“It’s still in a competition,” coach Brian Flores told reporters on Saturday. “Obviously, Josh [Rosen] had come in there and had more reps. He played the second and third quarter. [There was] some good, some not-so-good. [Ryan Fitzpatrick] really just had the first quarter. He had a couple of errant throws, but I thought his operation was good. Honestly, Josh had the lion’s share of the snaps. I thought he did a good job. I thought he ran the offense well. I thought he made some good throws. I thought he could’ve made a couple better decisions. Checking the ball down is not a bad thing to do.”
Flores shrugged at the significance to the competition of whether Fitzpatrick or Rosen get the bulk of the first-team reps.
“I think we’ll continue to split reps in a way that we can evaluate both, but really all three quarterbacks,” Flores said, referring to Jake Rudock. “First-team, second-team — I think people put more value in that stuff than I do, but we’re going to try to get the reps to evaluate all three guys and really everybody on the team.”
Flores was asked to explain why he puts less value on first-team and second-team distinctions.
“I think in anything you are doing, all you can do is control what you can control,” Flores said. “If you do a great job with you reps, whether they be with first-team, second-team, third-team, then hopefully you move and get some reps with some other guys. As we’ve gone through training camp, we’ve moved guys around offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. Whether you’re first-team or second-team, I want to see how guys respond, and work their techniques and fundamentals wherever you’re at. . . .
“I think the best players will play and we’re always going to have a group of guys who aren’t going to be starters who come in — they are called backups, but they’ve got a vital role on the team. In a lot of ways I think you diminish their role when you call them that. I’ve never been a proponent of that. That may be new to some people, but again, I think you have to make the most of your opportunities wherever they lie, wherever they are. I think it’s that way in life. I guess that’s why I don’t spend too much time thinking about first team or second team. I watch it, but I like to see guys be productive, period. If you’re not, whether it’s first team, second team, or third team, then that’s a problem. If you are productive, then I’m taking notice of that as well.”
So if Rosen is productive enough while working with the second team, he’ll potentially earn the right to play with the first team. As to the broader issue, Flores’ point is intriguing; to create a true team, it’s important to think of all players as members of that team, and not as occupants of specific classes or categories within that team.