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AFC East offseason update: Dolphins relying on Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick

This is the third of a three-part series reviewing what the rest of the AFC East did during the offseason.

The Miami Dolphins are widely projected to be the worst team in the NFL this season, with an unsettled situation at quarterback and a dearth of playmakers on defense.

Josh Rosen, acquired in a trade from Arizona, becomes the third quarterback in the AFC East who was drafted in the first round in 2018, joining Josh Allen and Sam Darnold. But he disappointed in his lone season with the Cardinals and has yet to earn the starting job over veteran journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick.

New head coach Brian Flores, a former Patriots assistant and defensive play-caller, was hired to replace Adam Gase, who remains in the division as head coach of the Jets.

That adds a level of intrigue to the AFC East rivalries. But it could be a long season in Miami.

Here's the rundown:

Key additions: TE Dwayne Allen (FA, Patriots), QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (FA, Buccaneers), QB Josh Rosen (T, Cardinals), CB Eric Rowe (FA, Patriots), DT Christian Wilkins (1st round, Clemson).

Key subtractions: WR Danny Amendola, RB Frank Gore, OT Ja'Wuan James, G Josh Sitton, QB Ryan Tannehill, DE Cameron Wake.

Games against the Bills: Oct. 20 at New Era Field; Nov. 17 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Schedule overview: Miami opens the season with four consecutive games against playoff teams from 2018, with home matchups against the Ravens and Patriots and a trip to Dallas before hosting the Chargers. The Dolphins have a bye in Week 5, followed by a home game against Washington. While four of Miami’s first five games are at home, three of its final four are on the road, with December trips to face the Jets, Giants and a rematch with the Patriots, which closes the regular season. The Dolphins visit Buffalo in Week 7 and host the Bills in Week 11.

What to expect on offense: Ryan Tannehill is now the backup QB in Tennessee, and the Dolphins will start either Fitzpatrick or Rosen, acquired for a second-round pick after last season posting the lowest quarterback rating of any passer to appear in at least eight games. Miami has to hope Rosen develops into the franchise QB he was expected to be when Arizona selected him with the 10th overall pick in 2018. Otherwise, the Dolphins are looking at drafting a QB in 2020.

What to expect on defense: Under Flores and new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, the Dolphins are hoping to confuse opponents with a hybrid defense that at least occasionally employs a 3-4 front, and perhaps use the nickel as its base. Is 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris a defensive end or linebacker? Is 2018 first-round pick Minkah Fitzpatrick a safety or corner? Miami hopes to spin this uncertainty into a strength. The Dolphins used a 2019 first-round pick on defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, selected 13th overall, after allowing nearly 400 yards of offense per game last season and ranking second-worst in the NFL against the run.

What it all means: The Dolphins are rebuilding and look like the worst team in the AFC East, if not the league. The roster is riddled with question marks, including at the quarterback position, and the new coaching staff is in the early stages of trying to get this franchise back on track. It’ll be no surprise if Miami end ups drafting in the top five come April.

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