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QB Josh Rosen has Cardinals GM excited despite 0-4 start

The Arizona Cardinals introduce their first-round NFL football draft pick Josh Rosen, second from right, as he poses for a photograph with head coach Steve Wilks, left, general manager Steve Keim, second from left, and team president Michael Bidwill, right, Friday, April 27, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim feels frustration. After all, he’s in charge of the NFL’s only 0-4 team, the leader who hired a first-time head coach and who stocked Arizona’s roster.

So he understands why fans are calling for large-scale changes. He hears them.

But like head coach Steve Wilks, he can’t help but be hopeful after one full game with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen under center.

“I think the thing that excites you — and again you don’t have to be an expert in the game of football to realize this — the one thing that I thought about as I watched the game as it progressed into the third and the fourth quarter … Josh Rosen looked different,” Keim told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station during his Friday call-in.

“He just looked different out there. The way he controlled the game, the command of the huddle, watching him throw the football. Again, the mechanics. There are some things he does mechanically that reminds me of Carson (Palmer).”

Maybe it’s not just that both of them wear the No. 3 jersey.

Keim said Rosen’s command and composure reflected what the Cardinals saw scouting his college tape. The rookie read progressions, used his eyes to manipulate defenders and made precise throws with the velocity that made Palmer a long-time NFL player before retiring after 2017, his fifth year in Arizona.

Rosen’s third-down conversion in the second quarter to receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught Keim’s eye when reviewing the game film from the Cardinals’ 20-17 loss to Seattle on Sunday.

“… On tape, you can see him look off the safety and come back to that route,” Keim said. “And the way he drove that ball in with the velocity and the zip that he threw that football with, I mean, just something like that to me is what stands out.”

Excitement might not be the right word to describe the general manager of a winless team through a quarter of the season. But like it was for Wilks when he spoke on Rosen’s first outing earlier in the week, Keim had trouble reeling in the excitement when evaluating his rookie signal-caller.

Asked about any frustration in the Cardinals’ decision to sign veteran Sam Bradford before the draft allowed them to trade up and pick Rosen, Keim turned the conversation toward the future.

“In this business, you have to take risks,” the GM said. “Sam has always been an accurate pure passer throughout his career. The draft had not happened yet. We signed Sam, heard a lot of good things about him as a person — Sam worked his tail off. Fact of the matter is we had no clue we were going to be able to get a top-rated quarterback in this past draft picking at 15, that one of those top guys would be there.

“Looking at the big-picture now, I’m extremely proud of what Carson did for us over the years,” Keim added. “The excitement that’s in my voice that you’re talking about: How many years in this organization have we looked for a young franchise quarterback? A long time. Certainly, in my opinion, we’ve found him.”

KEIM BACKS OC MCCOY

A league-worst offense is producing 9.3 points per game through Week 4, but Keim remains hopeful that offensive coordinator Mike McCoy has the background and abilities to make the proper fixes.

“I think it takes a little bit of time for cohesiveness, and that’s certainly not an excuse that you ever want to use,” Keim said. “Again, I know that our fans are well-educated in the game of football. I never want to come on here and mislead anybody or use the type of verbiage that really doesn’t accurately point to what I think … Whether it’s play-calling or clock management or it’s things that we can do in terms of mismatches or being creative in terms of the offense, those are conversations, again, we’re having every day.

“I have faith,” the general manager added. “I know Mike McCoy has done it before and he’s done it with multiple quarterbacks, guys that were great ones and guys that weren’t so great that he’s had success with. I think it’s just going to get better and better, and I think that we’ve seen that the last two weeks.”

Doug & Wolf

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