Bradford’s reps to increase vs. Saints, Rosen to get first-team reps
GLENDALE, Ariz. – Starting quarterback Sam Bradford will take more reps when the Cardinals face the New Orleans Saints in a preseason game on Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and backup Josh Rosen will get some first-team reps, coach Steve Wilks said Monday.
Rosen played exclusively with the second-team offensive line against the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday and things didn’t go well.
There were protection issues, run-blocking issues and center Daniel Munyer had a half dozen bad shotgun snaps. Rosen completed just 6 of 13 passes for 41 yards and the running game managed just two yards on four carries while he was in.
“We need to improve with our second offensive line,” Wilks said.
“I’m not really concerned about it. I think we have a good group. They made progress back from OTAs and minicamp. It was an opportunity to see where we are right now. We’re going to get better. I think we have some guys in that second group who will step up and perform well.”
Wilks also said that starting running back David Johnson would play more against the Saints. Johnson carried two times for 28 yards (14 yards on each carry) before exiting the game on the team’s first offensive series.
Johnson is coming off wrist surgery that that limited him to one game last season, so Wilks thinks he has work to do.
“You talk about the timing,” Wilks said. “I think it’s important he plays quite a bit. When I say quite a bit, I’m talking my standards.”
Wilks said he has a set number of snaps that he’d like his starters to play, numbers that vary from player to player. Johnson may not play into the second or third quarter, but he’ll play more than Saturday.
MUNYER FACES MUSIC
Two days after he struggled in relief of starting center Mason Cole against the Chargers, Munyer was one of a handful of players to talk to media on Monday.
“Everyone saw it wasn’t my best performance by any means. I’ve got to do what these coaches and this organization know I can do. I had about five or six bad ones which was frustrating because I don’t do that,” he said.
“I did feel bad because it was when Josh was in at quarterback and I just told him afterward, ‘man, I’m sorry, I didn’t even know I was doing that until it was too late’ and that definitely killed some momentum in terms of timing with the throws.
“I think at times it might have been a lack of focus or just a little thing — one slight movement, just not following through. I ended up fixing it in the second half.”
While Rosen refused to blame the snaps for his uneven performance, Munyer said it was obvious the snaps had an impact.
“If it’s a bad snap it’s on me,” he said. “There’s no one else to blame but the center.”
Munyer said the entire second unit was ready to move on and learn from that performance.
“When we’re out there and you’re going three and out constantly, yeah, you feel like there’s pressure,” he said.
“We talked about establishing an identity. We want to be a physical offense, a physical unit up front and when you don’t do that, you’re not looking at each other pointing the finger but you want to pick it up yourself because you know what you’re capable of. To have it not correlate to the game is frustrating but at that moment that’s when you find out a lot about yourself.”
The Cardinals signed linebacker Gerald Hodges to a one-year contract and waived linebacker Jeremy Cash, who sustained a knee injury in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Chargers and left the field on a cart.
Cash had two tackles and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown in the game. He had been a strong candidate to make the 53-man roster and was listed No. 2 on the depth chart behind Deone Bucannon heading into Saturday’s game.
“It’s just a freak accident,” Wilks said of Cash, who was in Carolina with Wilks the past two seasons.
“He understands the defense. He understands the philosophy, the vision that we’re implementing here because he’s been a part of it before. He had a pretty good game, he was having a pretty good camp so [it’s] disappointing for him.”
Hodges (6-2, 236) is a five-year NFL veteran who has played in 65 career games (26 starts) with New Orleans (2017), San Francisco (2015-16) and Minnesota (2013-15) after entering the league with the Vikings as a fourth-round pick (120th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft from Penn State.
— Wilks praised the play of guard Mike Iupati, who took a $3 million pay cut this season.
“He looks like the old Iupati, the way he’s playing right now,” Wilks said. “He’s been that way [since] the spring. He has definitely responded and accepted a chance and he’s doing well.”
— It’s a little too soon to get excited about defensive end Cap Capi’s performance against the Chargers’ reserves, but his three sacks and a forced fumble caught Wilks’ eye. Now Wilks would like to see Capi round out his game.
“This game is all about production,” Wilks said. “He had a great game. Hopefully he can put another one back-to-back. Biggest thing, we need to see him do a much better job anchoring at the defensive end and holding the point in the run game, but he is definitely very exciting to watch when it comes to getting after the quarterback.”
— Wilks said injured linebacker Airius Moore and injured cornerback Jonathan Moxey would return to practice on Monday.