While most players in the NFL will say they ignore the media, you can’t help but pick up on the fact that Josh Rosen brought a lot of attention with him. There were questions about his character, his love of the game, and whether or not he’d have such a chip on his shoulder that he may not even fit in with NFL veterans. While he technically appeared to be the most NFL-ready quarterback in the 2018 draft, the drama that surrounded him was tough to drown out.
Fast forward to mandatory June mini-camps for rookies, and it looks like Rosen has proven all of the naysayers wrong. His new teammates are singing his praises, and his football I.Q. makes him look like this isn’t his first rodeo.
Patrick Peterson, cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals, had this to say about Rosen when he was interviewed by 98.7 Arizona Sports:
“To do some of the things that he was able to do the first couple weeks that he was there, it completely blew my mind to be running hurry-up offenses and two-minute offense like week one, week two with a rookie quarterback that just got drafted — that just left UCLA, and he’s able to orchestrate the offense in the proper manner. I tell you, I was blown away when I saw that.”
While the Cardinals have also signed free agent Sam Bradford, I have no doubt that Rosen will be able to prove his worth this season. Bradford is still recovering from a knee injury, and the Arizona staff is taking their time throwing him into the fray. This gives Rosen the opportunity to take command of the offense and put his money where his mouth is. While Bradford may ultimately be the starter, in my opinion, Rosen will be the top back up in the NFL this season.
Peterson was also interviewed on the Rich Eisen Show, and added this:
“Honestly since he’s been with us, he’s been the total opposite of what you hear from the media or you hear from outside people. The way he’s able to grasp the offense right now and get guys in line right now, I’ve been very, very impressed with that. As far as his throwing motion and his quarterback IQ and his pocket presence and all that stuff, it’s off the charts. I’ve never seen a rookie come on a team and do some of the things he’s doing.”
This is the kind of positive press that Rosen needs. Even when he was with UCLA, there were always questions about whether or not he could be the same leader Brett Hundley was. Did he really have a heart for the game? Could he rally a locker room?
At this point, it looks like those questions are slowly being answered. Now, the elephant in the room will be the health of Bradford. In the last four years, he has only completed one season (2016 with the Minnesota Vikings). Will this be the year that Bradford makes a comeback, or will he end up injured again and be forced to hand the reins over to Rosen? Who will emerge as the true leader of this franchise?
Rosen may get some real playing time in the pre-season, maybe even week one when they take on the Chargers (unfortunately, this game is in Phoenix). FYI, Arizona will be playing the Rams on September 16 in Los Angeles, and on November 25, the Cardinals will face the Chargers at StubHub Center. One last point—the Cardinals take on the Green Bay Packers on December 2. What if Hundley is at the helm again in Green Bay? Epic UCLA quarterback duel.