Ryan Fitzpatrick's absence from Friday's Dolphins practice gives Miami an early look at what might be the future a year or so from now.
More importantly, it allows the Dolphins staff to prepare for the unfortunate event in which their reliable signal-caller is no longer there to serve as a safety net behind rookie Tua Tagovailoa.
Enter: Josh Rosen.
Coach Brian Flores sounds as if he wants Rosen to take command of the offense when he's on the field, much like he wants the same out of all of his quarterbacks. That's not an issue with Fitzpatrick, and it's something Tagovailoa will work on in his first NFL season. As for Rosen, the lack of preseason games means he's going to have to prove he's picking it up on the practice field.
"He's had a lot of good moments so far," Flores said, via the Miami Herald. "We will see how it goes. Experience helps for sure. We don't have preseason games but we will try to create situations to see whether their decision making process is where he wants it to be. He's putting the work in to do that. So are all the quarterbacks.
"It's a new offense. The areas of improvement are honed in on that. Communication, in and out of the huddle, two minutes is an important part of the game. A lot of what happens in two minutes is quarterback driven. Do you need to get out of bounds? These are a lot of things [offensive coordinator] Chan Gailey will be saying to him in the helmet but the quarterback needs to know that.
"Essentially they end up becoming the coach on the field. Rosen is still a young player. Same as Tua. When to make the big throw or take the check down [are important]. We talked about that this morning. We're looking for leadership, communication, consistently making good decisions."
Tagovailoa has been known for his ability to command an offense since he was firing touchdowns as a freshman at Alabama, but the NFL is a big jump. Just ask Rosen, about whom we haven't heard much since he was unceremoniously dumped by Arizona in favor of Kyler Murray.
The two could learn something from Fitzpatrick, a veteran who is only still around in the NFL right now because he's successfully proved time and time again that he's worth a roster spot, and in some cases, a starting spot. Quarterbacks like Fitzpatrick don't put together 15-year careers in myriad starter/backup roles without taking command of a huddle.
It would help, of course, if Fitzpatrick was around to impart such wisdom on the youngsters, but Flores explained what is calling Fitzpatrick away from the field is important.
"When you are dealing with personal matters, it's case by case," Flores said. "I'm going to support my players. However much time they need with specific situations, that's what they're going to get. We all should have an understanding from that standpoint. Some things take precedent. I'm going to respect that."
Until then, it'll be up to Tagovailoa and Rosen to handle the reins -- and perhaps a third quarterback, if Fitzpatrick's absence continues into next week -- and take charge of the new-look Dolphins.