DAVIE, Fla. -- In the week after coach Brian Flores named Ryan Fitzpatrick the clear leader in the Miami Dolphins' open quarterback competition, Josh Rosen responded just like any good competitor: he punched back.
Rosen capped off his best week of practice as a Dolphin with a solid performance in the team's simulated scrimmage Saturday. Fitzpatrick, the wily veteran, saw his performance drop off some after a scorching-hot spring and first week of training camp.
It was a clear sign the QB battle is still open and Rosen won't go quietly.
"He's made some improvement really across the board," Flores said of Rosen. "It's things a lot of people don't see. Better footwork, better mechanics in the pocket, better decision-making. A lot of people see the touchdown pass but they don't see the checkdown that's a positive play. He just picked up the first down instead of firing into coverage. Checking to a run instead of throwing a pass into a bad look. Checking to a pass instead of running to a bad look. There are things that the normal person watching may not see. I think he's improved in those areas. Those are the little things that go a long way in the competition."
This competition won't be decided until Flores sees both quarterbacks in preseason action, and the pair's first chance to do that comes Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Saturday's simulated scrimmage saw the offense struggle to get out of its own way. Fitzpatrick and Rosen both called the team's offensive performances "too sloppy," but vowed to clean it up.
"I wish we could've been a little more consistent," Fitzpatrick said. "We'll go as I go. I've got to do a better job than I did today."
Rosen had a few highlight plays including a beautiful 40-yard pass that landed right in the bread basket of impressive UDFA receiver Preston Williams, who connected with the young quarterback for seven to eight passes for 100-plus yards. The biggest "ooooh" moment of the day came when Rosen hit Stills for a 50-yard completion on a jump ball that the receiver snatched away from Howard.
"My thing is to make the next day better than the previous. And I think today was better than the last one [Thursday]," Rosen said. "I'm just trying to keep a level head. I've had some really bad days -- try not to stay too bad. I've had some really good days -- try not to get too high."
Rosen's Saturday performance fell short of great because of the overall sloppiness of the offense, which had more than 15 penalties and had to settle for several field goals. He described the day as "inconsistent," but it was an improvement for Rosen after a rocky spring.
"He's very talented. He's got a big arm, smart, communicates well. It's hard to not mention consistency in this environment. That's the big thing from accuracy, decision-making and leadership," Flores said of Rosen prior to the start of the scrimmage. "He's got to look to improve the same way with the other quarterbacks, including Ryan. I know I said he was leading the way the other day, but let's be clear -- there's still a lot competition and a lot of time left."