New Miami Dolphins assistant coach Chad O’Shea has at least 22 years of college and NFL coaching experience under his belt, including the last nine years grooming wide receivers for the New England Patriots.
However, for the first time in his career, he will be an NFL offensive coordinator. And he will ultimately determine who emerges from the Dolphins’ starting quarterback competition.
That challenge could be daunting for O’Shea, considering the last quarterback he has primarily worked with in a football practice was Tom Brady — the six-time Super Bowl champion and one of the greatest players to ever play the position.
But there will be a deciding factor O’Shea will consider when determining if second-year quarterback Josh Rosen or 14-year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick should lead the offense next season.
“I think the first thing is a leader,” said O’Shea, one of 13 Dolphins assistant coaches to meet with media Thursday. “You want someone who they see as their leader. You want somebody to be the ambassador of your program — a flag bearer, basically.
“Somebody that you trust to carry on the message of what your vision is from coach [Brian Flores], from the offensive staff thorough the team, so I think leadership is very important.”
It’s been two weeks since the Dolphins acquired Rosen on a draft-day trade on April 26, and roughly two months since Fitzpatrick signed as a free agent with Miami.
Both moves were made after the Dolphins parted ways with seven-year starter Ryan Tannehill, who was traded to the Tennessee Titans.
Fitzpatrick was initially positioned to help the Dolphins as a part-time starter and bridge the gap before attaining their quarterback of the future — possibly in the 2020 NFL draft.
With Rosen in the mix, the Dolphins may have already found that quarterback.
But only time, and Rosen’s performance on the field in his second NFL season, will determine that notion.
“Josh, within the short period of time we’ve had to work with him, he’s come in and really worked hard,” O’Shea said. “He’s tried to come in and learn the offense as much as he can. He’s done a good job in that area, and he’s got a long way to go, as do our players.
“I think the goal for him is to work hard, put the team first, and try to improve every day — no different than any of our other players.”
O’Shea will not be alone in the decision-making process of Miami’s next starter.
New quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, who coached Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford, will have input. Assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, who spent the last six seasons with the Patriots in the same role assisting Brady, will have some say, too.
After all, both Caldwell and Schuplinski will work primarily with the quarterbacks as O’Shea oversees the entire offense under Flores’ direction.
Rosen is trying to prove his rookie season in Arizona was a fluke, where offensive-line issues and lack of playmakers outside of receiver Larry Fitzgerald were contributing factors to his performance.
Rosen completed just 55.2% of his passes with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He had a woeful 66.7 quarterback rating in 13 starts, posting a 3-10 record. By the time last season ended, Rosen was already working with his second offensive coordinator.
“He’s got a clean slate here,” Caldwell said of Rosen, who was traded after the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray with the first pick in the 2019 draft.
“He’s in a new system with a different group of guys. We’re looking forward.”
Fitzpatrick is joining his eighth NFL team after the last three seasons as Jameis Winston’s counterpart with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He still believes he can re-create the “FitzMagic” he delivered when he threw for more than 400 yards with 11 touchdowns in the first three games before losing the starting job last season.
“I think it’s important we have players on our roster that have dealt with adversity and have mental toughness to push through,” O’Shea said of his quarterbacks.
“I think we have some guys in the room that are going to have some mental toughness. I really do.”