Josh Rosen made a great play over the weekend. Unfortunately for the rookie quarterback and the Cardinals, it came Friday on Twitter, not Saturday night playing football.
On Friday, he playfully dubbed himself #thehebrewhammer in a reply to a tweet from the folks who promote the Madden NFL video game.
It was a reference to Rosen’s touchdown celebrations at UCLA. But on Saturday against the Chargers, there were no celebrations. Rosen was the nail, not the hammer. So was the Cardinals offense when Rosen was in charge.
“I thought I did some good things, some bad things,” Rosen said, “but for the most part, it was a step in the right direction.”
Rosen entered the game late in the first quarter, along with the rest of the second-team offense. Nothing any of them did will cause a starter to fret about job security.
The second unit couldn’t run the ball (four attempts for two yards in the first half), center Daniel Munyer consistently delivered shotgun snaps that left grass stains on the ball, and when Rosen did try to pass, he usually had defenders in his face.
Rosen declined to blame Munyer’s low snaps for any of his struggles, but coach Steve Wilks said they made it difficult for Rosen to go through his reads.
“It caused him a little bit of a problem going through his progressions,” Wilks said.
Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks, quarterback Josh Rosen, and wide receiver Christian Kirk talk about their preseason win against the Chargers.
Rosen played the rest of the half and finished 6 of 13 for 41 yards with no touchdowns. He didn’t commit a turnover, which is probably the best thing that could be said of his performance.
Mike Glennon took over in the second half, which was the plan entering the game, so Rosen didn’t have a chance to redeem himself. Or make things worse.
It wasn’t all his fault, but Rosen didn’t look like the most NFL-ready quarterback among the rookie class, as some evaluators believed.
Rosen hasn’t backed off from his belief that he was the best quarterback in the draft. But in their first exhibition games, the three quarterbacks taken ahead of Rosen – Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen – all had touchdown passes.
All made plays that gave their organization and fans encouragement.
Rosen never had much of a chance to join that club, but he wasn’t sharp, either. One of his passes should have been intercepted, a couple sailed out of the reach of receivers, and he took a delay of game penalty after losing track of the play clock.
“There’s a lot of things he’s going to be able to learn and grow from,” Wilks said. “We expect him to get better, along with myself and everybody else.”
Guard Evan Boehm thought Rosen was in control in the huddle: “Myself and the other guys just need to do a better job of protecting him. I don’t think I played to my potential tonight.”
Rosen’s performance was a continuation of what has taken place at training camp, which is why there’s no hint of a legitimate competition at quarterback, unless it’s wondering if Rosen or Glennon would be a better backup to start the season.
Sam Bradford has clearly been much better than Rosen, and while Rosen has had his moments, he hasn’t had enough of them to make a case to start.
This doesn’t mean the Cardinals made a bad move by trading up in the draft to take Rosen 10th overall. That’s a snap misjudgment.
It was one game. In August. Playing with other backups who struggled to protect him and snap him the ball.
To judge Rosen fairly, we need to see him play with the first team in a game, and that will happen in the next couple weeks, Wilks said.
Playing Rosen with the starters in the next few weeks will aid his development. If he’s going to be No. 2 behind Bradford, he needs the experience of playing behind the starting offensive line, throwing to Larry Fitzgerald and handing off to David Johnson.
That would purge the memory of how poorly things went at times on Saturday evening.
Josh Rosen: 6-of-13, 41 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs,
- 1st and 10, own 39: Moves around in pocket, completes pass over middle to Gabe Holmes for 21 yards.
< 10 YARDS
- 2nd and 11, own 24: Quick throw while being hit completed to Christian Kirk for 6 yards.
- 3rd and 8, Chargers’ 38: Escapes sack, completes to D.J. Foster for loss of a yard.
- 1st and 10, own 41: Screen pass to D.J. Foster for 4 yards.
- 2nd and 6, own 45. Quick pass to sidelines complete to Andrew Vollert for 8 yards and first down.
- 1st and 10, Chargers’ 47: Collects low snap, completes WR screen to Christian Kirk for 3 yards.