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Cardinals’ Rosen on criticism of asking ‘why?’: ‘Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard’

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws during the first day of NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Listen to other Arizona Cardinals explain what stands out about teammate Josh Rosen, and most will make a similar observation. The rookie quarterback asks a lot of questions.

The Cardinals, and everyone paying attention to Rosen before the 2018 NFL Draft, knew this.

That’s because Rosen’s coach at UCLA, Jim Mora, created a firestorm of media coverage when he said in a pre-draft interview with Peter King that Rosen, “wants to know ‘why?’.” Maybe it didn’t help that Rosen toyed with Mora’s answer by posting “Why? #why” in a tweet.

Nonetheless, draft coverage turned Mora’s comment into negative fodder before Rosen fell to 10th overall, where Arizona traded up to select him as the fourth quarterback off the board.

And while Mora has since clarified on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Bickley & Marotta that he meant the comment as a compliment, Rosen heard the noise. Analysts and anonymous NFL evaluators questioned the quarterback’s tendency to question.

“I ask a lot of questions and the whole ‘why’ thing … It’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Rosen said while joining Doug & Wolf on Thursday.

“If I was a teacher or I was a coach … I would either, one, think (a student or player) had everything down cold, or two, be very concerned that he’s like disinterested. I would want my student or my player — if I was a coach or teacher — to ask questions and figure out what we’re doing.”

Rosen’s comments were prompted while discussing his relationship with Cardinals starting quarterback Sam Bradford, who has mentored Rosen throughout camp as Arizona prepares for a preseason opener Saturday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

In short, Rosen is grateful his veteran mentor has been an open book while dealing with, admittedly, a lot of questions.

“He’s just been really, surprisingly encouraging,” the rookie said of Bradford. “And he’s helped me out a ton. Not just saying that to try and sort of  … fake it. He’s been awesome with me. He’s taught me a ton.”

STILL ROOM TO GROW

Rosen said Wednesday that the game has simplified as he’s grown more comfortable with the playbook over the first few weeks of training camp, but he still has room to develop and evolve within offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s system.

“Biggest thing I like about it is Coach is encouraging us to make it our own,” Rosen told Doug & Wolf. “He wants us to check, he wants us to audible, he wants us to tell us what plays we like, he wants us to put red lines through plays we don’t.

“It’s definitely a lot of trust. I wasn’t doing this at all to start and I’m not really doing … much right now or nearly as much as Sam is.”

YET TO SETTLE DOWN

Here’s a quick rundown about the whirlwind of a life Rosen has led since leaving UCLA and becoming a pro:

“What’s been tough about these last couple months is I feel kind of like a nomad,” he said. “Let me backtrack this: we got college, then I went to go live in apartments in Orange County to train; and then you go to the draft and then you come back; and then you go back to school to do pro day for a couple weeks to train and then you have all your visits there; and then you go back to train; and then you’re at home a little bit; and then you’re at OTAs; and then you’re back home and now I’m at camp.

“I’m not even at my apartment — I’m at a hotel. I think next Wednesday I go back to my apartment and finally start to settle down a little bit.”

WILKS BALANCING PHYSICALITY, REST

Arizona head coach Steve Wilks wanted to set a physical tone in training camp.

He started with one-on-one drills at midfield. But there’s also a balancing act to it.

Over the past two days, starting-caliber players like Larry Fitzgerald, Robert Nkemdiche, Deone Bucannon, Chad Williams and Josh Bynes have all sat out, either due to minor injuries or for rest.

Wilks’ strategy of keeping the Cardinals fresh while pushing to develop a physical mindset from his players goes beyond that, too.

“Coach Wilks has found that balance with camp,” Bynes told Doug & Wolf on Thursday. “He’s found where we’re going to grind but also knowing where in-betweens — like he has some periods in between where you take somewhat of a break. We’re getting after it, nine-on-seven, come down here, oh my God, dah-dah-dah-dah. Then all of a sudden it’s like, special teams, oh, OK. Then get a little break, talk with your coaches.

“Then all of a sudden, it’s blitz then it’s this, then it’s installs. He’s throwing breaks in there so it’s like, OK, we’re not going to wear your down continuously.”

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