneers’ defense. Will another “FitzMagic” moment be unleashed at Raymond Jones Stadium?
Should the Buccaneers still believe in Winston?
The good news for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is he won’t have any legitimate quarterback competition in 2019. Are you really expecting Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert to suddenly emerge as the long-sought answer in Tampa Bay?
Yeah, me neither.
However, the bad news for the Buccaneers is also Winston not having any legitimate quarterback competition in 2019. The situation has devolved into some strange marriage where one side is happy, while the other barely clings to a deteriorating situation.
No one really wants to hear about how good Winston looked after getting a few preseason snaps. The true test will come when he steps back onto the field for multiple drives against first-team defenses.
With that said, I’m not just going to gloss over the fact that Griffin threw for 330 yards and one touchdown in the preseason opener. I’m also not going to fawn over it when the end result came against the Steelers’ reserve defense. Griffin is a veteran NFL player in an offense that lacks a running game and loves to throw the football. So no, I’m not surprised.
The Bucs and Dolphins have been getting after it in joint practices. Head coach Bruce Arians was pleased with Winston’s performance.
“Another solid day [for Winston],” said Arians. “Great drive in the two-minute, great catch by O.J. [He] learned some stuff; he had a miscommunication on a route that was an interception. It wasn’t either guy’s fault, it was just something new that we put in. Same thing with that last 30-second one – a brand-new play. We’ve never really done it but in a walk-through, so I don’t get upset with that. I thought he had a really good day.”
Will Fitzpatrick get his turn?
A year after nearly putting Jameis Winston out of a job, Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to Raymond Jones Stadium to play against his former team. The Dolphins quarterback went 2-of-5 in limited action in the preseason opener with the brunt of the work against the Atlanta Falcons going to Josh Rosen, who went 13-of-20 for 191 yards and one touchdown.
Fitzpatrick began training camp in the lead for the starting job for the Dolphins, but Rosen is quickly beginning to close the gap. One would assume the veteran will have an opportunity to respond. What better venue to do so than where he took the “FitzMagic” character to new heights?
Update: (8/14/19): On Wednesday, Rosen received all the work with the first-team offense. The Fins will play Tampa Bay on Friday and their defensive coordinator is Todd Bowles, the former Jets head coach.
“We just wanted to get him some looks with obviously our first team, but Todd does a really good job in Tampa,” head coach Brian Flores said. “I wanted to see (Rosen) against that group and some of the exotic looks that his first team is giving us. That’s really it. Fitz (Ryan Fitzpatrick) saw it yesterday. We wanted Josh to see it today and that’s really what that was. … Trying to see everything was a little bit tough, but from what I saw, I thought he had a good day and he’s headed in the right direction.”
However, it does look like it’s Fitzpatrick’s job to lose. He could get the start on Friday but Rosen should see most of the action as he did last week. Wide receiver Preston Williams and tight end Mike Gesicki, should also see a lot of action.
“When you’re a young player in this league, in training camp, your opportunities, you don’t get very many. We’re working a lot of guys, we tried to take a period there where we’re working that group and they’re getting those reps that they need to develop.
“Ultimately, that’s what this is about,” Flores continued. “We’re trying to rep young players, give them an opportunity to show what they can do. And if they do a good job with those reps, we’ll give them more.”
Even if the Buccaneers didn’t make the playoffs, there was always a different energy about the team whenever Fitzpatrick was on the field. Can he do something similar with the Dolphins on Friday? More importantly, can he keep the momentum going if he breaks out?
The Dolphins finished 2018 in second place in the AFC East division behind the New England Patriots. They opened the preseason up last week with a win over the Atlanta Falcons.
- Buccaneers are 0-5 ATS away off SU dog win.
- Buccaneers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games on grass.
- Dolphins are 30-22 ATS as a dog in preseason.