LISTEN: Josh Rosen, New Cardinals’ Quarterback
TEMPE, Ariz. – You can tell Josh Rosen played his college football in the shadow of Hollywood. He views the relationship between a quarterback and offensive coordinator in cinematic terms.
“I always compare it to like a Star Trek mind meld,” Rosen said at his introductory press conference at the Cardinals training facility on Friday. “Basically, I’m trying to take his brain and put as much of his brain as I can into mine. When we go on the field, if I’m making a check or making a decision, he, in his head, is making that decision at the exact same time.”
Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy knows that process will require more than simply placing his hand on Rosen’s face with his fingers split in a V.
“The first year in the system is always hard,” McCoy said. “We don’t have a lot of time so you’ve just got to throw a lot at them and figure out what our guys do best.”
One thing McCoy hopes to give Rosen is the freedom he has granted past quarterbacks he has coached, including Philip Rivers and Peyton Manning.
“We’ve always given the quarterbacks the freedom to check plays at the line of scrimmage. I think that’s critical but you’ve got to make sure you put restrictions on that,” McCoy said. “There’s got to be an understanding of what we want to get done as an offense or as an organization.”
“We’re going to give them freedom at the line of scrimmage to make those changes, but we’ve got to make sure they’re doing it the right way and we’ve got to make sure they make the right decisions and then hopefully, just let them cut it loose.“
Rosen, who Arizona selected 10th overall in the NFL Draft after trading up five spots, has earned a reputation as a player that will challenge his coaches, or question why they are doing things the way they do them. Like general manager Steve Keim said Thursday, McCoy said he has no problem with that.
“I’ve coached plenty of different personalities,” he said. “There’s plenty of people that have opinions.”
Rosen has experience running multiple offenses. He ran a spread under OC Noel Mazzone his freshman year at UCLA, then ran a combo offense his sophomore year under OC Kennedy Polamalu and a pro-style offense with new terminology his junior year under OC Jedd Fisch. That could help him prepare for life under McCoy, but Rosen does not expect to feel comfortable immediately.
“My goals for the year are basically to accomplish what coach McCoy sets out for me,” he said. “Whatever he wants me to do, I’m going to do to the best of my ability. I’m not going to be that guy that comes in and thinks he’s the man from Day 1. It’s a long process. I’ve got a lot to learn from him.”
In a show of surprising maturity, Rosen also acknowledged how much his OC, his coach and even his GM are depending on him.
“The biggest thing is knowing I have careers on my back,” he said. “I have families, I have kids. If I don’t play well and I don’t pan out, people have to get new jobs, people have to get fired. You’ve got a lot on your shoulders, but I wouldn’t have come out, I wouldn’t have left college if I didn’t think I was ready for it.”