Monthly Archives: May 2018

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To get a feel for the top five 2018 quarterback prospects, ESPN’s Matt Bowen looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the class from college games.

Bowen, who played safety in the NFL for seven seasons, wrote about the game that shows the ceiling for each quarterback, the game that shows the floor, the passer’s best trait, an area to improve and a tip for the team’s offensive coordinator.

The ceiling for Josh Rosen: Re-visit his Nov. 18 performance at USC.

Rosen and No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, who were among the favorites for first overall pick at the time, faced off at the Coliseum.

Bowen said the future Cardinals quarterback showed traits of a pure pocket passer.

“(Rosen) displayed the high-level traits of a pure pocket thrower against the Trojans, despite the loss. I’m talking about the timing in the quick game, the anticipation to find open windows on intermediate routes, the natural touch to drop the rock over coverage and the deep-ball accuracy.”

Rosen went 32-for-52 with 421 yards, three touchdowns an an interception, including a 41-yard bomb to Lasley Jordan.

“This is a quarterback with the skill set to develop quickly,” Bowen wrote.

His floor is a familiar game to Valley residents: Arizona defeated UCLA 47-30 on Oct. 14 in Tucson.

Rosen completed only 20 of his 34 passes and threw three interceptions without a touchdown.

“The Arizona tape jumps out because of the turnovers and the lack of mobility that showed up when Rosen had to battle pressure on the road,” Bowen wrote.

He added that the game proved Rosen’s toughness, but the hits he took – including five sacks – will add up the in NFL if he can’t get the ball out quickly enough.

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Rosen’s touch is his best trait.

Bowen called it “overlooked.”

“It allows him to drop the ball over underneath defenders and attack third-level windows in the passing game,” he said.

The quarterback needs to improve his pocket movement, though.

Bowen advised him to study tape of Tom Brady and Drew Brees.

“Two veteran quarterbacks who lack top-tier mobility, they have mastered the footwork to maneuver inside the pocket when the feel pressure,” Bowen said.

Rosen was sacked 27 times in 11 games last season. The only game in which he wasn’t sacked was against ASU on Nov. 11.

With a history of injuries and concussions, learning to move before the throw will be vital to his success.

Finally, Bowen’s tip to offensive coordinator Mike McCoy: There’s no need to make it complicated.

“Tailor the passing game around Rosen’s natural throwing ability in a West Coast system,” he said. “Win with timing and inside-the-numbers throws and take shots when you get favorable matchups.”

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TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Rosen likes a good debate.

It doesn’t matter the topic, the Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback has an opinion on it. Politics. Religion. Sports. Any of it. All of it.

While attending UCLA, Rosen, an economics major, lived with two political-science majors who were good friends with former Bruins center Scott Quessenberry. As a result, Quessenberry spent a lot of time studying at their house.

Quessenberry and his friends would often start debates while sitting in the living room. Rosen, who would be in his room, was known to come out and join in. And it didn’t take long for lines to be drawn. Sometimes it was fair, two versus two. Sometimes it wasn’t, with Rosen taking on all three by himself.

“Especially during the election season, my roommates, we would all get into it,” Rosen said. “It would get really, really heated, but it would never pass that point. It was always a lot of fun. I love debating, whether it be about anything, but I think it’s healthy. It’s like a lot to do with how to navigate life and whatnot.”
Josh Rosen’s personality was the source of many debates during the pre-draft process. Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo
Rosen’s intensity is part of what endeared him to his teammates at UCLA. His personality and outspoken nature became a topic of conversation in the lead-up to the NFL draft. But those who spent the most time with him in college described him as a “great person to be around,” “laid back” and the “ultimate competitor.”

“All that matters is winning and being the best that we can and making our team the best that they can be,” Quessenberry said. “Off the field, he’s a really good dude. He’s always there. If somebody needs to talk to him, he’s willing to listen. He always wanted to hang out with his teammates. Really, like a class act really is how I would describe him.”

Kolton Miller, the former Bruins left tackle and a first-round pick in the draft, has seen Rosen’s evolution as a person and player firsthand. He was on campus as a redshirt freshman when Rosen arrived in 2015.

Sure, Rosen came in “a little cocky,” Miller said. But Rosen matured since his freshman-year antics into the Bruins’ hardest worker.

He was “really well-respected” by his teammates, Miller said.

“He’s really well-rounded,” Miller added. “He doesn’t try to be more than what he has to be — a really good leader. I don’t really have anything negative to say about him.”

UCLA safety Adarius Pickett said Rosen’s penchant for debates showed teammates another side of him, and sometimes taught them something in the process.

“You never know when a debate will break out and it’s always interesting to listen to him go at it,” Pickett said. “It’s like he really can be a lawyer or something. He goes at it.

“It’s just funny to see because he’s usually a really laid-back guy, but when he gets into those debates [he gets animated and I’m thinking], ‘That’s Josh? He’s turning up like that?'”

Rosen fine-tuned his debating chops around the Christmas dinner table at his grandmother’s house in Philadelphia. Surrounded by his entire family — his parents, aunts, cousins and sisters, among others — it was tough to get a word in. Everyone was yelling at one another.

It became Rosen’s opportunity to showcase his budding intelligence and his understanding of what was happening around the world.

“You had to stay up to date on current events or you’re going to get roasted at the table,” Rosen said.

His parents, Charles Rosen and Liz Lippincott, preached the importance of academics while raising their children, but also the importance of forming, having and reforming opinions. Rosen grew up learning it was OK to change his mind. So when he has said things he hoped others would talk to him about — whatever the topic might be — he would engage in debate and maybe even come to agree with the other point of view.

Before Rosen left UCLA, he talked with coach Chip Kelly about having a “growth mindset” and being open to constantly growing, evolving and improving as a person.

“Anything I say in the media or whatnot, I hope people come up to me and say, ‘That was actually right and wrong,'” Rosen said.

During his introductory news conference a day after the Cardinals drafted him No. 10 overall, Rosen wasn’t shy about talking about who he is — opinionated — and his desire to stay that way. But that’s not new.

Jedd Fisch thought he and Rosen developed a good relationship fairly quickly when he was hired as UCLA’s offensive coordinator in 2017, in part because Fisch not only gave Rosen time to share his opinions but because Fisch listened.

“I liked to hear what he had to say,” Fisch said. “Everyone has opinions. Some people share them more than others. Some people … what did Aaron Burr say to Alexander Hamilton? ‘Talk less, smile more.’ I think sometimes there is some value to that. I think there is some of that process that he’s got to keep that in mind.

“But, on the same token, you’ve got to appreciate Josh for his opinions and appreciate his mindset, appreciate how he works, appreciate that those opinions are not just out of left field. They’re well thought out. I would listen to him and then, at a certain point in time, I’d be, ‘OK, it’s time to get back to football. We only have a certain amount of hours.'”

Rosen said his coaches at UCLA used to call him a “unique personality.” Nothing could be more accurate. They also stressed the importance of staying true to himself.

“That’s one of the biggest pieces of leadership advice I’ve ever gotten, is to be authentic and to be real because you have to be the same guy every day and it’s hard to be someone you’re not every day,” Rosen said.
That’s who Rosen has tried to be on the field and off. He doesn’t back down. The same poise and confidence Rosen has shown on game day translated to a debate. Quessenberry said he knew, when Rosen got to the line of scrimmage, he’d make the right decision and then make the right throw.

And when the two would get into a debate, Rosen was equally assertive.

“He’s kind of pushy,” Quessenberry said. “He kind of sticks his opinion in there. But I’m kind of the same way, so I’ll stick mine right back and there’s not a lot of leeway when we talk.

“We believe in what we believe in and it doesn’t hinder our friendship or anything.”

Rosen understands his opinions carry a certain weight. But he also has begun understanding that he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, and he believes that’ll help as he begins his NFL career.

“You’ve got to be humble when you know you’re wrong and you have to courageously assert yourself as correct when you are,” Rosen said. “I think a lot of the smartest people in the world, they credit their intelligence to knowing that they don’t know things, and I think that’s something that I try to take to heart.”

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When Josh Rosen met the Arizona media for the first time on Friday, the polarizing quarterback was asked which misconception he most wanted to clear up.
The Cardinals’ first-round pick had no shortage of options, as detractors shot plenty of arrows at him in the months-long buildup to the draft. For Rosen, one criticism stood out among all others: the belief he wasn’t dedicated to the sport.
“Throughout the scouting process, you had to come up with answers to try and convince people you love the game,” Rosen said. “I’m lucky now. I got picked. I can just show people.”
Unbeknownst to the public, Rosen began showing it immediately upon joining the Cardinals.
Patrick Peterson spoke with reporters prior to the team’s annual charity golf tournament on Thursday morning at the Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler. The Pro Bowl cornerback said Rosen sent him a text message “literally ten minutes, probably, after he left the (draft) stage.” It was the first time a rookie ever reached out to Peterson, and it wasn’t just a cursory hello.
“The first message was like a ten-page message,” Peterson said. “I’m like, ‘God, dang, why are you texting me this for? I’m freakin’ enjoying dinner with my wife right now.’ But he’s a young guy that I can tell, he gets it early.”
The messages didn’t subside in the ensuing days. Rosen is asking for advice on where to live, how to get his body ready for a 16-game season and how to be a leader. Peterson was taken aback when told Rosen’s passion for the game was a red flag heading into the draft.
“He doesn’t love football?” Peterson said. “I couldn’t tell.”
Another supposed issue is Rosen’s cockiness, but Peterson may be the wrong person to ask about that. Peterson has long crowned himself the best cornerback in the NFL, and that bravado hasn’t kept him from earning seven Pro Bowls in seven NFL seasons.
“When Tom Brady says he wants to win Super Bowl after Super Bowl, is that being cocky?” Peterson said. “He’s a competitor. That’s what it’s about. You want to make sure you put your team in the best position possible. Playing the game, you have to have confidence. You can’t lack confidence. You can’t shy away. You have to be able to get in your own head and make sure you do whatever you need to do to make sure you’re in the best position possible. And if talking yourself up does that, so be it.”
While the outside concerns aren’t likely to quiet down until Rosen proves himself in the field, Peterson is confident the young quarterback will arrive next week with the right mentality.
“He’s a guy that really, really wants it,” Peterson said. “I’m excited to see him come in.”