Carson Palmer on Josh Rosen: ‘His college film was phenomenal’
Former Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer dipped out of sight upon announcing his retirement. It said something about his readiness to retire from the NFL that he took his family out of the desert and to the mountains, far away from the hustle and bustle.
Still there, while skipping rocks with his young son, Palmer told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station that he wants to keep his foot in the door. He doesn’t know what his future holds in relation to football other than he won’t be coaching, but he’s kept up with Arizona and the NFL as he weighs his options.
And so when he joined Doug & Wolf Wednesday and was asked to evaluate the Cardinals’ drafting of UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Palmer had a deep perspective of the player that’s expected to be his long-term replacement.
“Until you start getting hit in the mouth, you don’t know how good a player can be,” Palmer hedged. “After watching Josh’s film — I had more fun watching his college film more than probably any other quarterback in the last decade or so. There’s no doubt he’s tough and I think he’ll be able to hold up and take it, but until that starts happening, it’s just too early to start hyping a guy up too much and talking about him too much in just OTAs.
“His college film was phenomenal. I don’t see a big drop-off in his success on the football field in the NFL.”
Rosen, of course, was the No. 10 overall draft pick by Arizona after the team traded up from the No. 15 slot in a deal with the Oakland Raiders.
At UCLA, Rosen threw for 3,717 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions as a junior in 2017, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for a team that underachieved.
Palmer said the Bruins’ lack of talent helped display Rosen’s toughness. Still, the former quarterback picked out a lot of positives from Rosen’s college tape.
“I saw great accuracy. I saw a lot of zip, velocity on the ball. I saw him make difficult, challenging throws all over the field and down-the-field accuracy. He threw with great anticipation, great timing,” Palmer said. “It was a ton of fun to watch. The accuracy with the deep balls and just throwing to guys before they were open — throwing guys open — that’s just something you don’t see, especially in today’s day and age.
“You don’t see people attacking the downfield throws, throwing 15- to 20-yard digs — really getting the ball over the underneath coverage but underneath the deep coverage of the safeties,” Palmer added. “He throws the comeback as good as anybody I’ve seen throw it as a while, but doing that when there’s 260 pounds coming downhill at your face is a whole different animal.”
In Cardinals camp, the hype surrounds the rookie, but Sam Bradford will start until first-year head coach Steve Wilks finds a reason for him not to.
Mike Glennon was added as a backup, and Palmer knows from experience that the situation presents a challenge for both of the veterans — especially Bradford, whose injury history has him on a one-year deal. While lucrative at $15 million guaranteed, the deal makes the dynamics in Arizona complicated with the commitment to Rosen clear.
Palmer knows the situation. He was drafted first overall in 2003 by the Cincinnati Bengals, where then-veteran Jon Kitna took him under his wing.
“Sam’s in a tough spot,” Palmer said. “It’s not ideal to be a guy that’s labeled as an injury guy and then have a guy that picks were traded away to acquire. It’s an uncomfortable spot — you’re constantly looking over your shoulder.
“It’s tough but he’s a professional. I’m sure he’s been impacted by a number of guys throughout his years. I’m sure he’s looking back at his past and picking out vets he wants to emulate, and the guy he wants to be like, and the guy he doesn’t want to be like.”
On where Palmer was and what he was doing at the moment: “I am holding my 2-year-old’s hand as he’s walking down the hill to get more rocks to throw in the river. My dad taught me to skip rocks you know, in the lake. I think that’s where I started kinda getting the natural (feel) of throwing. I tried to get my older three kids into it.
“He’s got a little cannon. He fires rocks into the water.”
On if he misses the game: “I’ll always — I’ll be 65 years old, have a 3-foot beard and not much hair on the top of my head and I’ll absolutely miss it. There’s no doubt about that.
“No, there’s not one more year in me, and yes, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing.”
On what his next career will be: “I love the game. I’ve learned so much and I’ve got a PhD in it. I’ve been doing it so long it’d be a waste to walk away and never be involved in any capacity. I just don’t know what that capacity would be right now.”
On anticipating what fans will hear from former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians as an NFL analyst: “You’re going to listen to him say totally different than you’ve heard, you know, Phil Simms, (Tony) Romo … He’s just got a different take on the game and a different viewpoint.”