Questionable Time For Josh Rosen’s Arizona Cardinals Debut

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen came in at a questionable time on Sunday during the Arizona Cardinals 16-14 loss to the Chicago Bears.

Prior to Sunday’s game between the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears, I said that Josh Rosen would “be a few poor throws or drives away from strapping up for his debut.” And while it turned out to be correct (Rosen entered the game after Sam Bradford turned the ball over three consecutive times), it also came after Bradford played very well in the first half.

In the first quarter, Sam Bradford led two touchdown drives to put the Arizona Cardinals up 14-0. After that, Bradford didn’t play great, though he did have a nice drive going to start the fourth quarter that was interrupted by a Khalil Mack sack-fumble. The Bears kicked a field goal off that turnover to put Arizona down 16-14. Instead of Bradford getting another crack at things, however, Josh Rosen came in with less than five minutes in the fourth quarter.

Do I think Josh Rosen deserves to play? Yes, of course, but this particular situation just wasn’t right in my eyes. Besides the fact that I believe it was Bradford’s game to win (or lose), the spot was very, very heavy for a rookie’s debut. Down by two with less than five minutes left? That, to me, sounds like a spot for a veteran quarterback — not a rookie without any prior experience. The optics just weren’t right.

Instead of this high-leverage spot, Rosen should have made his debut in a blowout — either up big or down big — or with an entire week of game-planning and preparation leading up to a start. Even a spot like Baker Mayfield found himself in — down 14-0 with a lot of time left in the contest — would have been suitable.

To wrap things up, Josh Rosen entered Sunday’s game with little room for error. His back, unquestionably, was up against the wall. He was average at times but the moment seemed way too big for the first-round pick. He threw a bad interception under pressure (and off his back-foot) on his first drive, then followed it up with a pick-six (that was called back) and a game-ending sack on his second drive. While I know he is a strong-minded player, I just hope this doesn’t hurt his psyche moving forward. After all, it wouldn’t have ruffled any feather to let Bradford finish the game out.

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Bradford ended the game with 13 completions,157 passing yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions on 19 attempts. Rosen, in two drives, wound up with four completions, 36 passing yards, and an interception on seven attempts.

It remains to be seen who will start their Week 4 home game against Seattle.

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