After an NFL debut that left a lot to be desired, Josh Rosen can start staking his claim to the starting job for the Cardinals Friday night vs. the Saints.
In the first preseason game for the Arizona Cardinals, Sam Bradford started and played little before giving way to Josh Rosen. Rosen played with the second-unit against the Chargers, going 6-for-13 for 41 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions as he dealt with backup center Daniel Munyer’s scatter-shot shotgun snaps.
The Cardinals have remained committed to Bradford as their Week 1 starter. But getting Rosen some work with the first-team offense at some point over the next two preseason games seems like a no-brainer, and according to head coach Steve Wilks, that is the plan.
Munyer himself estimated he had “five or six” bad snaps against the Chargers, including one that rolled back to Rosen but didn’t prevent him from getting a pass off.
The Cardinals are already down starting center A.Q. Shipley for the season, due to a torn ACL. But Rosen should have a better chance to succeed working with new starter Mason Cole, to say nothing of any work he gets with David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and the rest of the first unit.
Rosen didn’t shine as brightly as his fellow top rookie quarterbacks did in their preseason debuts, in total (Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield) or in brief moments (Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen). But that shouldn’t obscure what should have always been a legit chance to start Week 1, with Bradford hardly a significant barrier to winning the job right away.
With the playing field set to start leveling in the second preseason game, the Cardinals can get an apples-to-apples evaluation of Bradford and Rosen based on their work with the starters. Leaving aside Bradford’s durability concerns, Rosen should begin making a strong case to start against the Washington Redskins on Sept. 9.