ARIZONA CARDINALS

Film study helping Cardinals rookie Edmonds; CB competition brews

Sep 27, 2018, 4:03 PM | Updated: Sep 28, 2018, 8:21 am
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Bilal Nichols, left, wraps up Arizona Cardinals running back Chase E...
Chicago Bears defensive tackle Bilal Nichols, left, wraps up Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds (29) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Typical NFL quarterback he is, Josh Rosen is supposed to be the most confident. As a rookie now tasked with leading the Arizona Cardinals, he is not supposed to show weakness.

“Fake it ’til you make it,” he’s said since being drafted No. 10 overall.

Subtly, he broke that rule about carrying all the confidence in the world by complimenting rookie running back Chase Edmonds.

“I think he’s smarter than all of us,” Rosen said Wednesday, speaking of his fellow Cardinals rookies. “He’s the one fixing a lot of protections.”

Forget for a second about starting running back David Johnson’s exit from the field during a crucial 3rd-and-2 situation on Sunday against the Bears.

There’s a reason it’s Edmonds, the fourth-round pick out of Fordham, who is backing up Johnson at all. The Cardinals think he’s more than prepared.

Cardinals offensive coodinator Mike McCoy has praised Edmonds’ pass-protection abilities with his 5-foot-9, 205-pound frame.

Edmonds has rushed 10 times for 39 yards and caught all nine targets thrown his way for 39 more yards.

He’s made the transition to the league easy on himself.

“It was film study for me,” he said. “Really just paying attention to small little details, find ways to memorize, OK, how do I know this pressure is coming? I was always taught in college: prepare for the worst and react to the easy.

“I look at a full play that I’m trying to study and let it go — so I try not to think about it. And then I rewind it. And then I’ll try to break it down, step-by-step, what I have to do, what my job is, where my eyes and O-line are on that look.”

Edmonds said he’s grown immensely in how fast he’s able to process information, even comparing earlier parts of training camp with Week 1 of the regular season.

He remembers the early days, when the first thing he’d do upon hearing a play-call was double-check where he was supposed to line up or where a hole might open up.

“I was so worried about, alright, don’t forget that. This is your move. This is what you got,” he said.

“Now I hear a play, I already know what I got, I’m already looking at the defense. I’m all about the defense now. It’s slowed it down for me tremendously.”

Cornerback competition on the radar

New coaching staff, new year, same microscope on the Cardinals’ cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson.

Jamar Taylor, who was acquired from the Cleveland Browns in a trade this offseason, began the year as Arizona’s starter. But on Sunday, he was lifted in the fourth quarter for Wilks-taught defensive back Bene Benwikere.

Benwikere played for Wilks from 2014-16 after he was the Carolina Panthers’ fifth-round pick in 2014. He’s since bounced around, playing for the Dallas Cowboys last season.

Wilks said Sunday that inserting Benwikere at corner was about searching for a spark and this week reiterated the competition is open. Defensive coordinator Al Holcomb said the call is Wilks’ to make, but did say Thursday that a competition is taking place.

“Good competition. Both men have been practicing very well the last couple of days,” Holcomb said. “It’s an ongoing process, it’s a constant rotation.”

Benwikere played 34 snaps on defense to Taylor’s 55 Sunday in a 16-14 loss to Chicago, though many of those were in the interior as a fifth or sixth defensive back.

It’s possible he could continue to earn more snaps in that role if Taylor continues seeing most of the snaps at corner.

EXTRA POINT

— Cardinals offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, on the mobility and arm strength that Rosen brings to the table: “You do so many drills during the day or during the week of, you’re not just sitting back there dropping, sitting in the pocket. You got to be able to move, you got to know when you can step up, when you can flush, what are the certain looks, where are the hot answers when things break down. I think as we’ve all seen in the short amount of time he’s been with us that he can throw on the run and get out of certain things and make some plays with his feet.”

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