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QB Josh Rosen will play ‘when the time is right,’ Cardinals GM says

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) passes in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Blame for an anemic Arizona Cardinals offense spans more than the quarterback position. Veteran Sam Bradford hasn’t been accurate, no, but problems have popped up across the board.

Arizona has the NFL’s worst offense in terms of total yardage, having been outscored 58-6 through two games.

The option of making backup quarterback Josh Rosen the league’s fourth rookie in the 2018 NFL Draft class to make an appearance this year is heavily on the table even though the Cardinals have named Bradford the starter for Sunday’s Week 3 hosting of the Chicago Bears.

“I think the film speaks the truth for sure. The fact is Sam hasn’t played particularly well … we haven’t been able to run the ball effectively, we haven’t been able to create any balance. We haven’t been able to convert on third down to the point where it’s embarrassing,” general manager Steve Keim told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Friday.

Building the pro-Rosen narrative was the appearance of Cleveland Browns quarterback and first overall draft pick Baker Mayfield on Thursday Night Football. He replaced injured — and struggling — starter Tyrod Taylor to lead the Browns to a comeback win over the New York Jets, who were piloted by fellow rookie Sam Darnold.

Darnold, the third 2018 pick, was the first rookie quarterback to see action this season having won the starting job out of Jets camp. Buffalo Bills rookie and seventh overall selection Josh Allen was the second after making his first appearance midway through the first game of the year.

Keim wouldn’t allude to if and when Rosen could be next rookie to step in at quarterback. He did, however, present cautions about any decision to roll with a rookie under center.

“We saw last night with the job that Baker Mayfield did and the way he energized that city,” Keim said. “It’s a tough question. It’s one of those things, when the time is right, I know Josh will have his opportunity and I think he’ll play well. At the same time, you never know how a guy’s going to be affected. There have been guys in the past who have played too early and it’s crippled their careers. I don’t want to name any names, but I think a lot of us can point to certain players. And then there are guys who have come in and had success right away.

“Usually it’s a rocky road,” the GM added. “You look at Troy Aikman, Peyton Manning, both of those guys did not have a lot of success at the start. You know, (second-year Kansas City quarterback) Patrick Mahomes sat most of last year — I think he played one football game — and we’ve seen the kind of success that Patrick is having. I don’t think there’s any exact science to that but I think there’s certainly a feeling of knowing when the time is right.”


— How much of the offensive ineptitude has been on the Cardinals’ wide receivers? Keim spoke on rookie Christian Kirk and second-year pro Chad Williams.

“You see the run after the catch (with Kirk), you see the footspeed, the explosiveness, the ability to create separation. He’s a young guy who’s really poised to have a great year,” the GM said. “Chad, he’s in a position where he’s got to show a little more consistency, particularly getting off press.”

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