I’ve defended Mitchell Trubisky, and I’ll do the same with Josh Rosen.
Haven’t we all seen this movie before? “Peyton Manning (after rookie season) is a bust. He’s terrible. He’s no good!” “Jared Goff is a bust!” “Carson Wentz is a bust!” “Mitchell Trubisky is a bust!” Just stop it.
I get it that not everyone is calling Rosen a bust, but the people who are need to stop now.
Seriously, we have seen what a coach and a supporting cast can do to a young quarterback. They could bog him down or make him great. We also know that a rookie, especially a quarterback, can feel overwhelmed by the difference between college and the NFL. Now, I’m not saying anything about Steve Wilks or any other Cardinals coaches, except now-former offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. I don’t think that McCoy is a bad offensive coordinator, he just wasn’t a good fit for Arizona.
We also need to think about what his current situation looks like. His top receiver, Larry Fitzgerald, is now in the upper-30s and is running on fumes. I mean no disrespect to Fitzgerald; he should be a first ballot hall of famer, but generally once receivers get past 30 they start to decline. His next best receiver is Christian Kirk, who I think has a bright future, but is a rookie, just like Rosen. Of course, David Johnson is a star running back, but McCoy did not use him properly; hopefully new offensive coordinator Bryan Leftwich will. Before Rosen came in, it’s not like Arizona’s offense was any better with veteran Sam Bradford under center. Then we look at the offensive line, which looks really good when healthy, but the problem is that it’s not healthy. Starting left guard Mike Iupati, starting center A.Q. Shipley, and starting right guard Justin Pugh, who are all high quality offensive linemen, are out for the season. Do you really expect a rookie quarterback to succeed when he is under that much pressure every single play? Just watch a Cardinals game. Rosen is constantly being harassed.
Now, let’s look at the other side of the ball. Defensively, the Cardinals look decent as far as the depth chart goes, with great safeties like Budda Baker, Antoine Bethea, and Tre Boston. They also have elite cornerback Patrick Peterson and star pass rusher Chandler Jones. That’s where the impressive things end. The Cardinals are 26th in the league in net yards allowed with 2,675 allowed (382.1/game). Against the pass, Arizona is at a somewhat respectable ranking at 15th in the league. Against the run, however, they are dead last at 32nd in the league with 1,038 yards allowed this season (4.4 yards/rush, 148.3 yards/game). As you can see, Rosen gets little help from his defense.
It certainly doesn’t help Rosen that Steve Wilks, his head coach, is defensive minded. Nothing against Wilks, but most defensive coaches don’t know how to help young quarterbacks: people like John Fox and Jeff Fisher, for example (okay, Jeff Fisher didn’t know how to help anyone.