There has been an air of entitlement that's been a smudge on Josh Rosen the football player since his teenage years.
It started when he was an Elite 11 quarterback prospect, grew legs during his UCLA days, and followed him to the professional ranks where some teams didn't even have him on their draft board - not because of his talent - but because of his perceived personality.
There's been plenty said about Rosen, but little of it is from people who have directly interacted with him.
My plan is to give 22-year-old the same benefit of doubt I gave Reggie Bush back in 2011, when the Dolphins traded for him. Bush had a similar prima donna reputation too, but being around him regularly taught me that he was nothing like his perceived public image, and to this day I still consider Bush one of the best leaders on any of the Dolphins teams I've covered this past decade.
Rosen seemingly wants to shed this entitled, arrogant label that has followed him. The Dolphins can help him achieve that goal by making him begin his South Florida tenure as the team's backup.
Not the "pretend backup" we're waiting to anoint and call a franchise quarterback stuff. A legitimate backup who gets limited reps with the starters until he earns it by actually making the team's unit second thrive, and outshines veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.
His teammates would respect that.
The Dolphins shouldn't gift a starting job to Rosen like this franchise has typically done for every promising young quarterback since Chad Pennington played for the team.
The Dolphins need to take the same approach with Rosen they took with Jarvis Landry, Laremy Tunsil, Xavien Howard, Reshad Jones and Cameron Wake, the franchise best players this past decade - who all had to earn their way into the starting lineup after beginning their pro careers as backups.
Fitzpatrick, a 14-year veteran, has probably forgotten more about the NFL game than Rosen knows, but shouldn't a top-10 talent in the 2018 draft clearly outshine a 36-year-old quarterback whose been know as gunslinger and mainly been a backup most of his career?
Stellar practices, and sharp performances in the exhibition season from a top-10 talent shouldn't be an unrealistic bar for Rosen, who the Dolphins traded a 2019 second and fifth-round pick to acquire after the Arizona Cardinals needed to unload him because they selected last year's Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray with the first pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
If Rosen's play is even with Fitzpatrick, it's totally acceptable to anoint him the starter then.
But the worst thing Miami can do is hand Rosen a starting job he didn't learn, just like they did with Ryan Tannehill, who didn't "win" the starting quarterback job in 2012.
Most have probably forgotten that David Garrard was playing better than Tannehill, a first-round selection that year, during their training camp competition, but lost the spot because of a knee injury he suffered playing with his son a day before the exhibition opener.
The Dolphins played Tannehill off the bench against Tampa Bay in his first preseason game, and he was decent (79.9 passer rating) - not spectacular. Matt Moore, the team's MVP from the previous season, started the game, played in a hailstorm and struggled. The next week the job was given to Tannehill after a fairly even week of practices.
I'm not naive, the deck will be heavily stacked in Rosen's favor because of his age, marketing appeal and upside, which is the most intoxicating and poisonous combination in professional sports.
There is no future in riding the Fitzpatrick train, but what if the old man can do what Pennington did in 2008, and galvanize what most expect will be a bad team?
The players on this purged roster deserve for the franchise to put its best foot forward, and it is too early to conclude that foot belongs to Rosen, who produced a 66.7 passer rating during his 13 NFL starts, which made him arguably the worst starting quarterback in the league last season.
The hope is that Rosen improves, that his intellect, his curiosity, his rookie struggles, and the arm talent everyone praises allows him to shine and there is no quarterback battle.
The dream is he will become the Dolphins' franchise quarterback.
But if we ever want this entitlement talk that surrounds Rosen to end, if he's to ever earn the respect of the locker room, he needs to face a legitimate camp battle where the deck isn't stacked in his favor, and he actually wins the starting job.
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