‘Mindset of a vet’: Cardinals rookie QB Rosen is no long shot to be starter

May 23, 2018, 2:43 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws during the NFL team's organized team activity W...
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws during the NFL team's organized team activity Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
(AP Photo/Matt York)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Besides his ability to throw the football better than most, the one aspect about quarterback Josh Rosen everyone seemed to agree on in the days leading up to the NFL Draft was his intelligence.

Whether on the field or in the classroom, Rosen knew what to do with the football on any given play, no matter the obstacles in his way.

But that was in college. How would he respond on the pro level, where the game is played much faster, requiring even quicker reactions from the quarterback?

Apparently, very well.

Through rookie mini-camp and now a second week of organized team activities, Rosen, whom the Arizona Cardinals drafted 10th overall after trading up five spots to make the selection, continues to be the talk among coaches and players.

“He’s smart. This guy is extremely smart. I mean, his ability to see certain things from the defense and pick it up quickly and execute — I don’t want to say this, but he has the mindset of a vet, the way he sees the game,” head coach Steve Wilks said Wednesday.

Of course, Rosen, 21, has yet to take a snap in an NFL game, which Wilks made sure to mention.

“He’s not playing like a vet. Make sure you guys (the media) understand that. He’s still a rookie, OK,” the coach said, drawing laughs. “But, he sees things, like I said before, from a different lens and he picks it up quickly to execute.”

Starting left tackle D.J. Humphries echoed those thoughts and then took it a step further.

Yes, Rosen can process information quickly. He also, according to Humphries, knows when to slow that process down.

“Having the confidence in himself and the smarts to know that, ‘I don’t know this. I need to take a second and ask some questions before we snap this ball and then get back into it,’ ” Humphries said, referring to Rosen’s command of the huddle.

“I think that takes a lot of smarts and a lot of confidence in yourself to understand that I’m not going to put something out here that I don’t believe in, so I’m going to pause this for a second and figure this out and then we’re going to come back in and I’m going to snap this pill and we’re going to get this rolling. That’s exciting to see from him.”

Still, it is just May. Practice right now consists of players in helmets and shorts; and while the offense is going against the defense, contact is not allowed. That won’t be permitted until training camp, which is two months away.

And then the regular season doesn’t begin until Sept. 9, some 15 weeks away.

In other words, there’s a lot of time. But that also means a lot can happen between now and then; perhaps even a rookie quarterbacks challenging the starter, Sam Bradford.

Or is that too much of a long shot?

“No, it’s not. Again, I talked about it from Day 1. The best 11 are going to play,” Wilks said. “Sam is the starter. When he’s healthy, he’s great but everybody is competing to be out there on the field. Competition is a great thing. It makes us all better.”

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‘Mindset of a vet’: Cardinals rookie QB Rosen is no long shot to be starter